Surrounded by ranchland and peach orchards dotted with farm stands, Fairfield offers heritage attractions downtown and recreational opportunities at nearby Fairfield Lake. The Freestone County Historical Museum is housed in a 125-year-old, castle-like brick building that used to serve as the county jail. Two log cabins moved to the museum grounds are open to visitors: the two-story Carter log home, a typical pioneer dwelling that contains a number of original furnishings; and the Potter-Watson log cabin.

Fairfield, the county seat of Freestone County, is at the junction of Interstate Highway 45, U.S. highways 75 and 84, and Farm roads 27, 488, and 1580, in the center of the county. The site was originally called Mound Prairie, but the name was changed to Fairfield when the location was chosen for the county seat in 1850. The original townsite, 100 acres of the Redin Gainer league, was donated by David Hall Love. In 1851 - 52, 128 lots were auctioned off for prices ranging from six dollars to $101. Rich farmland, vast amounts of timber, clear springs, and proximity to the Trinity River for transportation attracted settlers from the eastern states. Fairfield acquired a post office in 1851 and by September 1852 had three dry-goods stores, two hotels, a grocery, and a jail. A Fairfield Masonic lodge chartered in 1853 was still active in 1989. The first of four courthouses, a small wooden building described as "no better than a pigsty," was built about 1852. New courthouses were built in 1854 - 56, at a cost of $8,330; in 1891 - 92, at a cost of $22,120; and in 1919 - 21, at a cost of $125,000. In 1891 and 1918 the need for a new courthouse led to county-seat elections in which Fairfield defeated Wortham and Teague, respectively.

A weekly newspaper, the Texas Pioneer, was established at Fairfield in 1857. Subsequent newspapers included the Ledger (1869 - 72) and the Recorder, first published in 1876 and still in existence in the 1990s. In the fall of 1854 a school for girls opened in a new two-story building, the upper floor of which was used as a Masonic hall. A school for boys seems to have opened in a different building in 1856. The first session at Fairfield Female College was held in 1859 under the direction of Henry Lee Graves. The school offered preparatory and college curriculum and enrolled over 100 students in its first year. The college remained open during the Civil War, when its enrollment actually increased because of an influx of Southern refugees. Freestone County was one of four Texas counties in which martial law was declared during Reconstruction. On October 9, 1871, Governor Edmund J. Davis imposed martial law in the county in response to reports of coercion and fraudulent voting in Fairfield during the election of October 3 - 6. Martial law was lifted a month later, on November 10. By 1884 Fairfield reported a population of 500. The community had two hotels, four general stores, and five groceries and served as a shipping point for cotton and hides. By 1892 the town had a bank and Baptist, Methodist, and Cumberland Presbyterian churches.


Ozona, Texas

Hang Your Hat In History


Top Camping Spots

Find the most popular Texas camping destinations across the state.


Great Texas Food

Great food can be found all across the Lone Star state.