History

  • Founded around 1824. Early settlers were John Bevil and Andrew Smith.
  • Both city and county are named for William Jasper, an acclaimed American soldier who died in the assault on Savannah in the Revolutionary War.
  • The only known Revolutionary War veteran buried in Texas is Jasper resident Stephen Williams, commemorated by a courthouse historical marker.
  • Jasper was a major communication and transportation center during the Civil War.
  • After the railroad’s arrival around 1900, the timber industry grew and flourished. In that era, Jasper shipped as many as 200 rail cars of lumber products a month.
  • In the late 1950s the opening of Lake Sam Rayburn and nearby Toledo Bend, ranking among the nation’s largest man-made lakes, introduced tourism, fishing and recreation as new major industries for Jasper and changed the Jasper lifestyle forever.
  • Late in the last century, the heinous murder of Jasper’s citizen James Byrd Jr. led to the passage of both state and federal hate crime laws.
  • While the timber industry remains important, newer industries such as tourism, retirement industries and manufacturing are on the rise. Today, the city enjoys a diverse and healthy business base, tax base and economy. Both the city’s population and its economy continue to grow.