Jeff Davis County, Texas
|Jeff Davis County, Texas|
Jeff Davis County Courthouse in Fort Davis
Location in the state of Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
|• Total||2,265 sq mi (5,866 km2)|
|• Land||2,265 sq mi (5,866 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%|
|• Density||0.97/sq mi (0/km²)|
Jeff Davis County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. It is named for Jefferson Davis, the 23rd United States Secretary of War and President of the Confederate States of America. It is one of the nine counties that comprise the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 2,342. Its seat is Fort Davis.
The county contains the 270,000-acre (1,090 km2) Texas Davis Mountains American Viticultural Area, though only about 50 acres (0.2 km2) is currently under vine. The McDonald Observatory is located near Fort Davis, and is owned by the University of Texas at Austin.
Prehistoric peoples camped at Phantom Lake Spring, in northeastern Jeff Davis County, and may have used the springs for irrigation. Indian pictographs in The Painted Comanche Camp of Limpia Canyon were discovered by the Whiting and Smith Expedition of 1849.
In August 1861, Mescalero Apaches under Chief Nicolas made an attack on Fort Davis, driving off livestock and killing three people. In the ensuing chase by the cavalry, Nicolas ambushed the soldiers, killing them all. September 1868 at Horsehead Hills, a group of volunteer Mexicans and Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Davis attacked and destroyed a Mescalero village to recover captives and stolen livestock. January 1870, a group of soldiers attacked a Mescalero Apache village near Delaware Creek in the Guadalupe Mountains. July 1880 soldiers at Tinaja de las Palmas attacked a group of Mescaleros led by Chief Victorio. August 1880, Buffalo Soldiers ambushed Victorio at Rattlesnake Springs. Victorio retreated to Mexico and was killed in October by Mexican soldiers. The last Indian depredation in the area was at Barry Scobee Mountain in 1881.
In March 1849 lieutenants William H. C. Whiting and William F. Smith were sent out by Maj. Gen. William J. Worth of the Texas 8th Military Department to look for a route from San Antonio to El Paso del Norte. A second party, led by Dr. John S. Ford and financed by a group of Austin merchants, pioneered a trail that ran north of the Davis Mountains before turning southward toward El Paso. June 1849 Lt. Col. Joseph E. Johnston, attached to Bvt. Maj. Jefferson Van Horne’s battalion, was sent for additional surveying. At El Paso, Horne established Fort Bliss. Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace escorted the San Antonio-El Paso Mail coach through the mountains. Fort Davis was established in 1854.The land was leased from Surveyor John James at $300 a year. The fort was surrendered to the Confederacy in 1861, and abandoned in 1862 after Confederate defeat at Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, but was re-occupied by Federal troops July 1, 1867.
County establishment and growth
The legislature established Jeff Davis County on March 15, 1887. Fort Davis was named county seat. Cattle ranchers began operating in the county in the 1880s. The towns of Valentine and Chispa became supply centers for the ranchers and later railroad stops. Fort Davis has always been the county's largest town. By 1970, Madera Springs was known as the smallest town in Texas. Fort Davis National Historic Site was established in 1961. Davis Mountains State Park opened to the public in the 1930s. The Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute arboretum was established in 1974.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,265 sq mi (5,870 km2), with a total area of 0.01% water. The county is home to the Davis Mountains, the highest mountain range located entirely within the state of Texas.
Adjacent counties and municipios
- Reeves County (east half of north)
- Pecos County (east)
- Brewster County (southeast)
- Presidio County (southwest)
- Hudspeth County (northwest)
- Culberson County (west half of north)
The west corner of Jeff Davis County is located on the bank of the Rio Grande. Jeff Davis County is separated from municipio Guadalupe, Chihuahua, Mexico by a short Presidio County : Hudspeth County border from the riverbank to the middle of the river.
- Fort Davis National Historic Site, National Park Service
- Davis Mountains State Park, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Davis Mountains Preserve, The Nature Conservancy of Texas
Texas Almanac: 1850-2010
2000 census 2,207 population; 896 Households; 632 Families; ??? Population Density and 1,420 Housing Unites. The average housing unit density in the county was of less than 1/sq mi (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.53% White, 0.91% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 5.17% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 35.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 896 households out of which 27.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.80% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.40% under the age of 18, 5.30% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 30.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 104.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,212, and the median income for a family was $39,083. Males had a median income of $27,011 versus $21,384 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,846. About 14.10% of families and 15.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.10% of those under age 18 and 19.60% of those age 65 or over.
Jeff Davis County in popular culture
- List of museums in West Texas
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Jeff Davis County, Texas
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- Brune, Gunnar. "Phantom Lake Spring". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "The Painted Comanche Camp". Texas Beyond History. UT-Texas. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Indian War Engagements Involving Troops from Fort Davis". National Park Service. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Leckie, William H and Shirley A (2007). "The Victorio War". The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 211–233. ISBN 978-0-8061-3840-4.
- Kohout, Martin Donell. "Jeff Davis County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Founding of Fort Davis". National Park Service. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Fort Davis, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Valentine, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Chispa, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Flynn, Buddy. "Madera Springs, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "Davis Mountains State Park". Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- Bartlett, Dick (1995). Saving the Best of Texas: A Partnership Approach to Conservation. University of Texas Press. pp. 168–169. ISBN 978-0-292-70835-8.
- Buckner, Sherry; Kimball, Allan C (2006). GPP Travel. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7627-4174-8.
- U.S. Decennial Census
- Texas Almanac: County Population History 1850-2010
- Jeff Davis County Government
- Jeff Davis County from the Handbook of Texas Online
- "Jeff Davis County Profile" of the "Texas Association of Counties"
- TXGenWeb Project for Jeff Davis
- Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce
- West Texas Weekly- a local weekly newspaper.
||Culberson County||Reeves County|
|Hudspeth County||Pecos County|
|Presidio County||Brewster County|