Carthage became the county seat of Panola County due to the generosity and foresight of one man, Jonathan Anderson, who donated 100 acres to create the town in 1848. Pioneer families had staked their claims to homesteads and farms in the surrounding acreage by that time, including the temporary county seat of Pulaski on the Sabine River.
From those humble beginnings, Carthage has grown and prospered. Now a designated state and national Main Street City, the town boasts a population of 6,668 people, according to the 2010 census.
One of the brightest stars in the Carthage crown is the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and Tex Ritter Museum, which joins the Jim Reeves Memorial as popular tourist destinations for country music fans. The Country Music Hall of Fame show is held each August to honor country musicians who have their roots in Texas music.
More than 3,040 students attend the Carthage Independent School District, which is ranked as a 3-A school by the state. The school district's five campuses include Carthage High School, Carthage Junior High School, Baker-Koonce Intermediate School, and Carthage Primary School. Northside Christian Center, a private Christian school, and Panola Charter School, offer other educational opportunities to students in the area. In addition, the Carthage Home Schoolers Association provides resources and support for parents who choose to teach their children at home.
Panola College's wide-ranging curriculum offers two-year associate degrees, foundation courses that lead to university degrees, certificate programs for trade and technical careers, a nursing school, adult and continuing education classes, as well as ever-growing distance learning opportunities.
The medical needs of Panola County Citizens are met through UTHealth-Carthage and the physicians, surgeons and specialists who practice here.
The discovery of oil and gas created an economic boom for Panola County that still pays dividends to the area today. Oil and gas interests remain a vital part of the economy of Carthage and Panola County. Other industries tapping into the natural resources of the area include timber, logging and wood processing facilities. Other manufacturing and processing plants operate here, enhancing the economic base of the area.