Erath County, Texas

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Erath County
Erath County Courthouse in Stephenville, TX Picture 2229.jpg
Erath County Courthouse in Stephenville, Texas.
Map of Texas highlighting Erath County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 32°14′N 98°13′W / 32.23°N 98.22°W / 32.23; -98.22
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1856
Named forGeorge Bernard Erath
SeatStephenville
Largest cityStephenville
Area
 • Total1,090 sq mi (2,800 km2)
 • Land1,083 sq mi (2,800 km2)
 • Water6.7 sq mi (17 km2)  0.6%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total42,545
 • Density39/sq mi (15/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts11th, 25th
Websitewww.co.erath.tx.us

Erath County (/ˈræθ/) is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. According to the United States Census bureau its population was 42,545 in 2020.[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 the location of two of North America's largest renewable natural gas plants. The largest is at Huckabay Ridge, near Stephenville. The second largest is located outside Dublin at Rio Leche Estates.

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

Caddo tribe Anadarko villages were scattered along the Trinity and Brazos Rivers.[3] French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe developed camaraderie among the Anadarko in 1719 when he established Fort Saint Louis de los Cadodaquious.[4] The Anadarko became entangled with the French battles with the Spanish and later the Anglos and suffered the consequences, including diseases from 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.[5]

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.[6] In 1856, John M. Stephen offered to donate land for a townsite. It was named Stephenville after him and became the county seat.[7]

Jones Barbee founded the community of Dublin in 1854.[8] His children were the first citizens to be buried in Erath County in the community of Edna Hill, which is located in Southern Erath. Barbee Cemetery is named after him. Jones traveled with his wife and children across the country coming from North Carolina. He is the grandson of Christopher "Old Kit" Barbee who was the largest wealthiest landowner in North Carolina. He was the largest land donor for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[9] Barbee served as board president; a bronze statue of him is in the University. Jones had many children who went on to populate the county with names still enduring today such as Barbee, White, Durham, and Brambeletts. Some of his great grandchildren still reside in the community. His great-great-great granddaughter, Carolina, lives on his land today in Edna Hill and is the 6th generation to continually live on his old homestead. Her children are the 7th generation to do so. The families of other early settlers still endure there today. Dublin later became famous as the early boyhood home of the PGA, U.S. Open and Masters golf champion Ben Hogan.[10]

In 1855, thirty pioneers settled in the county led by surveyors George Erath (1813–1891) and Neil McLennan. The group included brothers William F. and John M. Stephen and a black family whose name and destiny is unknown.[11]

Erath, an immigrant from Vienna, Austria, 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, from 1852 to 1855 – which changed its name to Waco #92 in 1857 and remains the oldest continuous organization in Waco, Texas.[13]

Cotton became the major crop between 1875 and 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 railroad 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.[6]

The community of Thurber was created by the Johnson Coal Company.[14] 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 Thurber. The United Mine Workers in 1903 sent 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]

Tarleton State University was founded in 1893 as Stephenville College but was renamed in 1899 after the local rancher John Tarleton rescued the institution from financial difficulties.[16]

On November 4, 2008, Erath County voters elected to allow the sale of beer and wine in the county for off-premises consumption.

Courthouse[edit]

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. The 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.[17] 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.[18]

Geography[edit]

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.[19]

Major highways[edit]

State Highway 108 as S Graham Avenue in Stephenville

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18602,425
18701,801−25.7%
188011,796555.0%
189021,58483.0%
190029,96638.8%
191032,0957.1%
192028,385−11.6%
193020,804−26.7%
194020,760−0.2%
195018,434−11.2%
196016,236−11.9%
197018,14111.7%
198022,56024.4%
199027,99124.1%
200033,00117.9%
201037,89014.8%
202042,54512.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
1850–2010[21] 2010[22] 2020[23]

2020 census[edit]

Erath County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[22] Pop 2020[23] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 29,382 30,006 77.55% 70.53%
Black or African American alone (NH) 431 1,194 1.14% 2.81%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 170 215 0.45% 0.51%
Asian alone (NH) 240 348 0.63% 0.82%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 12 13 0.03% 0.03%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 18 104 0.05% 0.24%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 358 1,411 0.94% 3.32%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 7,279 9,254 19.21% 21.75%
Total 37,890 42,545 100.00% 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.

2010 Census[edit]

At the 2010 census,[24] there were 37,890 people, 14,569 households and 9,003 families residing in the county. The racial makeup of the county was 85.6% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0003% Pacific Islander, 10% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. 19.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,569 households, of which 29.59% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.03% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present and 38.2% were non-families. 27% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06.

22.29% of the population were under the age of 18, 19.40% from 18 to 24, 23.10% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.5 years. For every 100 females there were 96.50 males.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost town[edit]

Politics[edit]

Erath County is heavily Republican. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the county in the presidential election, taking over 80% of the vote. The last Democrat to win the county was Jimmy Carter in 1980.[25]

United States presidential election results for Erath County, Texas[25]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 13,684 81.18% 2,916 17.30% 256 1.52%
2016 11,210 80.69% 2,160 15.55% 523 3.76%
2012 10,329 82.81% 1,965 15.75% 179 1.44%
2008 10,768 76.81% 3,128 22.31% 123 0.88%
2004 9,506 77.40% 2,710 22.07% 65 0.53%
2000 8,126 73.11% 2,804 25.23% 185 1.66%
1996 4,750 49.49% 3,664 38.17% 1,184 12.34%
1992 3,835 36.77% 3,531 33.85% 3,065 29.38%
1988 5,427 56.71% 4,113 42.98% 30 0.31%
1984 6,122 65.16% 3,234 34.42% 39 0.42%
1980 3,981 47.93% 4,156 50.04% 169 2.03%
1976 2,925 37.55% 4,821 61.89% 44 0.56%
1972 4,777 74.26% 1,648 25.62% 8 0.12%
1968 2,209 36.46% 2,915 48.11% 935 15.43%
1964 1,642 29.87% 3,851 70.04% 5 0.09%
1960 2,696 51.69% 2,490 47.74% 30 0.58%
1956 2,775 53.66% 2,377 45.97% 19 0.37%
1952 3,249 54.93% 2,664 45.04% 2 0.03%
1948 598 14.94% 3,172 79.26% 232 5.80%
1944 411 9.85% 3,330 79.84% 430 10.31%
1940 646 15.67% 3,459 83.90% 18 0.44%
1936 290 9.68% 2,694 89.95% 11 0.37%
1932 284 7.83% 3,319 91.46% 26 0.72%
1928 1,923 56.94% 1,372 40.63% 82 2.43%
1924 406 10.27% 3,396 85.89% 152 3.84%
1920 358 13.05% 1,914 69.78% 471 17.17%
1916 184 7.32% 2,024 80.57% 304 12.10%
1912 156 8.19% 1,569 82.36% 180 9.45%


Media[edit]

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 89.5, KTRL 90.5, KSTV-FM 93.1, KXTR-LP 100.7 and KSTV (AM) 1510. KTRL and KXTR-LP are operated by Tarleton State University.

In popular culture[edit]

Several scenes in the Paul Greengrass Western movie News of the World starring Tom Hanks take place in a fictionalized Erath County shortly after the end of the Civil War.[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Erath County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 23, 2021.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Anadarko Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
    - "Caddo Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Texas Indian Lands". R E. Moore and Texarch Associates. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Young, Dan M (June 12, 2010). "Erath County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  7. ^ "Stephenville, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  8. ^ "Dublin, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  9. ^ "Early Land Donations · Carolina's Early Benefactors · Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History".
  10. ^ "Beh Hogan bio". World Golf Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  11. ^ Longwell, Evelyn Clark (June 15, 2010). "Neil McLennan". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  12. ^ "Officers and Enlisted Men Battle of San Jacinto 21st April 1836". Sons of Dewitt Colony Texas. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "George B. Erath - Texas Mason Honored in Stephenville". The Grand Lodge of Texas Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  14. ^ "Thurber, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Italian Presence in the Coal Camp of Thurber, Texas". Thurber, Texas. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
    - 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.
  16. ^ 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.
    - Peterson's (2008). Colleges in the South: Compare Colleges in Your Region. Peterson's. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-7689-2695-8.
  17. ^ Lurie, Maxine N; Mappen, Marc; Siegel, Michael (2004). Encyclopedia of New Jersey. Rutgers University Press. p. 324. ISBN 978-0-8135-3325-4.
  18. ^ Herda, Ed.D., Lou Ann. "Erath County Courthouse". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  19. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  21. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Erath County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  23. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Erath County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  24. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  25. ^ a b Leip, Dave. "United States Presidential Election Results". Atlas of US Presidential Elections.
  26. ^ Tallerico, Brian. "News of the World movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved April 13, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]

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