Welcome to beautiful East Texas. The earliest inhabitants of what is now Smith County, Texas, were Caddo (or Tejas) Indians. The Spanish explorers knew these Indians as Tejas, for whom they named the present Texas.
Although Texas was a province of Spain and Mexico until 1821, few European settlers inhabited the area to become Smith County until after the Texas Revolution. Smith County was established in 1846, by the new Texas State Legislature and was named for General James Smith who fought for Texas' independence and served during the Indian Wars. Boundaries were established at that time and have not changed to this day.
Currently, Smith County has 932 square miles, 1,273 miles of county roads, 11 cities and 18 taxing entities.
In 2000, the population of Smith County was about 174,700, ranking it among the top 25 in population of the 254 Texas Counties. By 2007, the population of Smith County had grown to over 198,700, and according to the recent census taken in 2010, the population of Smith County had grown to about 209,000. Additional businesses and retirees relocate into the area each year because of the quality of life found here.
Smith County government is composed of 48 departments and 26 elected officials. The county auditor is appointed by the District Judges, and 14 department heads are appointed by the Commissioners Court. Smith County has more than 800 employees.
County services and responsibilities include:
- Building and maintaining county roads
- Operating the judicial system
- Registering voters and holding elections
- Maintaining public records
- Participation in economic development incentive and programs
- Providing health and social services to the indigent
- Assisting veterans and their dependents with benefit/entitlement claims
- Providing law enforcement
- Building and operating jails
- Issuing vehicle registrations
- Collection of property and sales taxes