In 1873, state Rep. Bluford Washington Brown, of Summerfield Community north of Longview, introduced a bill to create a new county from parts of Upshur, Rusk and Harrison counties.
However, Harrison County successfully resisted fragmentation, and the Rusk County portion turned out smaller than desired.
By 1872, the International & Great Northern and the Texas and Pacific railroads had built rail lines in the area that became Gregg County, which was marked off from southern Upshur County by the 13th Texas Legislature on April 12, 1873.
The bill originally called the new county Roanoke, but during passage of the legislation the name was changed to Gregg, in honor of Confederate war hero John B. Gregg. Longview later was selected as the county seat.
By an act of the 14th Legislature, on April 30, 1874, Gregg County was extended southward to add a portion of northern Rusk County.
The name for Gregg County commemorated a popular secessionist leader named John Gregg who was killed in action as a Confederate general.
Here’s a look at the judges who have been the county’s top executives since its founding:
■ John F. Witherspoon: 1873-1878
■ L.G. Jackson: 1879-1880
■ John D. Kilgore: 1881-1884
■ E.S. Terry: 1885-1886
■ John Tyson Smith: 1887-1898, 1901-1902
■ J.N. Campbell: 1899-1900, 1903-1904
■ T. Edwin Lacy: 1905-1908
■ J.H. McHaney: 1909-1916
■ E.M. Bramlette: 1917-1920
■ W.A. Ray: 1921-1922
■ W.R. Hughes: 1923-1926, 1929-1930
■ D.S. Meredith Jr.: 1927-1928
■ H.A. Leaverton: 1931-1936
■ Perry R. Meredith: 1937-1938
■ Merritt H. Gibson: 1939-1940, 1943-1946
■ Matt Dawson: 1941-1942
■ Earl Sharp: 1947-1962
■ R.E. “Peppy” Blount: 1963-1966
■ Henry Atkinson: 1967-1990
■ Kenneth Walker: 1991-1994
■ Mickey D. Smith: 1995-2002
■ Bill Stoudt: 2003-present