Bowie County, Texas

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Bowie County
The Bowie County Courthouse
The Bowie County Courthouse
Map of Texas highlighting Bowie County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 33°27′N 94°25′W / 33.45°N 94.42°W / 33.45; -94.42
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1840
Named forJames Bowie
SeatBoston (legal);
New Boston (courthouse)
Largest cityTexarkana
Area
 • Total923 sq mi (2,390 km2)
 • Land885 sq mi (2,290 km2)
 • Water38 sq mi (100 km2)  4.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total92,893
 • Density100/sq mi (39/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district4th
Websitewww.co.bowie.tx.us

Bowie County (/ˈbi/ BOO-ee[1]) is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. Its legal county seat is Boston, though its courthouse is located in New Boston.[2] As of the 2020 census, the population was 92,893.[3] Bowie County is part of the Texarkana metropolitan statistical area. The county is named for James Bowie, the legendary knife fighter who died at the Battle of the Alamo

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

The farming Caddoan Mississippian culture dates as early as the Late Archaic Period 1500 BCE in Bowie County.[4] The Hernando de Soto expedition of 1541 resulted in violent encounters. Spanish and French missionaries brought smallpox, measles malaria, and influenza epidemics.[5] Eventually, these issues and problems with the Osage, forced the Caddo to abandon their homelands. Settlers had peaceful relations with the 19th Century Shawnee, Delaware, and Kickapoo in the area.

Explorations and county established[edit]

French explorer Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe founded the military fort Le Poste des Cadodaquious in 1719.[6] The fort remained in continuous use until 1770. The Red River Expedition of 1806 which passed through Bowie County,[7] headed by Thomas Freeman and Dr. Peter Custis, was of great diplomatic and economic importance to President Thomas Jefferson. Bowie County, named for James Bowie, was established in December 1840 and reduced to its present size in 1846. DeKalb was the temporary county seat, with Boston becoming the permanent county seat in 1841.[8][9]

Bowie County, in the years leading up to the American Civil War, was settled mostly by Southerners who brought their slave labor to work the cotton fields. By 1860, slaves outnumbered whites 2,651 to 2,401. The county voted 208–15 in favor of secession from the Union.[10] While Bowie was never a battlefield in that war, it was occupied during Reconstruction. Between 1860 and 1870, the population declined. The occupation, and the new legal equality of blacks, became a hostile situation that fostered Cullen Baker.

Cullen Montgomery Baker (b. circa 1835 - d. 1869)[11] was a twice-widowed, mean-spirited drunk who killed his first man before he was 20. When Thomas Orr married Baker's late wife's sister, thereby denying Baker that opportunity, Baker attempted to hang Orr. Legends abound as to his activities in Bowie and Cass Counties, including a rumored tie to the Ku Klux Klan. His exploits turned him into a folk hero dubbed "The Swamp Fox of the Sulphur River".[12][13] He was a Confederate States Army veteran who joined two units, designated as a deserter from the first, and receiving a disability discharge from the second.[14] Reconstruction allowed him to focus his anger toward what many at the time believed was a Union intrusion into their lives. Baker and his gang conducted a vicious rampage against citizens he perceived as being on the wrong side of the black labor issue, at William G. Kirkman and the Freedman's Bureau in Bowie County, and at the soldiers of the Union occupation. Kirkman unsuccessfully pursued Baker, killing one of Baker's men in the second attempt. Like Swamp Fox Francis Marion, Baker always managed to elude capture, often with the help of local citizens. Kirkland was murdered by "person or persons unknown",[10] but Baker boasted of having done the deed. In December 1869, Thomas Orr and a group of neighbors killed Baker.[14] A local legend has it the deed was accomplished with strychnine-laced whiskey.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway was constructed through the county, a new town named Texarkana was founded.[15][16]

Bowie was hit hard by the Great Depression. Measurable relief came late when the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant was established in 1942. The base was active until 2009.[17] The Red River Army Depot,[18] opened in 1941, remains active. The two installations occupied almost 40,000 acres (160 km2) and provided job opportunities for thousands.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 923 square miles (2,390 km2), of which 885 square miles (2,290 km2) is land and 38 square miles (98 km2) (4.1%) is covered by water.[19]

Bowie County, Texas is one of only three counties in Texas to border two other U.S. states (the others being Dallam and Cass). Bowie County forms part of the tripoint of Texas-Oklahoma-Arkansas.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost town[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18502,912
18605,05273.5%
18704,684−7.3%
188010,965134.1%
189020,26784.8%
190026,67631.6%
191034,82730.6%
192039,47213.3%
193048,56323.0%
194050,2083.4%
195061,96623.4%
196059,971−3.2%
197067,81313.1%
198075,30111.0%
199081,6658.5%
200089,3069.4%
201092,5653.6%
202092,8930.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
1850–2010[21] 2010–2020[22]
Demographic Profile of Bowie County, Texas
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[23] Pop 2020[22] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 61,343 55,855 66.27% 60.13%
Black or African American alone (NH) 22,230 23,084 24.02% 24.85%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 572 554 0.62% 0.60%
Asian alone (NH) 721 1,082 0.78% 1.16%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 45 69 0.05% 0.07%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 88 332 0.10% 0.36%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,504 4,315 1.62% 4.65%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 6,062 7,602 6.55% 8.18%
Total 92,565 92,893 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

At of the census of 2000,[24] 89,306 people, 33,058 households, and 23,438 families resided in the county. The population density was 101 inhabitants per square mile (39/km2). The 36,463 housing units averaged 41 per square mile (16/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 73.26% White, 23.42% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. About 4.47% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. In 2020, its population increased to 92,893;[3] the racial and ethnic makeup of the county transitioned to 60.13% non-Hispanic white, 24.85% Black or African American, 0.60% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.16% Asian alone, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 0.36% some other race or ethnicity, 4.65% multiracial, and 8.18% Hispanic or Latino American of any race.[22]

Government and politics[edit]

Barry Telford Unit, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison for men, is in an unincorporated area of the county, near New Boston.[25] Federal Correctional Institution, Texarkana, is a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility in unincorporated Bowie County, near Texarkana, Texas.[26][27]

Bowie County is no longer one of the seven dry counties in the state of Texas. Both the city of Nash and the city of Texarkana (on November 6, 2013, and November 5, 2014, respectively)[28][29] have passed laws that allow the sale of beer and wine.

Politics[edit]

Bowie County had voting patterns similar to the Solid South up until 1976. The county has trended steadily towards the GOP with each election in the 21st century. The last Democrat to win this county was Bill Clinton of neighboring Arkansas, with which the county shares the Texarkana metropolitan area, in both of his national victories.

United States presidential election results for Bowie County, Texas[30]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 27,116 70.87% 10,747 28.09% 398 1.04%
2016 24,924 72.03% 8,838 25.54% 840 2.43%
2012 24,869 70.24% 10,196 28.80% 339 0.96%
2008 24,162 68.67% 10,815 30.74% 209 0.59%
2004 21,791 64.55% 11,880 35.19% 89 0.26%
2000 18,325 60.44% 11,662 38.46% 333 1.10%
1996 12,750 43.56% 13,657 46.66% 2,863 9.78%
1992 11,776 38.78% 11,825 38.94% 6,764 22.28%
1988 15,454 55.31% 12,331 44.13% 156 0.56%
1984 18,244 64.22% 10,077 35.47% 88 0.31%
1980 13,942 54.35% 11,339 44.21% 369 1.44%
1976 9,590 43.17% 12,445 56.02% 179 0.81%
1972 14,722 73.55% 5,227 26.12% 66 0.33%
1968 5,966 30.44% 6,468 33.00% 7,165 36.56%
1964 7,018 40.31% 10,368 59.55% 24 0.14%
1960 5,927 39.01% 9,198 60.54% 68 0.45%
1956 6,823 46.73% 7,675 52.56% 104 0.71%
1952 6,501 38.34% 10,437 61.56% 16 0.09%
1948 1,161 11.22% 7,028 67.95% 2,154 20.83%
1944 790 8.87% 7,045 79.14% 1,067 11.99%
1940 1,107 13.75% 6,937 86.18% 5 0.06%
1936 472 8.55% 5,030 91.11% 19 0.34%
1932 541 9.28% 5,269 90.39% 19 0.33%
1928 2,225 42.57% 3,002 57.43% 0 0.00%
1924 740 16.58% 3,455 77.40% 269 6.03%
1920 1,032 26.80% 2,396 62.22% 423 10.98%
1916 414 15.72% 1,941 73.69% 279 10.59%
1912 317 15.15% 1,542 73.71% 233 11.14%


Education[edit]

These school districts serve Bowie County:

Transportation[edit]

Major highways present in Bowie County include the following:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How to Pronounce: B Cities". texastripper.com. September 23, 2014. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Bowie County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "Caddo Timeline". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved May 14, 2010. UT Texas at Austin
  5. ^ "Caddo". Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on July 19, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Oklahoma Historical Society
  6. ^ Britton, Morris L: Le Poste des Cadodaquious from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  7. ^ Flores, Dan L.: Red River Expedition from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  8. ^ "DeKalb, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  9. ^ "Boston, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  10. ^ a b Harper Jr., Cecil: Bowie County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  11. ^ Anderson, Dale; Yadon, Laurence (2009). Ten Deadly Texans. Pelican Publishing. pp. 29–51. ISBN 978-1-58980-599-6.
  12. ^ Sulphur River, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  13. ^ Crouch, Barry A; Brice, Donaly E (1997). Cullen Montgomery Baker, Reconstruction Desperado. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-2140-5.
  14. ^ a b Crouch, Barry A: Cullen Montgomery Baker from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  15. ^ "Texas and Pacific Railway". Texas and Pacific Railway. Retrieved May 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "Texarkana, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 14, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  17. ^ Montgomery, Rebecca J. "Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant Deactivates". United States Army. Retrieved May 14, 2010. =United States Army
  18. ^ "Defense Distribution Depot Red RiverRed River Army Depot (RRAD)". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved May 14, 2010. GlobalSecurity.org
  19. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  21. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  22. ^ a b c "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Bowie County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  23. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Bowie County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  25. ^ "Telford TO", Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Accessed January 8, 2014
  26. ^ "FCI Texarkana Contact Information". Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved June 2, 2010.
  27. ^ "Ward Map". City of Texarkana, Texas. Archived from the original on January 27, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ Walsh, Field (November 5, 2014). "Texarkana, Texas Voters Approve Beer and Wine Sales - Texarkana Today". txktoday.com.
  30. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°27′N 94°25′W / 33.45°N 94.42°W / 33.45; -94.42