Falls County, Texas

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Falls County
The Falls County Courthouse in Marlin. The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 2000.
The Falls County Courthouse in Marlin. The courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 2000.
Flag of Falls County
Map of Texas highlighting Falls County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 31°16′N 96°56′W / 31.26°N 96.93°W / 31.26; -96.93
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1850
Named forFalls on the Brazos Park
SeatMarlin
Largest cityMarlin
Area
 • Total774 sq mi (2,000 km2)
 • Land765 sq mi (1,980 km2)
 • Water8.4 sq mi (22 km2)  1.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total16,968
 • Density22/sq mi (8.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district17th
Websitewww.co.falls.tx.us

Falls County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 16,968.[1] The county seat is Marlin.[2] It is named for the original 10-foot-tall waterfall on the Brazos River, which existed until the river changed course during a storm in 1866. The present falls is two miles northeast of the original falls, at the Falls on the Brazos Park, a camping site only a few miles out of Marlin on Farm to Market Road 712.

Falls County is part of the Waco, Texas, metropolitan statistical area.

With a large portion of its economy based on agriculture,[3] Falls County is sixth among 254 Texas counties in corn production.[4]

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

The Brazos River valley served as hunting grounds for several tribes, including Wacos, Tawakonis, and Anadarkos. The Comanches were often a more aggressive band who forced other tribes off the land. The Tawakoni[5] branch of Wichita Indians originated north of Texas, but migrated south into East Texas. From 1843 onward, the Tawakoni were part of treaties made by both the Republic of Texas and the United States.

The Cherokees arrived in the early 1830s. Sam Houston, adopted son of Chief Oolooteka (John Jolly) of the Cherokee, negotiated the February 1836 treaty between Chief Bowl[6] of the Cherokees and the Republic of Texas.[6][7][8]

January 1839, Falls County had two brutal massacres by the Anadarkos, under chief José María,[9] at the homes of George Morgan and John Marlin.[10] A retaliatory offensive by settlers was ineffective, and forced the group into a retreat.

In 1846, several tribes negotiated a treaty[11][12] with the United States government.

Settlers[edit]

Empresarios Sterling C. Robertson and Robert Leftwich received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 800 families.[13] By contracting how many families each grantee could settle, the government sought to have some control over colonization. Robertson began bringing American settlers to his Nashville colony (later called Robertson's Colony).[14] Most of the settlers came from Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He named the capital of the Nashville colony Sarahville de Viesca.[15] Fort Viesca was built in 1834, with a name change to Fort Milam in 1835.[16] The settlement was deserted during the Runaway Scrape[17] of 1836, and reoccupied after the Battle of San Jacinto.[18]

County established and growth[edit]

The state legislature formed Falls County from Limestone and Milam Counties in 1850, and named it after the falls of the Brazos River.[19][20] Marlin became the county seat.

By the census of 1860[21] the county had 1,716 slaves. Falls County voted in favor of secession from the Union. The county fared better during Reconstruction than most, perhaps due to its distance from areas subject to Union military occupation.

Marlin[22] began to be known by the healing powers of its hot mineral waters by the 1890s.[23] Conrad Hilton built the Falls Hotel, with a tunnel to a mineral bath, to accommodate the business generated by the hot spring.

The Houston and Texas Central Railway[24] became the first railroad through the county around 1870. The Waco Division of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway,[25] in 1886–1925, had multiple stops in Falls County. In 1902, the Missouri Pacific Railroad[26] passed through the county.

A log cabin served as the county's first courthouse in the 1850s,[27] until the second courthouse was built of white cedar. The second courthouse burned in 1870. A third courthouse was built in 1876, but was damaged by a storm in 1886.

A fourth courthouse was built in 1888, which by the 1930s had greatly deteriorated. The concrete, brick, and stone fifth and present-day courthouse, designed by architect Arthur E. Thomas,[28] was completed in 1939.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 774 sq mi (2,000 km2), of which 765 sq mi (1,980 km2) are land and 8.4 square miles (22 km2) (1.1%) are covered by water.[29]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18603,614
18709,851172.6%
188016,24064.9%
189020,70627.5%
190033,34261.0%
191035,6496.9%
192036,2171.6%
193038,7717.1%
194035,984−7.2%
195026,724−25.7%
196021,263−20.4%
197017,300−18.6%
198017,9463.7%
199017,712−1.3%
200018,5764.9%
201017,866−3.8%
202016,968−5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[30]
1850–2010[31] 2010[32] 2020[33]

2020 census[edit]

Falls County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[32] Pop 2020[33] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 9,381 8,707 52.51% 51.31%
Black or African American alone (NH) 4,463 3,708 24.98% 21.85%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 60 55 0.34% 0.32%
Asian alone (NH) 46 51 0.26% 0.30%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 10 8 0.06% 0.05%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 24 42 0.13% 0.25%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 166 432 0.93% 2.55%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 3,716 3,965 20.80% 23.37%
Total 17,866 16,968 100.00% 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.

2000 Census[edit]

As of the census[34] of 2000, 18,576 people, 6,496 households, and 4,410 families resided in the county. The population density was 24 people per square mile (9/km2). The 7,658 housing units averaged 10 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 61.50% White, 27.45% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 8.81% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. About 15.83% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 6,496 households, 30.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.20% were married couples living together, 15.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.10% were not families. About 29.40% of all households was made up of individuals, and 15.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was distributed as 27.60% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 27.00% from 25 to 44, 20.80% from 45 to 64, and 16.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,589, and for a family was $32,666. Males had a median income of $27,042 versus $20,128 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,311. About 18.80% of families and 22.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.70% of those under age 18 and 18.40% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Marlin Unit, a transfer facility for men, in the city of Marlin. The unit opened in June 1992 and was transferred to the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) in May 1995.[35] When it was a part of TYC, the facility, then called the Marlin Orientation and Assessment Unit,[36] served as the place of orientation for minors of both sexes being committed into the TYC's care, from the facility's opening in 1995 to its transfer out of TYC in 2007.[37]

In September 2007, the facility was transferred back to the TDCJ.[35] The TDCJ also operates the William P. Hobby Unit, a prison for women located southwest of Marlin in unincorporated Falls County.[38]

Politics[edit]

United States presidential election results for Falls County, Texas[39]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 4,177 68.11% 1,899 30.96% 57 0.93%
2016 3,441 65.57% 1,684 32.09% 123 2.34%
2012 3,356 61.76% 2,033 37.41% 45 0.83%
2008 3,328 59.44% 2,225 39.74% 46 0.82%
2004 3,454 58.52% 2,427 41.12% 21 0.36%
2000 3,239 56.68% 2,417 42.29% 59 1.03%
1996 2,260 37.59% 3,256 54.16% 496 8.25%
1992 1,826 31.63% 2,761 47.83% 1,186 20.54%
1988 2,344 44.76% 2,877 54.94% 16 0.31%
1984 3,133 52.34% 2,834 47.34% 19 0.32%
1980 2,606 43.38% 3,328 55.40% 73 1.22%
1976 2,261 34.43% 4,277 65.13% 29 0.44%
1972 3,017 62.12% 1,825 37.57% 15 0.31%
1968 1,345 23.60% 2,990 52.47% 1,364 23.93%
1964 1,216 23.61% 3,933 76.35% 2 0.04%
1960 1,559 31.40% 3,399 68.46% 7 0.14%
1956 1,819 40.36% 2,674 59.33% 14 0.31%
1952 1,962 37.32% 3,287 62.53% 8 0.15%
1948 546 12.94% 3,385 80.25% 287 6.80%
1944 377 8.94% 3,191 75.63% 651 15.43%
1940 958 19.52% 3,949 80.46% 1 0.02%
1936 140 3.94% 3,411 95.92% 5 0.14%
1932 181 4.43% 3,896 95.40% 7 0.17%
1928 877 26.04% 2,484 73.75% 7 0.21%
1924 448 12.96% 2,817 81.51% 191 5.53%
1920 585 15.07% 1,878 48.36% 1,420 36.57%
1916 729 24.18% 2,037 67.56% 249 8.26%
1912 353 15.97% 1,663 75.25% 194 8.78%


Communities[edit]

Cities and towns[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Marlin has been a filming location for two movies: Leadbelly (1976) and Infamous (2006).

In 2013, a ranch in northeast Falls County near Mart, Texas, was the site of the series premiere of Treehouse Masters, in which a couple had a $200,000 treehouse built on their property.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Falls 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. ^ "Falls County - Texas Almanac". www.texasalmanac.com. May 22, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Texas Farm Facts
  5. ^ Krieger, Margery H: Tawakoni Indians from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 02 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  6. ^ a b "Houston, Sam". The Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.T he Sam Houston Memorial Museum
  7. ^ "The Texas Cherokee". R. Edward Moore and Texarch Associates. Retrieved May 3, 2010. R. Edward Moore and Texarch Associates
  8. ^ "Houston, Sam". PBS. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  9. ^ Hosmer, Brian C: José María from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  10. ^ Wilbarger, J.W. "Morgan's Massacre". Fort Tours. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  11. ^ "U.S. Treaty with the Comanche, Aionai, Andarko, Caddo, etc. 1846". Oklahoma State University. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010. publisher=Oklahoma State University
  12. ^ "May 15, 1846 U.S. Treaty with the Comanche, Aionai, Andarko, Caddo, etc". First People of America. Retrieved May 3, 2010. publisher=First People of America
  13. ^ "Empresario Contracts in the Colonization of Texas 1825-1834". Texas A & M University. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010. Wallace L. McKeehan
  14. ^ McLean, Malcolm D: Robertson's Colony from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  15. ^ McLean, Malcolm D: Sarahville de Viesca from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  16. ^ Cutrer, Thomas W: Fort Milam from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  17. ^ Covington, Carolyn Callaway: Runaway Scrape from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  18. ^ "Battle of San Jacinto". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved May 3, 2010. Texas State Library and Archives Commission
  19. ^ "Falls of the Brazos River". Texas Historical Markers. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  20. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 123.
  21. ^ "1860 Census Falls County". Falls County Genealogy. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  22. ^ "Marlin, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 3, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  23. ^ "Marlin, Texas History". Marlin, Texas. Archived from the original on April 3, 2009. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  24. ^ Werner, George C: Houston Texas and Central Railway from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 03 May 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  25. ^ "San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway". Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  26. ^ "Missouri Pacific Railroad". Missouri Pacific Historical Society, Inc. Archived from the original on April 9, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2010. Missouri Pacific Historical Society, Inc
  27. ^ "Falls County Courthouse". Texas Historical Markers. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2010.
  28. ^ "Falls County Courthouse". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved May 3, 2010. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  29. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  30. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  31. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 26, 2015.
  32. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Falls County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  33. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Falls County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  34. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  35. ^ a b "Marlin Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  36. ^ "Facility Address List." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  37. ^ "How Offenders Move Through TYC." Texas Youth Commission. November 10, 2001. Retrieved on June 24, 2010.
  38. ^ "Hobby Unit Archived 2010-07-25 at the Wayback Machine." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Retrieved on September 22, 2010.
  39. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  40. ^ choover@wacotrib.com, CARL HOOVER. "Couple's 'Texas-sized' treehouse near Mart opens new television series". wacotrib.com. Retrieved April 9, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°16′N 96°56′W / 31.26°N 96.93°W / 31.26; -96.93