Jefferson, Texas

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Jefferson, Texas
The Old Post Office in Jefferson
The Old Post Office in Jefferson
Marion County Jefferson.svg
Coordinates: 32°45′40″N 94°20′58″W / 32.76111°N 94.34944°W / 32.76111; -94.34944Coordinates: 32°45′40″N 94°20′58″W / 32.76111°N 94.34944°W / 32.76111; -94.34944
CountryUnited States
StateTexas
CountyMarion
Founded1841
Named forThomas Jefferson
Area
 • Total4.48 sq mi (11.59 km2)
 • Land4.45 sq mi (11.52 km2)
 • Water0.03 sq mi (0.07 km2)
Elevation
194 ft (59 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total1,875
 • Density420/sq mi (160/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
75657
Area code(s)903
FIPS code48-37528[2]
GNIS feature ID1338692[3]
WebsiteCity of Jefferson

Jefferson is a city in Marion County, in the U.S. state of Texas's northeastern region.[4][5][6] With a population of 1,875 at the 2020 United States census,[7] it is the county seat of Marion.[8]

History[edit]

Almost every commercial building and house on the main arterial road in Jefferson has a historic marker.[9]

Early records indicate that Jefferson was founded around 1841 on land ceded from the Caddo Indians. At that time, a log jam more than 100 miles long existed on the Red River north of present Natchitoches, Louisiana. The Indians said that this log jam, known as the Great Red River Raft, had always existed.

The Red River Raft (or Great Raft) acted as a dam on the river and raised the level of Caddo Lake and the Red River several feet. This rise of Caddo Lake and the corresponding rise in the Big Cypress Bayou at Jefferson permitted commercial riverboat travel to Jefferson from ports such as St. Louis and New Orleans via the Mississippi and Red Rivers.

Panoramic map of Jefferson in 1872 by Herman Brosius including a list oflandmarks

Jefferson was one of the most important ports in Texas between 1845 and 1872. The town reached its peak population just a few years after the Civil War and is reported to have exceeded 30,000. During this time, Jefferson was the sixth-largest town in Texas.

There were attempts over the years to remove the raft and permit the normal flow of the Red River, but these attempts were unsuccessful until the discovery of nitroglycerin. In 1873, using nitroglycerin, the Army Corps of Engineers was finally able to clear the raft from the Red River. This lowered the level of Caddo Lake and Big Cypress to the extent that riverboat traffic to Jefferson was no longer commercially feasible. At the peak of river traffic, Jefferson had a population of over 7,000. A few years later, it had dropped to a little over 3,000.

The Sterne Fountain was given to the city in 1913 to honor the contribution of Jacob and Ernestine Sterne, a Jewish couple who settled in Jefferson before the Civil War and became prominent citizens who managed the post office and were involved in numerous civic and cultural projects. The fountain includes a statue of Hebe, the Greek goddess of Youth, by Giuseppe Moretti.[10]

One of the legends related to Jefferson referred to Jay Gould, the railroad magnate. The legend goes that Gould wanted to bring his railroad through Jefferson but the town leaders refused because they had the river traffic. Gould said that "grass would grow in the streets" without the railroad. Gould credited with supporting the removal of the Red River Raft and the subsequent decline of Jefferson as a river port. Much of this tale is fiction. Townspeople obtained Gould's railcar and it is displayed as a tourist attraction in downtown Jefferson.[11]

Since 2000, Jefferson has been the location for the Pulpwood Queens Book Club Girlfriend Weekend's annual conference, attracting authors from all around the country.[12] Home of the famous TJ Blackburn Syrup Works since 1927.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11 km2), of which, 4.3 square miles (11 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.58%) is water.

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Jefferson has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[13]

Climate data for Jefferson, Texas (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1903–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
(28)
92
(33)
89
(32)
94
(34)
97
(36)
107
(42)
107
(42)
112
(44)
109
(43)
97
(36)
87
(31)
88
(31)
112
(44)
Average high °F (°C) 56.9
(13.8)
61.2
(16.2)
69.1
(20.6)
76.6
(24.8)
83.4
(28.6)
90.6
(32.6)
94.0
(34.4)
94.5
(34.7)
88.7
(31.5)
78.7
(25.9)
67.0
(19.4)
58.9
(14.9)
76.6
(24.8)
Daily mean °F (°C) 45.5
(7.5)
49.1
(9.5)
56.8
(13.8)
64.1
(17.8)
72.3
(22.4)
79.9
(26.6)
83.1
(28.4)
82.7
(28.2)
76.2
(24.6)
65.1
(18.4)
54.5
(12.5)
47.2
(8.4)
64.7
(18.2)
Average low °F (°C) 34.2
(1.2)
37.1
(2.8)
44.4
(6.9)
51.5
(10.8)
61.2
(16.2)
69.3
(20.7)
72.2
(22.3)
70.8
(21.6)
63.6
(17.6)
51.5
(10.8)
42.1
(5.6)
35.4
(1.9)
52.8
(11.6)
Record low °F (°C) 7
(−14)
−4
(−20)
15
(−9)
28
(−2)
38
(3)
46
(8)
55
(13)
52
(11)
38
(3)
25
(−4)
16
(−9)
−5
(−21)
−5
(−21)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 4.08
(104)
4.23
(107)
4.83
(123)
4.74
(120)
5.11
(130)
5.10
(130)
2.96
(75)
2.42
(61)
3.77
(96)
4.47
(114)
3.61
(92)
4.42
(112)
49.74
(1,263)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.5
(1.3)
0.7
(1.8)
0.1
(0.25)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
1.3
(3.3)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.3 8.5 8.7 7.6 8.2 7.7 5.5 5.8 5.6 6.8 7.9 8.8 89.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.7
Source: NOAA[14][15]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860988
18704,190324.1%
18803,260−22.2%
18903,072−5.8%
19002,850−7.2%
19102,515−11.8%
19202,5491.4%
19302,329−8.6%
19402,79720.1%
19503,16413.1%
19603,082−2.6%
19702,866−7.0%
19802,643−7.8%
19902,199−16.8%
20002,024−8.0%
20102,1064.1%
20201,875−11.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[16]
Jefferson racial composition as of 2020[17]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 1,102 58.77%
Black or African American (NH) 621 33.12%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 12 0.64%
Asian (NH) 17 0.91%
Some Other Race (NH) 6 0.32%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 72 3.84%
Hispanic or Latino 45 2.4%
Total 1,875

In the 2010 U.S. census, there were 2,199 people, 871 households, and 544 families residing in the city.[2] The population density was 465.7 people per square mile (179.6/km2). There were 1,042 housing units at an average density of 239.7 per square mile (92.5/km2). At the 2020 census, its population decreased to 1,875.[7] The racial makeup of the city in 2010 was 62.80% White, 34.68% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.63% of the population; in 2020, its racial and ethnic makeup remained predominantly non-Hispanic white. The city's racial makeup in 2018 was 50.2% non-Hispanic white and 41.5% Black or African American. 2.4% were of two or more races, and 5.9% from some other race; 7.3% were from Hispanic or Latino heritage from any race.[20]

At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $17,034, and the median income for a family was $26,250. Males had a median income of $28,929 versus $14,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,558. About 29.4% of families and 32.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 54.1% of those under age 18 and 22.7% of those age 65 or over. At the American Community Survey of 2020, its median household income was $40,306 with a mean income at $67,961.[21]

Education[edit]

The city of Jefferson is served by the Jefferson Independent School District.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ Morphis, J. M. (1874). History of Texas From Its Discovery and Settlement. New York: United States Publishing Company. pp. 504–507. Retrieved 2009-07-27. Includes a c. 1874 description as well as information on the Potter/Rose feud.
  5. ^ Spaight, A. W. (1882). The Resources, Soil, and Climate of Texas: Report of The Commissioner of Insurance, Statistics, and History. Galveston, Texas: A. H. Belo & Company. pp. 202–204. Retrieved 2009-07-27. Includes a c. 1882 description of Jefferson and environs.
  6. ^ King, Edward (1875). The Great South. Hartford, Conn: American Publishing Company. p. 124. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
  7. ^ a b "2020 Race and Population Totals". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  8. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  9. ^ Shey, Brittanie. "Oprah of the Piney Woods." Houston Press. Wednesday, October 12, 2011. 2. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Texas State Historical Commission. "Sterne Fountain Historical Marker".
  11. ^ Jefferson, Riverport to the Southwest, by Fred Tarpley, 1983.
  12. ^ Texas Observer, "Fake Fur, Big Hair and La Vie Littéraire," February 16, 2010
  13. ^ Climate Summary for Jefferson, Texas
  14. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  15. ^ "Station: Jefferson, TX". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2021.
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2022-05-22.
  18. ^ www.census.gov
  19. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  20. ^ "2018 ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2020-01-25.
  21. ^ "2020 ACS Annual Income Estimates". data.census.gov. Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  1. ^ 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.[18][19]

Further reading[edit]

  • Bagur, Jacques D. Antebellum Jefferson, Texas: Everyday Life in an East Texas Town (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2012). 612 pp.
  • Dean, Winnie Mims (1953). Jefferson, Texas: Queen of the Cypress. Dallas, Texas: Mathis, Van Nort and Co. OCLC 2673597.

External links[edit]