Duval County, Texas

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Duval County, Texas
Duval courthouse.jpg
The Duval County Courthouse in San Diego
Map of Texas highlighting Duval County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1876
Named for Burr H. Duval
Seat San Diego
Largest city San Diego
 • Total 1,796 sq mi (4,652 km2)
 • Land 1,793 sq mi (4,644 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5 km2), 0.1%
 • (2010) 11,782
 • Density 6.6/sq mi (3/km²)
Congressional district 15th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.duval-county.net

Duval County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 11,782.[1] The county seat is San Diego.[2] The county was founded in 1858 and later organized in 1876.[3] It is named for Burr H. Duval, a soldier in the Texas Revolution who died in the Goliad Massacre.


Even though Duval County lies in the United States, it has long been Mexican in character. A Mexican first surveyed it in 1804, Jose Contrerras, surveyor general of San Luis Potosi. Luis Muniz was born there in 1828, the county's first recorded birth. The important colonists came from Mier, Tamaulipas - and Anglos later respected their descendants as the old Mexican families.

The Texas Legislature established Duval County February 1, 1858. The Texas Almanac of 1867 reported that Duval and nearby Dimmit County had only four stock raisers and their population was unlikely to grow much absent the discovery of mineral wealth. Not long after, a wave of Anglo immigrants entered the county to raise sheep. Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans, Irishmen, and Scots came. During this boom, the county seat enjoyed formal balls and haute cuisine. The Hotel Martinet's Sunday feast drew patrons from Corpus Christi, 50 miles (80 km) to the East. The death rate rivaled Tombstone, Arizona's. Some died under the code duello but more by foul play; the victims were usually Mexican. A vigilante group from Duval and McMullen County found a great pile of cowhides (presumably from stolen animals) near the county line; they lynched 15 Mexicans there. Prosperity in the 1880s eased ethnic animosities. After the Texas-Mexican Railway was built in 1881, its San Diego station was important for hides, wool, and cotton. But in 1886 the sheep began to die, and the boom died.[4]

The corrupt Parr family political machine dominated Duval and nearby Jim Wells counties during the twentieth century, and were instrumental in the 1948 election of Lyndon Johnson to the US Senate, and to some extent the 1960 presidential election which threw Texas to John F Kennedy.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,796 square miles (4,650 km2), of which 1,793 square miles (4,640 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (0.1%) is water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,083
1880 5,732 429.3%
1890 7,598 32.6%
1900 8,483 11.6%
1910 8,964 5.7%
1920 8,251 −8.0%
1930 12,191 47.8%
1940 20,565 68.7%
1950 15,643 −23.9%
1960 13,398 −14.4%
1970 11,722 −12.5%
1980 12,517 6.8%
1990 12,918 3.2%
2000 13,120 1.6%
2010 11,782 −10.2%
Est. 2015 11,388 [6] −3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1850–2010[8] 2010–2014[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,782 people residing in the county. 87.0% were White, 0.9% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 9.8% of some other race and 1.7% of two or more races. 88.5% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 13,120 people, 4,350 households, and 3,266 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile (3/km²). There were 5,543 housing units at an average density of 3 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.22% White, 0.54% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 15.46% from other races, and 3.11% from two or more races. 87.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,350 households out of which 36.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.20% were married couples living together, 16.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.90% were non-families. 22.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.40.

In the county, the population was spread out with 29.50% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 20.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $22,416, and the median income for a family was $26,014. Males had a median income of $25,601 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,324. About 23.00% of families and 27.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.90% of those under age 18 and 25.30% of those age 65 or over.


Like much of heavily Hispanic South Texas, Duval County is a Democratic stronghold. The last Republican to carry the county was Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.[10] In the 1972 presidential election George McGovern received over 85% of the county's vote, which was the highest percentage of votes he received in any county nationally.[11] In the 2004 presidential election, it went solidly for Democrat John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, while George W. Bush carried the state as a whole by a wide margin. In the 2008 presidential election Barack Obama received 74.8% of the county's vote. In all the Democratic candidate has consistently received more than 70% of the county's vote since, at least, 1992.[12]

After the initial election returns in the 1948 Democrat runoff primary election for U.S. Senate, Duval County added 425 votes for Lyndon B. Johnson over Coke R. Stevenson. (George Parr simultaneously arranged the more famous electoral fraud for Johnson in Alice, Texas.)[13]

Duval County is notorious for corrupt politics, particularly during the early and mid-20th century, when it was largely controlled by the political machine of Texas State Senator Archie Parr and his son George Parr, each in his turn called El Patrón or the "Duke of Duval".[14] Givens Parr had been county judge before his younger brother George. George was later elected sheriff. Archer Parr III, George's nephew and adopted brother, later held both those offices.[15] The historian J. Evetts Haley ran for governor in 1956 with a threat that if elected he would "lock up" Parr. He finished a distant fourth in the primary balloting. Meanwhile, then Texas Attorney General John Ben Shepperd brought some three hundred state indictments against county and school officials.



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost Towns[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2015. 
  4. ^ Lynch, pp 8-10.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  10. ^ "Presidential election of 1904 - Map by counties". géographie électorale. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  11. ^ "1972 Presidential Election Statistics". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  12. ^ "President Map - Election Results 2008". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-02. 
  13. ^ Givens, Murphy (September 7, 2011). "George Parr inherited his father's political dynasty". Corpus Christi Caller Times. Retrieved 2013-04-13. Stevenson also challenged the results in Duval County, where the vote totals also changed dramatically after the election. On election night in Duval County, the county chairman reported Johnson with 4,187 votes, Stevenson with 38. Six days later, the official canvass increased that to 4,622 votes for Johnson, 40 for Stevenson. Johnson gained 425 votes and Stevenson 2. 
  14. ^ Givens, Murphy (August 31, 2011). "Cowboy from Matagorda founded political dynasty". Corpus Christi Caller Times. Retrieved 2013-04-13. 
  15. ^ Lynch, Dudley M. (January 1, 1976). The Duke of Duval: The Life and Times of George B. Parr. Waco: Texian Press. pp. 31, 34, 90, 127. ISBN 0-87244-044-3. LCCN 76-54438. Retrieved 2013-09-09. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°41′N 98°31′W / 27.68°N 98.52°W / 27.68; -98.52