History of Corsicana
Corsicana, county seat and largest city of Navarro County, is in the central portion of the county 58 miles southeast of Dallas at the junction of Interstate 45, U.S. highways 75 and 287, and state highways 22 and 31. It was established in 1848 to serve as the county seat of newly-established Navarro County. José Antonio Navarro, a hero of the Texas Revolution after whom the county was named, was given the honor of naming the new town; he suggested Corsicana after the island of Corsica, the birthplace of his parents.
David R. Mitchell, an early area settler, donated 100 acres for a town site, and with the assistance of Thomas I. Smith, platted the land and began selling lots. The new town was centered near a log tavern built in 1847 and owned and operated by the Rev. Hampton McKinney. The first courthouse, a two-room log structure, was constructed in 1849, and served as a church, meeting hall, and civic center until a new frame building was constructed in 1853. The first school, taught by Mack Elliot and a man named Lafoon, opened in the old courthouse in 1847, and a short time later the Corsicana Female Literary Institute began operating.
Businesses in Town
Within a few years of the town's founding, a large number of mercantile establishments opened on and around the courthouse square, and new brick courthouse - a symbol of the town's growing prosperity - was erected in 1858. The first newspaper, the Prairie Blade, was founded in 1855; it was replaced by the Express in 1857, which in turn was replaced by the Observer on the eve of the Civil War.
Read more about the history of Corsicana (PDF).