Smith County Historical Society

Discover the history of Smith County, Texas

The Smith County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1959 by individuals and business firms dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving data, records and other items relating to the history of Smith County, Texas. They joined together in a rewarding effort to preserve the fascinating stories of Smith County’s past in the many areas of historical preservation pursued by the Society.

Museum and Camp Ford: Free Admission

Camp Ford Historic Park

Visit the largest Confederate prisoner camp west of the Mississippi River. Featuring a kiosk, paved trail and a cabin reconstruction. This site is located at 6500 US-271. It is open daily and the admission is free.


Our museum is the home of the Twentieth Century of Progress permanent exhibit and our World War I commemorative exhibit. We offer new temporary exhibits and encourage everyone to check our upcoming schedule! The museum is located at our office at 125 S College.

Society Store

Browse our diverse collection of maps, local history books and the Chronicles of Smith County, Texas available for purchase online.


Need to do some research? Make an appointment to visit our archival library containing historical artifacts of Smith County, including newspapers, city directories, school records, photographs, maps, historical papers, rare books and much more.

One of our ongoing projects is to publish our Index to Chronicles of Smith County, Texas and it is now a reality. We have it posted on-line but it is not finished. It needs to be proofread and entries consolidated. It is posted as is so that it might help the researchers of Smith County history and genealogy. It will be updated as we can finish it. Hopefully by the end of the year, just in time to add our newest issue to it.

If you are planning a trip to use our archives, contact us with an e-mail or call (903) 592-5993 to tell us what you are researching. We will make an appointment with you so we can have material pulled to make your trip easier and more productive.

One of the hidden gems of our collection is our many photos and photo collections. We have started to put a few of the more popular photos up in our society store and we will add more as we have time. The photo collections and a few details can be found at this link. Contact us for more information about any particular collection and to have us search for any image.

Support the Smith County Historical Society


Support the Historical Society and become a member today. Membership is open to all persons or organizations and include a subscription to the monthly newsletter.

The society normally holds monthly meeting on the 1st Tuesday of each month in the Payne Auditorium starting at 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm social time and the regular meeting starting at 7:00 pm. At our regular meeting we offer a program about the history of Smith County and the East Texas area. The programs are free and open to the public.

To see upcoming meetings and events go to the following page. We hope that you enjoy the programs and please let us know if there is a topic you would like to hear and even present. Contact Vice-President Scott Fitzgerald and I will do my best.


The Society not only accepts monetary contributions, but also donations of physical items. Materials collected by the Society include items such as photographs, books, maps, and business/personal documents, as well as artifacts ranging from Native American relics to vintage clothing and furniture.


The many functions of the Society require manpower, and the membership alone often cannot supply it all. Assistance is always needed with such activities as sorting and organizing archival material, answering the phone and greeting visitors.