Van Alstyne History
By: Dusty Williams
McKinney and Sherman had given land for the Houston and Texas Central Railway. Mantua, being between the two saw no need to pay the railroad as they would “come through here anyway.” Unfortunately, the railroad bypassed them when on February 21, 1872 the railroad purchased a little over 35 acres from William L. McKinney, a minor and orphan. William had received his large estate from his father, William B. McKinney who had died in the Civil War. His father James McKinney was the original owner of the land that the State of Texas granted him. Businesses began moving from Mantua to the newly formed town. On May 3, 1873 the town was named Van Alstyne in honor of Maria Van Alstyne, widow of railroad employee and stockholder, William A. Van Alstyne. Van Alstyne is said to be the only town in Grayson County that was named after a woman.