Duty Came First – The Young County Courthouse

Graham has the largest town square in the United States, measuring more than a mile in circumference. This grand square became home to the three courthouses that have served the county over the years. (Photo by Shannon Gillette)

By Shannon Gillette 

Young County, located about fifty-five miles south of Wichita Falls, had a rocky start. Established in 1856 from parts of Fannin and Bosque counties, the new county chose the town of Belknap as its county seat. By 1860, the United States Census records show 529 individuals living within the county. The area was a rough and dangerous one, filled with the constant threat of Indian attacks.

Even though Fort Belknap held strong during the Civil War, many of the frontier troops were called to duty, leaving the residents unprotected from the Indian raids which continued through the 1860s. Many chose to move to safer settlements. Young County was dissolved in 1865 and by the 1870 census only 139 people were listed as living within the county. After the Warren Wagon Train Raid in 1871, the federal government renewed its efforts to tame the Texas frontier. People began moving back into the area and the county was reestablished in 1874, this time electing the city of Graham as its county seat. To read more pick up a copy of the June 2016 NTFR issue!

The Young County Courthouse. (Photo by Shannon Gillette)
The Young County Courthouse. (Photo by Shannon Gillette)