County Seat Established
In 1856 the Texas Legislature established Wise County and directed that a county seat be placed within five miles of the center.  Absolam Bishop, the "father" of  Decatur, was charged with locating and laying out the plans. Bishop, loving the outlay of McKinney, decided to copy its plan and use it for Decatur.  The city was laid out and originally named Taylorsville after Gen. Zachary Taylor.  Bishop, however, did not approve of the name.  He was indifferent to Gen. Taylor's Whip party affiliation and in beginning of 1858 had the name changed to Decatur after naval hero Stephen Decatur. 

Creation of City Offices
The first post office and school were established in 1857.  The town began to flourish and in the early 1860s the first of four courthouses was erected.  The late 1860's saw the creation of new stores.  Ranchers and herders would come in off the Chisholm Trail to grab supplies.


This time period, however, was not only a time of peaceful growth.  Decatur was plagued by Indian attacks.  The Deep Creek Cemetery south of town had been the final resting place for a few of those attacked.  An example of these attacks comes from the depiction of Sallie Bowman's demise published in a book by Cliff D. Cates, The Pioneer History of Wise County.  He explains how she was chased down and shot by Indians while tending to her father's herd of horses.

As time went on. Decatur slowly but steadily saw an increase of traffic in the city.  In 1882, the Fort Worth and Denver Railway came through Decatur.  During this time period a gambling railway worker, talking about a female from Decatur, coined the phrase "Eighter from Decatur".  Decatur prospered as a shipping point and market for farmers.


In 1896, the last of the four county courthouses was built.  It came at a price of $110,000 ($2,810,388 in today's money) and is build of solid pink granite and Vermont marble.  The building is still in use today and is rated one of the best historic courthouses in the country.


With the continual growth of the city, in 1897, land was purchased to create Decatur Baptist College.  The college was finished in 1898 and became the first 2-year college ever established in the state of Texas. This building now resides as the Wise County Museum.  The college moved to Dallas in 1965 in order to expand on 100 acres of land donated to it and by the invitation of the Dallas Baptist Association.  The college soon became a four-year school, but still gets to proclaim itself the "Oldest Junior College in Texas".


As Fort Worth continued to grow, so did Decatur.  Decatur's population slowly but steadily risen from it's 1904 tally of 1,562 to just over an estimated 6,400 (July, 2008).  Despite it's "low" population, Decatur flourishes because of its position in the county.  Due to it's placement, Decatur still attracts farmers, ranchers, oil and gas workers, vacationers, citizens from surround areas, and it's own citizens in for everything from supplies to a peaceful night out on the town.