Gila County, Arizona

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Gila County, Arizona
Gila county arizona courthouse.jpg
Gila County Courthouse in Globe, Arizona
Seal of Gila County, Arizona
Map of Arizona highlighting Gila County
Location in the state of Arizona
Map of the United States highlighting Arizona
Arizona's location in the U.S.
Founded February 8, 1881
Seat Globe
Largest city Payson
 • Total 4,795.74 sq mi (12,421 km2)
 • Land 4,767.70 sq mi (12,348 km2)
 • Water 28.03 sq mi (73 km2), 0.58%
Population (Est.)
 • (2011) 53,144
 • Density 11/sq mi (4.3/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 4th
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7

Gila County is a county in the central part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census its population was 53,597.[1] The county seat is Globe.[2]

Gila County contains parts of Fort Apache Indian Reservation and San Carlos Indian Reservation.


The county was formed from parts of Maricopa County and Pinal County on February 8, 1881.[3] The boundary was then extended eastward to the San Carlos River by public petition in 1889. The original county seat was in the mining community of Globe City, now Globe, Arizona.

Popular theory says that the word Gila was derived from a Spanish contraction of Hah-quah-sa-eel, a Yuma word meaning "running water which is salty".[4]

In the 1880s, a long range war broke out in Gila County that became the most costly feud in American history, resulting in an almost complete annihilation of the families involved. The Pleasant Valley War (also sometimes called the Tonto Basin Feud or Tonto Basin War) matched the cattle-herding Grahams against the sheep-herding Tewksburys. Once partisan feelings became tense and hostilities began, Frederick Russell Burnham, who later became a celebrated scout and the inspiration for the boy scouts, was drawn into the conflict on the losing side.[5][6] Burnham shot many men in the feud, and was himself nearly killed by a bounty hunter.[7] Tom Horn, a famous assassin, was also known to have taken part as a killer for hire, but it is unknown as to which side employed him, and both sides suffered several murders to which no suspect was ever identified. In the 1960s, it was home of Gerald Gault, who was the subject of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in re Gault, that stated juveniles have the same rights as adults when arrested to be notified of the charges against them, the rights to attorneys and to confront their accusers.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 4,795.74 square miles (12,420.9 km2), of which 4,767.70 square miles (12,348.3 km2) (or 99.42%) is land and 28.03 square miles (72.6 km2) (or 0.58%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Major highways[edit]


The following public-use airports are located in the county:


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,021
1900 4,973 146.1%
1910 16,348 228.7%
1920 25,678 57.1%
1930 31,016 20.8%
1940 23,867 −23.0%
1950 24,158 1.2%
1960 25,745 6.6%
1970 29,255 13.6%
1980 37,080 26.7%
1990 40,216 8.5%
2000 51,335 27.6%
2010 53,597 4.4%
Est. 2012 53,144 −0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
2012 Estimate[10]


Where as according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 51,335 people, 20,140 households, and 14,098 families residing in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 28,189 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.82% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 12.92% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.59% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. 16.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.84% reported speaking Spanish at home, while 6.29% speak Western Apache.[12]

There were 20,140 households out of which 26.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.10% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 22.30% from 25 to 44, 26.40% from 45 to 64, and 19.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,917, and the median income for a family was $36,593. Males had a median income of $31,579 versus $22,315 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,315. About 12.60% of families and 17.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.90% of those under age 18 and 7.90% of those age 65 or over.


Map of the incorporated and major unincorporated areas in Gila County. Also shown are borders for Indian reservations in the County.



Census-designated places[edit]

Other communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Gila National Forest (archived)". United States Forest Service. 2003-12-04. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  5. ^ Forrest, Earle R. (1936). Arizona's Dark and Bloody Ground; an authentic account of the sanguinary Pleasant Valley vendetta that swept through Arizona's cattleland in the latter eighteen eighties--the Graham-Tewksbury feud. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, Ltd. pp. 15, 292. OCLC 1825248. 
  6. ^ Burnham, Frederick Russell (1926). Scouting on Two Continents. Doubleday, Page & company. pp. 2; Chapters 3 & 4. OCLC 407686. 
  7. ^ Lott, Jack (1981). "Chapter 8. The Making of a Hero: Burnham in the Tonto Basin". In Boddington, Craig. America -- The Men and Their Guns That Made Her Great. Petersen Publishing Co. p. 90. ISBN 0-8227-3022-7. 
  8. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^ [1]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°47′28″N 110°50′11″W / 33.79111°N 110.83639°W / 33.79111; -110.83639