VAN ALSTYNE, TEXAS:
Van Alstyne was named in honor of Maria Van Alstyne, widow of William Ashley Van Alstyne of Houston, a major stockholder of the Houston and Texas Central Railway.
The city of Van Alstyne, located on the southern border of Grayson County, was founded in 1873 when the railroads began their rapid
expansion and formation of new settlements into the rich blacklands of North Texas. The railroads bypassed the little town of Mantua that had been settled in 1854 three miles to the Southwest. Most of Mantua’s citizens relocated to Van Alstyne, bringing with them their businesses and churches.
The community opened a post office in 1873 and grew rapidly for the rest of the century. Van Alstyne incorporated in 1890, when it had a population of 400, two gristmills, a flour mill, a newspaper, and a college. Around 1900 the town had 1,940 residents and a number of businesses, including several banks, a grain elevator, a roller mill, and a chemical company. It remained an active center for retail trade, banking, schools, and churches. Its population was 1,453 in 1936, when fifty-five businesses, including two banks and various stores, served the community.
By the mid-1970s the town had 2,230 residents and some forty businesses, among them seven manufacturers, including producers of clothing, motor homes, and mattresses. By the late 1980s the population of Van Alstyne stood at 1,990, and it had some thirty-five businesses, including factories of plastics and aluminum products.