Palestine ( PAL-i-steen) is a city in and the county seat of Anderson County in Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 18,712. Palestine was named for Palestine, Illinois, by preacher Daniel Parker. Another source says that it was named by migrant Micham Main for the same hometown.
Palestine is a relatively small town located in the Piney Woods, equidistant from the major cities of Dallas, and Houston, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana. It is notable for its natural environment, including the dogwood floral blooming season, for having 23 historical sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and as the western terminus of the Texas State Railroad. This steam-and-diesel railroad museum operates tourist trains between Palestine and Rusk.
A trading post was established here about 1843 and some settlers gathered around it. In 1846, the Texas Legislature created Palestine to serve as a seat for the newly established Anderson County. James R. Fulton, Johnston Shelton, and William Bigelow were hired by the first Anderson County commissioners to survey the surrounding land and lay out a town site, consisting of a central courthouse square and the surrounding 24 blocks.
During the Reconstruction era, the town's growth was stimulated and timber trade was stimulated when the railroad was constructed through here in the 1870s. It had a population of more than 10,000 by 1898.
The International Railroad and the Houston and Great Northern Railroad met in Palestine in 1872 and merged in 1873 to become the International and Great Northern Railroad (IGN).