Erath County, Texas

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Not to be confused with Earth, Texas.
Erath County, Texas
The Erath County Courthouse in Stephenville
Map of Texas highlighting Erath County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1856
Seat Stephenville
Largest city Stephenville
 • Total 1,090 sq mi (2,823 km2)
 • Land 1,083 sq mi (2,805 km2)
 • Water 6.7 sq mi (17 km2), 0.6%
 • (2010) 37,890
 • Density 35/sq mi (14/km²)
Congressional districts 11th, 25th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Erath County (/ˈ.ræθ/ EE-rath) is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 37,890.[1] The county seat is Stephenville.[2] The county is named for George Bernard Erath, an early surveyor and a soldier at the Battle of San Jacinto.

Erath County is included in the Stephenville, Texas, Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Erath County is also home to two of North America's largest renewable natural gas plants. The largest is located at Huckabay Ridge, near Stephenville. The second largest is located outside of Dublin at Rio Leche Estates. On November 4, 2008, Erath County voters elected to allow the sale of beer and wine in the county for off-premises consumption.


Native Americans[edit]

Caddo tribe Anadarko villages were scattered along Trinity and Brazos Rivers.[3][4] French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe developed camaraderie among the Anadarko in 1719 when he established Fort Saint Louis de los Cadodaquious.[5] The Anadarko became entangled with the French battles with the Spanish and later the Anglos and suffered the consequences, including diseases for which they had no immunity. By 1860, these tribes moved to Oklahoma. Erath County falls into Comancheria and found itself raided by Comanches until their removal to Oklahoma after 1875.[6]

County established and growth[edit]

Erath County was formed from Bosque and Coryell counties in 1856 and named for George Bernard Erath, one of the original surveyors of the area.[7] In 1856 John M. Stephen offered to donate land for a townsite which was named Stephenville after him and became the county seat.[8]

A. H. Dobkins founded the community of Dublin in 1854.[9] Other early settlers in Dublin were Will and Tom Holland. Dublin later became famous as the early boyhood home of PGA, U.S. Open and Masters golf champion Ben Hogan.[10]

In 1855, thirty pioneers settled in the county, led by surveyors George Erath and Neil McLennan. Included in the group were brothers William F. and John M. Stephen, and a black family whose name and destiny seems to have been lost to history.[11]

Viennese immigrant Erath (1813–1891) was a Texas Ranger and member of Billingsley’s Company C, 1st Regiment of Texas Volunteers, under the command of Col. Charles Burleson at the Battle of San Jacinto, and a member of the Confederate Home Guard.[12] As a Freemason, he was a charter member and secretary of Bosque Lodge #92, 1852 through 1855.[13]

Cotton became the major crop 1875-1915, with the largest crop being in 1906. The industry was helped in 1879 when the Texas Central Railroad reached Dublin, and in 1889 when the Fort Worth and Rio Grande was completed through Stephenville. This opened eastern markets for the county's cotton crops. By 1910, soil erosion and the boll weevil caused diversity planning that led to dairy farms, fruit orchards, nurseries, peanuts, feed crops, and poultry.[7]

The community of Thurber was created by the Johnson Coal Company.[14] During the period from 1888 to 1921 the Texas Pacific Coal Company mined coal near Thurber, making it a leading coal producer in the state. Fifty-two percent of the miners were of Italian ancestry, creating the “Italian Hill” community just outside of Thurber. The United Mine Workers in 1903 send Joe Fenoglio to organize the Italian workers, thus beginning the Thurber Coal Miners Strike. In the 1970s, the area began bituminous coal production for fuel in the cement industry.[15][16]

Tarleton State University was founded in 1893 as Stephenville College but was renamed in 1899 after local rancher John Tarleton rescued the institution from financial difficulties.[17][18]


Erath’s original 1866 wooden courthouse burned to the ground, destroying county documents along with it. A second stone courthouse was built in 1877 but eventually razed. The cornerstone for the current courthouse was laid in 1891. Architects James Riely Gordon and D. E. Laub designed the present three-story showcase Victorian structure. In addition to Erath, Gordon designed the Arizona State Capitol, and courthouses in Aransas, Bexar, Brazoria, Comal, Ellis, Fayette, Gonzales, Harrison, Hopkins, Lee, McLennan, Victoria and Wise counties.[19] The building was completed in 1893, with limestone from the Leon River and red sandstone from Pecos County. The building’s centralized 95-foot tower has a bell tower and creates a chandeliered atrium from the first floor to the third. The interior is east Texas pine, with cast and wrought-iron stairways, and tessellated imported marble floors. It was renovated in 1988.[20]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,090 square miles (2,800 km2), of which 1,083 square miles (2,800 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (0.6%) is water.[21]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,425
1870 1,801 −25.7%
1880 11,796 555.0%
1890 21,584 83.0%
1900 29,966 38.8%
1910 32,095 7.1%
1920 28,385 −11.6%
1930 20,804 −26.7%
1940 20,760 −0.2%
1950 18,434 −11.2%
1960 16,236 −11.9%
1970 18,141 11.7%
1980 22,560 24.4%
1990 27,991 24.1%
2000 33,001 17.9%
2010 37,890 14.8%
Est. 2014 40,147 [22] 6.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
1850–2010[24] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[25] of 2000, there were 33,001 people, 12,568 households, and 8,106 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (12/km²). There were 14,422 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.72% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 0.66% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 6.78% from other races, and 1.63% from two or more races. 15.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,568 households out of which 31.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.70% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.50% were non-families. 27.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% 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 3.08.

A Williams Institute analysis of 2010 census data found there were about 2.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county.[26]

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 17.00% from 18 to 24, 25.90% from 25 to 44, 19.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 97.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,708, and the median income for a family was $39,491. Males had a median income of $27,972 versus $20,765 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,655. About 10.30% of families and 16.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.70% of those under age 18 and 7.80% of those age 65 or over.


Two newspapers have offices located in Erath County: The Stephenville Empire-Tribune and The Dublin Citizen. Local television stations that provide coverage for Erath County and surrounding areas come from the Dallas/Fort Worth and Waco/Temple/Killeen metropolitan areas.

Five radio stations have their main studios and offices in Erath County: KEQX 89.7, KTRL 90.5, KSTV-FM 93.1, KXTR-LP 100.7 and KSTV (AM) 1510. Two of these (KTRL and KXTR-LP) are operated by Tarleton State University.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Anadarko Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Caddo Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  5. ^ Weddle, Robert S (1991). "Cannibal Coast". The French Thorn: Rival Explorers in the Spanish Sea, 1682-1762. TAMU Press. pp. 208–228. ISBN 978-0-89096-480-4. 
  6. ^ "Texas Indian Lands". R E. Moore and Texarch Associates. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Young, Dan M. "Erath County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Stephenville, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Dublin, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Beh Hogan bio". World Golf Hall of Fame. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  11. ^ Longwell, Evelyn Clark. "Neil McLennan". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  12. ^ "Officers and Enlisted Men Battle of San Jacinto 21st April 1836". Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "George B. Erath - Texas Mason Honored in Stephenville". The Grand Lodge of Texas Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "Thurber, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Italian Presence in the Coal Camp of Thurber, Texas". Thurber, Texas. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Taylor, Wilma Rugh (2005). "Finding Surprises in East Texas". Gospel Tracks through Texas: The Mission of Chapel Car Good Will. TAMU Press. pp. 47–56. ISBN 978-1-58544-434-2. 
  17. ^ Dethloff, Henry C (1996). Texas A&M University: A Pictorial History, 1876-1996, Second Edition. TAMU Press. pp. 62–64. ISBN 978-0-89096-704-1. 
  18. ^ Peterson's (2008). Colleges in the South: Compare Colleges in Your Region. Peterson's. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-7689-2695-8. 
  19. ^ Lurie, Maxine N; Mappen, Marc; Siegel, Michael (2004). Encyclopedia of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-8135-3325-4. 
  20. ^ Herda, Ed.D., Lou Ann. "Erath County Courthouse". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  21. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  23. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 26, 2015. 
  25. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  26. ^ Where Same-Sex Couples Live, June 26, 2015, retrieved July 6, 2015 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°14′N 98°13′W / 32.23°N 98.22°W / 32.23; -98.22