Daingerfield, county seat of Morris County, Texas since 1875, was the county seat of the ephemeral county of Paschal (present counties of Hopkins, Franklin, Titus, Morris, Cass and part of Marion) during 1841 and existed before 1841.
This settlement existed before 1841 and was founded either by a group of Acadians who left their homeland bound for French Territory via the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi, Red and Sulphur Rivers or Big Cypress Bayou, or by a Captain London Daingerfield who fought the Indians at the "Daingerfield Spring" in the 1830's.
Daingerfield has been a part of the counties of Red River, Bowie, Paschal, Titus and Morris County, Texas and Miller County, Arkansas. The original town site (Allen Urquhart Headright Survey) consisted of forty-nine blocks.
The streets were named for heroes or officials of the Republic (Bowie, Crockett, Fannin, Lamar) and for members of the commission named by the Congress of the Republic of Texas to lay out the site of the seat of justice of Paschal County (Hughes, Peters, Broadnax, Frazier and King). Daingerfield was on a Republic of Texas Mail route in 1841.
In 1846 John Greene Chambers was named the first United States postmaster. Mr. Chambers also represented Titus County at the Secession Convention of 1861. Daingerfield has always been a "Church and a School" town. During 1841 and 1842, Rev. James Graham, circuit rider for the Sulphur Fork Circuit, Arkansas Conference, Methodist Church and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Weatherred conducted a school here.
In 1846, a forty acre tract of land adjoining the town site was described as "the Campground of the Methodist". In 1849 Allen Urquhart, pioneer surveyor for the Republic of Texas, entered into an agreement with the Marshall Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for the establishment of a college in Daingerfield.
Urquhart gave forty (40) acres of land and pledged one half of the proceeds from the sale of his remaining lots in the original town Plat for the erection of the college buildings.
This college, Chappel Hill, operated from 1852 until 1869 when it was closed due to lack of students and finances. The college building was condemned due to a crack in the wall, torn down, and approximately 100,000 bricks were salvaged and sold for $9.00 per thousand.
During the Civil War (probable 1862) the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, organized the Daingerfield High School with a collegiate department which was authorized by the State Legislature in 1873 to issue "Certificates of Graduation" in the Collegiate Department.
In 1880 this school was operating under the name of "The Jefferson District High School". The Daingerfield Independent School District was incorporated in 1902 and the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, transferred their Daingerfield school properties to the Independent School District in 1906.
The Primitive Baptist Church at Bethlehem was organized near Daingerfield in 1843, the Church at New Hope was in existence before 1844 and the Church at Spring Hill organized in 1852. The Building or "Meeting House" of the Primitive Baptist Church at Spring Hill was constructed in 1859 and following 1964 repairs, is in an excellent condition (open by appointment for visitors).
Records of the Churches at Bethlehem and at Spring Hill indicate schools at Tankersley's, Goffey's and Mayfield's (families residing in the Daingerfield area) during the 1840's and the 1850's. There were also "Regular" and Missionary Baptist Churches in the area at an early date and a Baptist School for girls was organized about the time of the Civil War.
Lumber and grist mills were located in and around Daingerfield during the 1840's. Hussey and Logan, Manufactures of cotton gins and corn mills located here in 1855, (the father of Governor O.B. Colquitt was later associated with this firm) and shipped mills to all parts of Texas. Groceries, distilleries, manufacturers of shoes, saddles, bridles and other leather goods were located here, both before the Civil War and after.
During the Civil War, the incomplete Reece Hughes blast furnace (South-east of Daingerfield) was taken over by the State of Texas and operated for the benefit of the Confederate States of America. (Part of the furnace is now located at the plant of the Lone Star Steel Company).
Many of the landmarks of Daingerfield have been destroyed by fire. There was at least one fire in "Old Town" before the Civil War and another in the late 1870's. The present business district was struck by fire in 1928 and again in 1953.
There was also a disastrous "Livery Stable" fire about 1890. Among the older buildings remaining in Daingerfield, are the Peacock or Colquitt house, the Orange and W. T. Connor homes just North of town and the "Law Office" of United States Representative John L. Sheppard (father of Senator Morris Sheppard), State Senator John M. Henderson, and State Land Commissioner, J.T. Robinson.
Cemetery markers record burials as early as 1844 ("Dorgasa Griffith, born July 19, 1830, died December 1844" in the Reynolds Cemetery west of Boggy Creek on Highway 49) and include markers for a veteran of the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil, Spanish-American, and World War I and II. At least two veterans of the Texas War of Independence are buried in outlying cemeteries.
A Historical Marker "Daingerfield, C.S.A." (was erected on the "Old Town" square by the State Building Commission in 1965 and Morris County Historical Survey committee erected a marker at the site of Chappel Hill College. Other markers in the area are: Caddo Trace, near the entrance to the State Park on Hwy. 11; Rogers Cemetery, on the old Daingerfield-Hughes Springs Hwy. North of the State Park, and Logan & Hussey General Store, on the old Mt. Pleasant Hwy. near Leslie's Farm Supply.
Much of the natural beauty of the area is preserved in the natural woodland of the Daingerfield State Park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930's and on the shores of the lake of the Pines, South of Daingerfield.