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Canton, Texas is the county seat of Van Zandt County. Settled in 1850, the town was built and named by families moving from Smith County. They opened the first post office and courthouse that year. When the Texas and Pacific Railway was built 22 years later, it was ten miles away from Canton, and in 1877, the townspeople of Wills used that fact to wrest the county seat designation from Canton. In 1877, a group of armed men from Canton went to Wills to take the records back. In the end, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of Canton. It was incorporated in 1919.

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