Canton is a city in and the county seat of Van Zandt County in East Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 3,581. Canton was surveyed as early as 1840 by a company of men under Dr. W. P. King, the community stands on the original survey of Jesse Stockwell, an early settler in the area. No settlement was made until 1850, when the town was out and named by settlers moving from Old Canton in Smith County. The first district courthouse at Canton opened in 1850, and a post office, when the Texas and Pacific Railway was built across the county in 1872, it missed Canton by ten miles, and the citizens of Wills Point persuaded county officials to move the county seat there. In the resulting dispute, in 1877 armed residents of Canton went to Wills Point to recover the records, the Texas Supreme Court finally decided in favor of Canton. Property for the towns first school, the Canton Academy, was acquired in 1853, sid S. Johnson began publication of the Canton Weekly Times, the countys first newspaper, in 1860. A Grange was founded in 1876, by 1890 Canton had a population of 421, flour mills, sawmills, cotton gins, and a bank. Brick buildings were under construction by 1892 and a new courthouse was completed in 1894. Iron ore and anthracite coal were discovered in 1887 and 1891, by 1896, the town reached a population high of 800 and had several churches, a steam gristmill and gin, two weekly newspapers, three general stores and two hotels. But the population had fallen back to 421 by 1904, Canton was incorporated in 1919, and elected a mayor and aldermen. Despite the Great Depression, development of the Van oilfield after 1929 brought further expansion, a Public Works Administration project in the 1930s saw the completion of a new courthouse. In 1933 area schools registered 500 white and twenty-eight black students, the population reached 715 in 1940, but dwindled again after 1949. In the 1950s, local business included a sweet-potato curing plant, an ice factory, a factory, lumberyards. Expansion of the Canton city limits doubled its territory in the 1960s, in 1970 the community had a municipal lake with recreational facilities, seven churches, a school, a bank, a library, a newspaper, and eighty-six businesses. The population doubled between 1960 and 1970 from roughly 1,000 to 2,000, and reached nearly 3,000 by 1990, the population was 3,292 in 2000. However, when the city decided to recount the population. Canton is known for its First Monday Trade Days, the custom began with the swapping of surplus stock by barter and grew to include casual bargaining for or swapping of dogs, antiques, junk, and donkeys on a 30-acre grounds
The Blackwell House Museum in Canton was built in 1886 but occupied as a residence until 1975.
Historic Canton Main Street banner
Canton is the location of the Van Zandt County courthouse.
A glimpse of Canton across the street from the courthouse