Leon County is east of Waco on Interstate 45 in eastern Central Texas. It is bounded on the north by Limestone and Freestone counties, on the east by Anderson and Houston counties, on the south by Madison County, and on the west by RobertsonCounty. Buffalo, located near the Freestone county line, is the largest community. Centerville is the county seat. The Burlington Northern Railroad crosses from Normangee to Jewett, where the two rail lines intersect. Leon County embraces 1,078 square miles of rolling plains.
Cities, Towns & Communities
Bowling | Buffalo | Centerville – county seat | Centerview (Raymond) | Concord | Corinth | Egypt | Fort Boggy | Jewett | Leona | Little Flock | Long Hollow | Marquez | Navarro | Normangee (partly in Madison County) | Oakwood | Pleasant Ridge | Red Branch (Mount Pisgah) | Redland | Rogers Prairie | Russell | Shiloh
Leon County was officially formed from Robertson County by the First Texas Legislature in 1846. The first meeting of the county court was held on October 16, 1846, with R. E. B. Baylor as presiding judge. The naming of the county is the subject of much controversy. Some maintain that it was named for Martín De León, founder of Victoria. However, many residents insist that the name (“lion” in Spanish) came from the nickname of a yellow wolf of the region commonly called the león. The first county seat, Leona, on the southern boundary near the Old San Antonio Road, was picked in 1846. Centerville became county seat in 1851, as a result of a state requirement that county offices be as close to the geographical center of a county as possible. The first newspaper was published there in 1851, the Leona Signal.
The first churches in Leon County were founded shortly after the county was established. In 1990 more than fifty churches, with an estimated combined membership of more than 5,000, were functioning. The largest communions were Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic. In the early 1990s Leon County had five school districts, with five elementary, two middle, and five high schools. Source: Handbook of Texas Online.
Read Leon County History from the Handbook of Texas Online
Leon County. Formed from Robertson County. Created March 17, 1846; organized July 13, 1846. Named in honor of Martin de Leon, 1765-1833. A Texas empresario, founder of Victoria. County seat, Leona 1846; Centerville, since 1850. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1936. Located 1 mi. N of Leona on SH 75.
Leon County. Long before the white man came with his “land-stealer” Leon County lay across the paths between the village Indians of East Texas and the buffalo hunting grounds, and no less than three Indian trails were clearly enough marked to appear on the white man’s land maps. The Keechi trace crossed the northern part of the county; two others led across the central portion, roughly parallel to the present Centerville-Robbins Road, through a country replete with springs. All three are thought to have converged in the vicinity of Sycamore Crossing on the Navasota River, a few miles northwest of Marquez. The most famous, and most important of the ancient trails, now forms a part of the boundary between Leon and Madison Counties—the King’s Highway, or “The Old San Antonio Road.” It follows a series of prairies from the Trinity to near the Colorado Leon and Rogers Prairies in Leon and Madison Counties… Continue reading Leon County History written in 1940 >>
A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas, 1883. Digital book on line from The Portal to Texas History.
Leona was the county seat from 1846 until 1850, when the county seat was moved to Centerville. Leon County Courthouses >>