FAIRFIELD – FREESTONE COUNTY HISTORYEarly residents of this county came from southern states as early as 1835. The rich farmland, clear springs, vast amounts of timber, and the proximity to the Trinity River for transportation attracted settlers from the eastern and southern states. The central area destined to become the County Seat was called Mound Prairie.
Originally being included in Robertson and then in Limestone County, on August 27, 1850 a bill was read before the Texas Legislature calling for the creation of Freestone County. On September 6th, 1850 the bill was approved, but it became apparent that some alterations were necessary. On November 23, 1850 a subsequent amendatory act was introduced to the Senate. The amendatory act was approved on November 30, 1850 and Freestone County was born.
Fairfield was founded in 1851 when David H. Love deeded to the county one hundred acres of land from the R. Gainer league of land closely centered in the County. This parcel of land was designated by Freestone County officials as the permanent location of the county seat and was renamed, Fairfield, in honor of many of the citizen’s previous home of Fairfield, Alabama. A temporary courthouse was erected that was later described as “no better than a shanty”. It was replaced in 1855 with a brick structure at a cost of close to $9,000 and later in 1891 with a three-story brick and stone courthouse for $23,120. Our present courthouse was built in 1919 at a cost of $200,000 and remains the center structure of the Town Square in Fairfield.
There was a large influx of settlers to this area before and after the Civil War. Fairfield was the center of agricultural commerce for the county residents. Cotton was grown well into the twentieth century. Food crops were also prevalent.
Freestone County furnished 1000 men to the Civil War with only 300 coming back. The returned soldiers began county reorganization again, but no sooner were the officers elected than they were removed. Governor Edmund J. Davis imposed martial law in the county on October 9, 1871 because of reports of "coercion and fraudulent voting" during the elections of October 3 through 6 in Fairfield. New Elections were ordered and carried out in the presence of bayonets, with voters in single file marching to the polls, white voters alternating with colored ones in the long line. There were only two elections of this kind, and each one took four days. Martial law was lifted a month later.
Civil War veterans held annual reunions from 1890 until 1931 and a last time in 1933. The three-day reunions were eventually held on land donated by W. L. Moody and brother, Leroy, in Fairfield. Civil War cannons that had been buried after the war were dug up and shot in celebration. One of the cannons now stands on the Courthouse lawn in memory of the lives given in honor of Freestone County. The old reunion campground is now the site of the Freestone County Fair and Rodeo that is held annually. Families use the updated campsites to visit with old friends and make new ones each year.
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