La Salle County, Texas

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La Salle County
The La Salle County Courthouse in Cotulla has undergone extensive renovation (2018).
The La Salle County Courthouse in Cotulla has undergone extensive renovation (2018).
Map of Texas highlighting La Salle County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 28°20′N 99°06′W / 28.34°N 99.1°W / 28.34; -99.1
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1880
Named forRené-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle[1]
SeatCotulla
Largest cityCotulla
Area
 • Total1,494 sq mi (3,870 km2)
 • Land1,487 sq mi (3,850 km2)
 • Water7.5 sq mi (19 km2)  0.5%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total6,664
 • Density4.5/sq mi (1.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts23rd, 28th
Websitelasallecountytx.org

La Salle County is a county in Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 6,664.[2] Its county seat is Cotulla.[3] The county was created in 1858 and later organized in 1880.[4][1] It is named for René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, a 17th-century French explorer.[1]

History[edit]

Early history[edit]

The area of present-day La Salle County was occupied by the Coahuiltecan Indians until the 18th century, when they were squeezed out by the Spanish from the south and the Apache from the north. After the Mexican War of Independence, the Mexican government used land grants to encourage settlement, but very few settled in the area. By 1836, the area was entirely populated by Indians.[1]

Between the Texas Revolution and the Mexican War, the area of present-day La Salle County lay in the disputed area between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River. Desperadoes ruled the area, as neither the Mexican government nor the Republic of Texas could gain control. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo assigned the Nueces Strip to Texas in 1848, but outlaws and hostile Indians delayed settlement of the area.[1]

La Salle County was officially formed in 1858 from the Bexar District. The first settlements were established on the road from Laredo to San Antonio. In 1852, the Army established Fort Ewell near present-day Artesia Wells, where the road crossed the Nueces River, to protect travelers on the road. The fort was abandoned in 1854, and the remaining inhabitants moved to the settlement of Guajoco, located one and a half miles from the fort. By 1871, around 60 people lived in Guajoco, mostly of Mexican descent.[1]

In 1856, William A. Waugh of Ohio established a ranch where the San Antonio–Laredo road crossed Cibolo Creek. His ranch headquarters became a stopping point for travelers, and in 1879, a post office was established there with the name Waugh's Rancho. Iuka, an early settlement located 8 miles west of present-day Cotulla, was established in 1868 by several families and served as a stage stop and marketplace for cattle buyers. The settlement established a post office in 1880. In 1870, the population of La Salle County was 69, and by 1880, it was 789.[1]

La Salle County was formally organized in 1880 and Stuart's Rancho, near Guajoco, was designated the county seat. In the early 1880s, the International-Great Northern Railroad laid tracks to the county. Around this time, outlaws were gradually eliminated from the area, and the last Indian raid happened in 1878. These changes help bring stability to the county.[1]

With the arrival of the railroads, settlements such as Iuka and Guajoco were abandoned as inhabitants moved near the railroad tracks. Polish immigrant Joseph Cotulla arrived in La Salle County in 1868 and eventually established a large ranching operation. In 1881, Cotulla donated 120 acres of his land to the railroad for the townsite of Cotulla, and the railroad built a depot there in 1882. While Cotulla continued to develop his town, Iuka's postmaster, Jesse Laxton, developed a townsite just across the tracks named La Salle. La Salle was granted a post office in 1881, and in 1882, was designated the temporary county seat. However, Cotulla became the county seat by special election in 1883.[1]

Geography[edit]

La Salle County highway visitor center on Interstate 35 south of Cotulla (November 2014)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,494 square miles (3,870 km2), of which 7.5 square miles (19 km2) (0.5%) are covered by water.[5]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
187069
18807891,043.5%
18902,139171.1%
19002,3037.7%
19104,747106.1%
19204,8211.6%
19308,22870.7%
19408,003−2.7%
19507,485−6.5%
19605,972−20.2%
19705,014−16.0%
19805,51410.0%
19905,254−4.7%
20005,86611.6%
20106,88617.4%
20206,664−3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1850–2010[7] 2010–2014[8]
La Salle County racial/ethnic composition[9][10]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 894 1,467 12.98% 22.01%
Black or African American (NH) 18 221 0.26% 3.32%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 25 3 0.36% 0.05%
Asian (NH) 6 4 0.09% 0.06%
Some Other Race (NH) 5 5 0.07% 0.08%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 18 56 0.26% 0.84%
Hispanic or Latino 5,920 4,908 85.97% 73.65%
Total 6,886 6,664

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 6,664 people, 2,142 households, and 1,659 families residing in the county.

As of the census[13] of 2000, 5,866 people, 1,819 households, and 1,351 were families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per mi2 (2/km2). The 2,436 housing units averaged 2 per mi2 (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.47% White, 3.55% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 12.21% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. About 77.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 1,819 households, 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were not families. About 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89, and the average family size was 3.45.

In the county, the age distribution was 29.4% under 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 113.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 121.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $21,857, and for a family was $25,494. Males had a median income of $20,856 versus $17,339 for females. The per capita income for the county was $9,692. About 28.20% of families and 29.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.50% of those under age 18 and 24.80% of those age 65 or over. The county's per capita income makes it one of the poorest counties in the United States, yet the average income of the top 1% highest earners in the county was $6,021,357, one of the highest in the United States.[14]

Education[edit]

Most of La Salle County is served by the Cotulla Independent School District. The Dilley Independent School District serves a small portion of northwestern La Salle County.[15]

The designated community college is Southwest Texas Junior College.[16]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost town[edit]

Notable people[edit]

O. Henry, the famous short-story writer, lived and worked on a sheep ranch in La Salle County from 1882 to 1884 before settling in Austin as a pharmacist and bank teller.

Ray Keck, the fifth and current president of Texas A&M International University in Laredo, was born in San Antonio and reared in Cotulla, where his father, Ray Keck, Jr., was president of Stockmen's National Bank.[17]

Politics[edit]

La Salle County is a solid Democratic stronghold like most of South Texas. Since 1904, the county voted for the Republican twice. First in the 1972 Nixon landslide and again in 2020 when Donald Trump flipped the county, claiming 55% of the vote.

United States presidential election results for La Salle County, Texas[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 1,335 55.49% 1,052 43.72% 19 0.79%
2016 872 42.35% 1,129 54.83% 58 2.82%
2012 669 40.64% 965 58.63% 12 0.73%
2008 714 40.20% 1,052 59.23% 10 0.56%
2004 989 44.35% 1,229 55.11% 12 0.54%
2000 731 36.30% 1,266 62.86% 17 0.84%
1996 570 26.10% 1,522 69.69% 92 4.21%
1992 586 25.27% 1,522 65.63% 211 9.10%
1988 693 29.46% 1,651 70.20% 8 0.34%
1984 1,007 40.06% 1,504 59.82% 3 0.12%
1980 773 34.39% 1,442 64.15% 33 1.47%
1976 677 34.14% 1,294 65.25% 12 0.61%
1972 1,073 65.11% 567 34.41% 8 0.49%
1968 324 29.97% 645 59.67% 112 10.36%
1964 223 18.40% 988 81.52% 1 0.08%
1960 326 31.17% 718 68.64% 2 0.19%
1956 449 43.85% 574 56.05% 1 0.10%
1952 565 40.88% 816 59.04% 1 0.07%
1948 135 14.79% 719 78.75% 59 6.46%
1944 127 14.77% 692 80.47% 41 4.77%
1940 112 13.69% 706 86.31% 0 0.00%
1936 74 9.51% 704 90.49% 0 0.00%
1932 92 10.17% 810 89.50% 3 0.33%
1928 327 40.57% 479 59.43% 0 0.00%
1924 73 13.49% 458 84.66% 10 1.85%
1920 53 16.88% 252 80.25% 9 2.87%
1916 40 10.42% 340 88.54% 4 1.04%
1912 21 5.10% 339 82.28% 52 12.62%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Leffler, John (June 15, 2010). "La Salle County - Handbook of Texas Online". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: La Salle County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  6. ^ "Decennial Census by Decade". US Census Bureau.
  7. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  9. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  10. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  11. ^ https://www.census.gov/[not specific enough to verify]
  12. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  14. ^ "This Map Shows Where the 1% Lives". howmuch.net. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  15. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: La Salle County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved June 29, 2022. - Text list
  16. ^ Texas Education Code: Sec. 130.200. SOUTHWEST TEXAS JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA.
  17. ^ Judith Zaffirini (January 27, 1997). "Senate Resolution in Memory of Ray M. Keck, Jr". legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  18. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  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.[11][12]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°20′N 99°06′W / 28.34°N 99.10°W / 28.34; -99.10