About This Place
Canton is a city in Van Zandt County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 5,142. It is the county seat of Van Zandt County.
Canton was surveyed as early as 1840 by a company of men under Dr. W. P. King. The community stands on the original survey of Jesse Stockwell, who arrived in the area at that time. No settlement was made until 1850, when the town was laid out and named by settlers moving from Old Canton in Smith County. The first district courthouse at Canton opened in 1850, and a post office, the county's fourth, was established in that year.
When the Texas and Pacific Railway was built across the county in 1872, it missed Canton by ten miles, and the citizens of Wills Point persuaded county officials to move the county seat there. In the resulting dispute, in 1877 armed residents of Canton went to Wills Point to recover the records, and the county judge wired Governor Richard B. Hubbard for aid. The Supreme Court of Texas finally decided in favor of Canton. Unwilling to use the railroad at Wills Point, Canton businessmen established Edgewood, ten miles (16 km) to the northwest of town, and built an extension to the railroad at a siding formerly called Stevenson.