Grayson County began its Texas existence after the revolution, when it cleaved from Fannin County in 1846. With the break-up of Fannin
County, the county seat of Warren, a trading post on the Red River, gave way to Bonham (today's Fannin County seat) and Sherman. So
Sherman's been around a long time, and has the history to prove it.
According to various early Texas maps, Grayson County settlers didn't simply select Sherman as their new county seat only because it was
the geographical center of the county - though that helped, of course. Instead, the place that would become Sherman sat along the
Chihuahua Trail, which was established during the colonial era and reached from today's Arkansas all the way to the state of Chihuahua,
Mexico. Thus, Sherman quickly developed into a larger city that centered on regional trade, linking Colbert (Indian Territory), Preston, and
Dallas via stage coaches and trade routes, including the Butterfield Overland Mail company and the Shawnee Trail. The town slowly kept
pace during the Civil War, when it saw many troubles, including food riots, Quantrill guerrilla raids, and anti-unionist violence.
Like most cities in the Red River Valley, Sherman, which was named after the Texas revolutionary war veteran Sidney Sherman, really
began to grow once the railroad came through. In 1872, the Missouri Kansas & Texas Railroad had entered Grayson County from the north
and ended its line in the newly-established town of Denison. Sherman wanted to ensure that it would also get a railroad - and not lose its
county seat status to burgeoning Denison - and tried to entice the MKT to continue building southward, but to no avail. Luckily, Shermans'
incentives did beckon the Houston and Texas Central Railroad, which built its line north from Dallas through Sherman to link with the MKT
in Denison. Though Sherman and Denison continued a rivalry of sorts with each other, an interurban train, established at the turn of the
century, connected them. The interurban line eventually extended into Dallas.
|March into Sherman, Texas
The arrival of the railroad, which closely coincided with the end of Reconstruction, signaled a new chapter in Sherman. The city
encouraged the building of many higher education institutions, such as Austin College (relocated from Huntsville in 1876), St. Joseph's
Academy, and Mary Nash College. In the late 19th century, Mary Nash College and the North Texas Female Institute morphed into the
Kidd-Key Conservatory, which would become a junior college in 1916. The Great Depression forced Kidd-Key College to close, however. It
was also during the 1930s that Sherman saw a white lynch mob burn down the courthouse when a black man was accused of raping a
white woman (an old racist standby). The man was killed by the mob and the whites destroyed a part of the black section of town. A new
courthouse was built with WPA funds in 1936.
Since Sherman was in Sam Rayburn's home region, it received more than its fair share of federal dollars. Rayburn, history's
longest-serving Speaker of the US House of Representatives, ensured that Grayson County became home to Lake Texoma, at that time
(1939) the largest reservoir in both Texas and Oklahoma. Today, Sherman is still an important gateway to manufacturing, education, and
recreation in Northeast Texas.
|The Chihuahua trail, a Spanish colonial road, is today's TX 56 west of Sherman. This map is from 1844.
|The St. Louis and Southwestern Railroad - known as the "Cotton Belt" - came to Sherman in the 1880s and built a pretty brick depot.
|Sherman sits just east of the Shawnee Trail. This 1862 map still depicts Warren, Fannin County's original seat, as well. Warren would later
become nothing but a memory and is now the location of a sand pit. Preston is also featured on this map.
|This swing bridge across Choctaw creek east of Sherman was used by pedestrians, wagons, and cars at the turn of the 20th century.
|One of Sherman's most famous landmarks is its Woodmen's Circle orphanage west of town. The hill that houses the orphanage served as the
original location of the town before it moved a few miles east. The Shawnee Trail runs on the hill's western side.
What's to do in Sherman? Lots 'o Things!
Stop by the Touch of Class Antique Mall in downtown Sherman to
uncover history in its free museum, then learn even more about it
at the Sherman Museum, housed in a Carnegie Library. Thereafter,
take a picnic and enjoy Eisenhower State Park on the southern
side of Lake Texoma. Don't forget to visit Denison, too!
|Sherman's Union Depot and Tower 15 are long gone, but here they are from the northern approach in the 1940s (City of Sherman).
|Sherman is located along US 75
about 60 miles north of Dallas in
Grayson County. If you're
traveling north from Dallas
towards your gambling
destination in Durant, OK, you
can't miss Sherman!
|The high-tech (for its time) Sherman jail was located on the west side of town behind the courthouse. After a 1930 racial riot in which a lynch
mob burned down the courthouse, this building was demolished and Sherman modernized.
|The Interurban line between Dallas and Denison went through Sherman and was Texas's most successful intercity transports. A major head-on
collision put a damper on their operations. This photo depicts the remains of one of the street cars involved in the crash limping through
downtown Sherman, headed towards either the repair or scrap yards. Click on the photo for a modern-day view of the same area.
|Sherman is 60 miles north of Dallas and 30 miles south of Durant, Oklahoma. As the Grayson
County seat, it's a very lively town, too. You can also find it on this map: