Fort Stockton, Texas

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Fort Stockton, Texas
City
Paisano Pete, the world's largest roadrunner, welcomes people into Fort Stockton.
Paisano Pete, the world's largest roadrunner, welcomes people into Fort Stockton.
Nickname(s): "Stockton; Stakitas; FS"
Location of Fort Stockton, Texas
Location of Fort Stockton, Texas
Pecos County FortStockton.svg
Coordinates: 30°53′29″N 102°53′6″W / 30.89139°N 102.88500°W / 30.89139; -102.88500Coordinates: 30°53′29″N 102°53′6″W / 30.89139°N 102.88500°W / 30.89139; -102.88500
Country United States
State Texas
County Pecos
Government
 • Mayor William "Bill" Lannom
Area
 • Total 5.1 sq mi (13.3 km2)
 • Land 5.1 sq mi (13.3 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 2,972 ft (906 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,535
 • Density 1,531.3/sq mi (591.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 79735
Area code(s) 432
FIPS code 48-26808[1]
GNIS feature ID 1357597[2]
Website http://cityoffortstockton.com

Fort Stockton is a city in Pecos County, Texas, United States. It is the county seat of Pecos County, located on Interstate Highway 10, U.S. Highways 67, 285, and 385, and the Santa Fe Railroad, 329 miles (529 km) northwest of San Antonio and 240 miles (390 km) east of El Paso.

The population was 8,535 at the 2010 census.

The Pecos County Courthouse in Fort Stockton.

Geography[edit]

Fort Stockton is located at 30°53′29″N 102°53′6″W / 30.89139°N 102.88500°W / 30.89139; -102.88500 (30.891383, -102.885032).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13 km2), all of it land.

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[1] of 2010, 8,535 people, 2,790 households, and 2,106 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,531.3 people per square mile (591.7/km²). The 3,189 housing units averaged 622.4 per square mile (240.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.06% White, 0.89% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 25.16% from other races, and 2.54% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 71% of the population.

Of the 2,790 households, 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were not families. About 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the city, the population was distributed as 30.1% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,713, and for a family was $30,941. Males had a median income of $25,735 versus $17,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,834. About 19.7% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.6% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.

History[edit]

Fort Stockton (named Camp Stockton until 1860) grew up around Comanche Springs, one of the largest sources of spring water in Texas,[citation needed] and near the military fort founded in 1859 and named for Robert Field Stockton.[4]:Preface Comanche Springs was a favorite rest stop on the Great Comanche Trail to Chihuahua, San Antonio-El Paso Road, the Butterfield Overland Mail Route.[4]:Preface

In 1861, the fort was garrisoned by 39 men of Company C, 8th Infantry, under the command of Capt. Arthur Tracy Lee, who evacuated the fort by April.[4]:9 The Confederates took possession of the fort on 9 May by Charles L. Pyron at the outbreak of the Civil War, but soon turned command over to Capt. William C. Adams.[4]:15 With the failure of John Baylor's invasion of New Mexico, a general evacuation of West Texas occurred in 1862.[4]:35

In 1867, the Army rebuilt the fort on a larger and more permanent basis. Other forts in the frontier fort system were Forts Griffin, Concho, Belknap, Chadbourne, Richardson, Davis, Bliss, McKavett, Clark, McIntosh, Inge, and Phantom Hill in Texas, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.[5] "Sub posts or intermediate stations" also were used, including Bothwick's Station on Salt Creek between Fort Richardson and Fort Belknap, Camp Wichita near Buffalo Springs between Fort Richardson and Red River Station, and Mountain Pass between Fort Concho and Fort Griffin.[6]

On 21 July 1867, Fort Stockton was reoccupied by Companies A, B, E, and K of the 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, buffalo soldiers under the command of General Edward Hatch, while a new fort was built one-half mile north of the first post, on the west side of the creek.[4]:83 Major James F. Wade took command of Troops A, B, D, and E, 9th Cavalry, and Company G, 41st Infantry, on 2 Oct. 1868.[4]:109 Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt assumed command of Companies A and D, 9th Cavalry, G, 24th Infantry, and K, 25th Infantry in Feb. 1871.[4]:143 Major Zenas Randall Bliss assumed command on 15 May 1872.[4]:153 Troops B, G, and L, 10th Cavalry, and Companies A and I, 1st Infantry, under Lt. Col. J.F. Wade, were stationed at the fort when the Army decided to abandon it in 1882.[4]:276 Major George A. Purington was the last commander when the Army finally left on 27 June 1886.[4]:317

The old First National Bank building in Fort Stockton, which is now the Fort Stockton Police Station

San Antonio entrepreneurs, convinced the water from Comanche and nearby Leon springs could be used for irrigation, purchased large tracts of land for agricultural development. In 1868, Peter Gallagher bought the land that included the military garrison and Comanche Springs, platted 160 acres (0.65 km2) for a townsite named Saint Gaul, and established two stores at Comanche Springs. Later, Gallagher and John James purchased 5,500 acres (22 km2) along Comanche Creek. By 1870, the Saint Gaul region had a population of 420 civilians, predominantly Irish, German, and Mexican Catholics who had come by way of San Antonio. The first church in Saint Gaul was Catholic. When Pecos County was organized in 1875, Saint Gaul became the county seat. The name, however, was never popular with the citizens, and on August 13, 1881, it was changed officially to Fort Stockton.[citation needed]

Restored rail depot

By 1870, some settlers were using the water from the Pecos River for irrigation. Seven years later, irrigated farmland comprised 7,000 acres (28 km2), and by 1945, the total reached 12,900 acres (52 km2). After the military post was abandoned on June 30, 1886, and both the Texas and Pacific and the Southern Pacific railroads had bypassed it, Fort Stockton experienced a decline. By then, however, it was rapidly becoming the center for an extensive sheep- and cattle-ranching industry, and in 1926, the opening of the nearby Yates Oil Field brought on an economic boom.[citation needed] Fort Stockton was served by the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway.

Today, the original fort's guardhouse remains, and some of the officers' quarters have become private dwellings. Several other buildings of the fort have been refurbished to the 1880s. The refurbished fort site includes a row of officers' quarters, enlisted men's barracks, and the parade grounds. A museum and visitor's center can be found at the site.[citation needed] The history of the Fort Stockton area was chronicled by Clayton W. Williams, Sr. in his 1982 book, Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861-1895.[7]

Since the 1920s, Fort Stockton has experienced the economic boom-bust cycle of the petroleum industry. As of 2012, Fort Stockton is in a state of economic expansion as oilfield drilling and production has increased.[citation needed]

Fort Stockton is 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Midland International Airport. The town is within driving distance of the Big Bend country, including Big Bend National Park, 137 miles (220 km), and the Big Bend Ranch State Park, 171 miles (275 km), as well as the beautiful scenery of numerous "day drive" locations in the area.

Education[edit]

The City of Fort Stockton is served by the Fort Stockton Independent School District.

Fort Stockton has two elementary schools, Alamo Elementary and Apache Elementary, both of which house grades K-3. Fort Stockton Intermediate School houses grades 4-5, while Fort Stockton Middle School houses grades 6-8 and Fort Stockton High School houses grades 9-12. The city and district share the old Alamo school building, utilizing it for the Recreation Department to host little league games. Another older school, Comanche is now privately owned. Butz High School now serves as the alternative education facility. Pre-K services, as well as other child care facilities exist in town.

Higher Education[edit]

The town has access to a branch of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office, offering environmental systems management courses.

Fort Stockton is also home to the Midland College Williams Regional Technical Training Center (WRTTC). The center was built in 1996 through a joint effort by Midland College, and by leaders of Fort Stockton education, business, and government as a means to enhance higher education and workforce development in this part of West Texas. Fort Stockton and Pecos County are part of the Midland College service area. After just four years, the facility, named in honor of Fort Stockton native and WRTTC donor Clayton Williams, Jr., doubled in size through fundraising and program development.

Area ranches[edit]

The sprawling 32,000-acre La Escalera Ranch is located south of Fort Stockton on Highway 385 (Marathon Highway). The Fort Stockton Division was owned by the Giddings family for 100 years and operated as the Elsinore Ranch. The ranch is now owned by La Escalera Limited Partnership. La Escalera Ranch extends over much of Pecos County and portions of Reeves, Brewster, Archer, and Baylor Counties. It is known for its herd of Black Angus cattle and its abundant wildlife. Located near the entrance to the ranch is the Sierra Madera crater.

Notable people[edit]

  • Vice Admiral Kendall L. Card, United States Navy [8]
  • Walter L. Buenger (born 1951), historian of Texas and the American South at Texas A&M University, was reared in Fort Stockton.
  • Cecil Lang Casebier (1922–1996), artist known for portrait and still-life paintings and murals, mosaics, and stain-glass designs[9]
  • Blaine McCallister, professional golfer
  • Annie Frazier Johnson Riggs (1858–1931), local business woman [10]
  • Barney K. Riggs, 19th-century gunfighter[11]
  • Andrew Jackson Royal, 19th-century Pecos County Sheriff[12]
  • Clayton Wheat Williams, Jr.
  • Clayton Wheat Williams, Sr.
  • Kelsey Chamberlain, a relative of the Ward family who visits Fort Stockton fairly often and is a considered an iconic sighting and therefore a local celebrity. When spotted, which is a rare sighting, residents like to ask for a picture.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Williams, C.W., 1982, Texas' Last Frontier, College Station: Texas A&M University Press, ISBN 0890961263
  5. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 48
  6. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  7. ^ Williams, Sr., Clayton W. (April 1982). Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861-1895. Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students. Texas A&M University Press. p. 457. ISBN 978-0890961261. 
  8. ^ "Vice Admiral Kendall L. Card". U. S. Navy Biographies. United States Navy. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2011. 
  9. ^ "Cecil Lang Casebier (1922 - 1996)". Ask Art. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  10. ^ Madigan, Laura (14 March 2004). "Annie Riggs Museum". RV travels across North America with Bob and Laura Madigan. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  11. ^ O'Neal, Billy (1991). Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 261–262. ISBN 978-0-8061-2335-6. 
  12. ^ DeArment, Robert K. (1996). George Scarborough: The Life and Death of a Lawman on the Closing Frontier. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 54–55. ISBN 978-0-8061-2850-4. 

External links[edit]