Our History

Graham has a rich history that began on the frontier with Fort Belknap in 1851. The Fort’s purpose was to protect and secure the peace for the pioneer settlers and Native Americans who lived on two near-by reservations. Fort Belknap was decommissioned in 1859 and is the only fort in Texas that is owned by the citizens of the county.

In 1856 Young County was established with the county seat located in the community of Belknap, half a mile east of the fort. After an election, Graham won out as the location of the second county seat and a courthouse was built in 1884 on the Downtown Square in Graham.

In 1869 brothers Gustavous A. and Edwin S. Graham arrived in North Texas, purchasing land and a salt works on Salt Creek in 1871. They drilled the first gas well in Texas, having stumbled upon it while drilling for salt water. A year later, the Grahams then turned their attention to surveying the site of a new town. With a downtown square measuring more than a mile in circumference and streets wide enough for a wagon to turn around, the town of Graham, Texas was established in 1872. Graham is credited as having the largest downtown square in the United States.

While the salt works were the stepping stones for establishing Graham, Texas, in 1877 Graham was the birth place of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The Association was founded in 1877 under an oak tree. These cattlemen created the association to fight cattle theft in the region. In 1983, cattlemen dropped the regional name for the more appropriate title – Cattle Raisers Association of Texas.