Freestone County, Texas
|Freestone County, Texas|
The Freestone County Courthouse in Fairfield
Location in the state of Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
|• Total||892 sq mi (2,310 km2)|
|• Land||877 sq mi (2,271 km2)|
|• Water||15 sq mi (39 km2), 1.65%|
|• Density||21/sq mi (8/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
The farming Kichai band of the Caddoan Mississippian culture dates as far back as 200 BCE in the area. The Hernando de Soto expedition of 1541 resulted in violent encounters. Spanish and French missionaries brought smallpox, measles, malaria, and influenza epidemics against which the Caddo had no immunity. Eventually, the Caddo were forced to reservations.
The Tawakoni branch of Wichita Indians originated north of Texas, but migrated south into east Texas. From 1843 onward, the Tawakoni were part of treaties made by both the Republic of Texas and the United States. Tawakoni were also sometimes known as Tehuacana.
In 1826, empresario David G. Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families. By contracting how many families each grantee could settle, the government sought to have some control over colonization.
The threat of Indian hostilities kept most from homesteading in Freestone County until the Treaty of Bird's Fort. Within three years of the treaty, colonization, primarily from Southern states, had been so successful that the counties surrounding Freestone had already been organized. In 1850 the Texas legislature formed Freestone County from Limestone County. Freestone is a descriptive name referring to the quality of the soil. The county was organized in 1851. Fairfield became the county seat. Of the county's total 1860 population of 6,881, more than half (3,613) were slaves.
The Houston and Texas Central Railway and the International – Great Northern Railroad and skirted the county to the west and south in 1870, giving the local economy a boost. The Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway, laid track across the county in 1906, helping the growing economy.
When the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect in 1920, banning the sale, manufacturing and transportation of alcoholic beverages for public consumption, until its repeal by the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1933, some enterprising individuals in Freestone followed a national trend and began bootlegging for profit. It put food on the table during a period when the local economy was in a downward slide.
In 1969, Texas Utilities Generating Company located a new power plant near Fairfield, creating many local jobs. A dam was built to create Fairfield Lake as a cooling system for the plant. Fairfield Lake State Park was opened to the public in 1972.
- Henderson County (north)
- Anderson County (northeast)
- Leon County (southeast)
- Limestone County (southwest)
- Navarro County (northwest)
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,867 people, 6,588 households, and 4,664 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 8,138 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.56% White, 18.91% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.90% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. 8.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,588 households out of which 30.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 26.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.60% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 110.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,283, and the median income for a family was $39,586. Males had a median income of $30,633 versus $19,214 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,338. About 9.80% of families and 14.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.80% of those under age 18 and 14.30% of those age 65 or over.
Freestone County is currently listed as part of the Dallas-Fort Worth DMA. Local media outlets include: KDFW-TV, KXAS-TV, WFAA-TV, KTVT-TV, KERA-TV, KTXA-TV, KDFI-TV, KDAF-TV, and KFWD-TV. Although located in eastern Central Texas geographically closer to the Waco metropolitan area. Meaning all of the Waco/Temple/Killeen market stations also provide coverage for Freestone County. They include: KCEN-TV, KWTX-TV, KXXV-TV, KDYW, and KWKT-TV. The Freestone County Times newspaper serves Fairfield.
The Teague Chronicle is the hometown newspaper of Teague (Freestone County), Texas and has served Teague and Freestone County for the past 107 years.
Cities and towns
Historic communities in Freestone County have included Baty, Beene, Blunt, Bonner, Bowling, Brewster, Butler, Cobb, Cotton Gin, Driver, Flowerdale, Freestone, Goetz, Harp, Israel, Ivory, Keechil, Lakeport, Lanely, Long Bottom, Luna, Mills, Milton, Morehead, Mount Zion, Pinoak, Pyburn, Shanks, St. Elmo, Starling, Steward's Mill, Stonewall, Troy, Turlington, Valota, Wakefield, West Point, Winkler, Yedell, Yerby, and Young. 
- Leonard Davis (born 1978), NFL offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, grew up in Wortham
- Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893–1929), blues musician, born near Wortham
- Washington Phillips (1880–1954), gospel blues musician, born in the county
- George Watkins (1900–70), Major League Baseball player who owns the record for highest batting average as a rookie
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Kichai Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Caddo Timeline". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- "Caddo (Kadahadacho)". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved May 2, 2010. Oklahoma Historical Society
- Krieger, Margery H: Tawakoni Indians from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 02 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- "Empresario Contracts in the Colonization of Texas 1825-1834". Texas A & M University. Retrieved 2 May 2010. Wallace L. McKeehan,
- "Treaty Negotiations 1825-1834". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 132.
- Leffler, John: Freestone County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 02 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- Werner, George C: Houston Texas and Central Railway from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 02 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- Werner, George C: International-Great Northern Railroad from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 02 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
- "Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway". Don's Depot. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Freestone Bootlegging". Fairfield Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
- "Fairfield Lake State Park". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved 2 May 2010. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
- Texas Almanac: County Population History 1850-2010 Retrieved December 16, 2013
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- A Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone and Leon Counties, Texas. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. 1893. p. 431. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- Freestone County government's website
- Freestone County from the Handbook of Texas Online
- See a map, Freestone County / sponsored by Freestone County Historical Survey Committee. hosted by the Portal to Texas History.
- Freestone County Times homepage
||Navarro County||Henderson County||Anderson County|
|Limestone County||Leon County|