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. The 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, 1273 miles of county roads, 9 incorporated cities, and 18 taxing entities.
In 2000, the population of Smith County was about 174,700, ranking it among 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 there. With rapid growth and expansion has come an increased awareness among residents and visitors of the historic significance and charm to be found in the area. Dwellings, businesses, and even the brick streets are being restored to their former appearance as parts of Tyler's downtown and older residential districts have returned to the beauty of the past.
Smith County government is composed of 48 departments, including 26 headed by elected officials, with the county auditor having been appointed by the District Judges, and 12 appointees by the Commissioners Court. Smith County has approximately 700 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 w/ benefit/entitlement claims
- Providing law enforcement
- Building and operating jails
- Issuing vehicle registrations
- Collection of property and sales taxes