Soon after Navarro County was created by the Texas Legislature in 1846, a committee was appointed to choose a site for the county seat. The committee selected a 100-acre tract of land that came to be the city of Corsicana. The town was named for Corsica, the homeland of the parents of Texas patriot Jose Antonio Navarro, for whom the county was named. Corsicana was first governed by a town commission, whose duty was to map the area and sell lots. Early settler Hampton McKinney built a log cabin for his home, which also was used as a school, post office, courthouse, and land office. He also operated the McKinney Tavern, where many early settlers and travelers boarded. Other early Corsicana businesses included a hardware store, carpenter shop, drug store, saddle shop, saloon, and blacksmith shop. A period of tremendous growth was initiated in 1871 with the coming of the Houston & Central Texas Railroad. The first free public schools were offered during the early 1880s, and the late 19th century saw Corsicana in the midst of an oil boom. The city became a Texas pioneer in commercial oil production and in the use of natural gas for fuel and lighting and continues today as a leader in the area's growth.