County History

The first settlement in the area that became Kaufman County was started in 1840 by William P. King and a group of forty pioneers from Holly Springs, Mississippi.  The group purchased certificates for headrights from the Republic of Texas, built a fort and named it King’s Fort in honor of their leader. Because of readily available land grants and because the land had been praised in eastern towns, the area around King’s Fort, or Kingsboro, or Fort de Kingsboro, attracted settlers rapidly.

David Spangler Kaufman

David Spangler Kaufman

On July 27, 1846, after the annexation of Texas by the United States, King patented the survey that included King’s Fort with the new state government. The territory was at that time part of the recently organized Henderson County. In February 1848, Kaufman County was drawn from Henderson County  and named for David Spangler Kaufman (1813-1851), a diplomat and member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas, the legislature of the state of Texas, and the Congress of the United States.

King’s Fort was renamed Kaufman and became the county seat in March 1851, after four elections. The county’s northern boundary was reduced by the establishment of Rockwall County in 1873, and its limits have since remained unchanged.

A detailed history of Kaufman County, from which this information was taken, can be found on the Texas State Historical Association website in the Handbook of Texas Online. The information is taken from the following work:

Brian Hart, “KAUFMAN COUNTY,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed June 09, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.