Pecos County, Texas

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Pecos County
Pecos County Courthouse in Fort Stockton
Pecos County Courthouse in Fort Stockton
Map of Texas highlighting Pecos County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 30°47′N 102°43′W / 30.78°N 102.72°W / 30.78; -102.72
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1875
Named forPecos River
SeatFort Stockton
Largest cityFort Stockton
Area
 • Total4,765 sq mi (12,340 km2)
 • Land4,764 sq mi (12,340 km2)
 • Water1.0 sq mi (3 km2)  0.02%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2015)
16,203
 • Density3.3/sq mi (1.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district23rd
Websitewww.co.pecos.tx.us

Pecos County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 15,507.[1] The county seat is Fort Stockton.[2] The county was created in 1871 and organized in 1875.[3][4] It is named for the Pecos River. It is one of the nine counties that comprise the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas.

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

Archeological digs at Squawteat Peak uncovered prehistoric hunter-gatherer artifacts. Fourteen clusters of stones interpreted as wickiup and tipi rings indicate human habitation. A ring midden in the camp provided a radiocarbon date of 1300 AD. Archeological finds along Tunas Creek include a burial site, pictographs, and artifacts; a possible modified Langtry projectile point (2,000 BC to 700–800 AD).[4][5]

Early routes[edit]

The Comanche Trail crossed Pecos County near Horsehead Crossing and through Comanche Springs.[6] The Chihuahua Trail connecting Mexico's state of Chihuahua with Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought travelers through the area by Comanche Springs about 1840.[7][8]

A United States Army outpost, Fort Stockton, was established in 1858 at Comanche Springs to guard the San Antonio-El Paso Mail. That same year, the Butterfield Overland Mail began service to the army post.[9]

County established and growth[edit]

The town of Fort Stockton began near the Fort Stockton army post at Comanche Springs as St. Gaul, Texas, but was renamed Fort Stockton in 1880.[9][10] Pecos County was established by the Texas Legislature in 1871 originally out of Presidio County. In 1871, Pecos County was organized and St. Gaul was named the county seat. About 1,100 people were living in the county that year.[4] By 1890, the county had 227 cattle and 150 sheep, and 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) were planted in corn. By 1900, the area's economy had become almost completely dominated by cattle and sheep ranching, though plots of wheat, rye, corn, and oats were grown.[4] Around 1900, a small settlement known as Sheffield sprang up in eastern Pecos County on land owned by Will Sheffield; it served as a supply point for the surrounding ranches. In 1913, construction of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway across Pecos County caused a boom in land speculation and community growth, as did irrigation projects along the Pecos River.[11] The town of Girvin, named for rancher John H. Girvin, grew around a train stop on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway that served as a cattle-shipping point. Construction of Texas State Highway 290 linking Fort Stockton to Big Bend National Park gave a boost to tourism. In the 1980s, the economy of Pecos County continued to be based on farming, ranching, oil and gas production, and tourism. The Yates Oil Field in Crockett County, Texas, and Pecos County in 1927 resulted in a financial boom period for the county. Towns such as Red Barn, Iraan (combination of the names Ira and Ann Yates), and Bakersfield rose up in response to oil-related employment opportunities. The population of the county more than doubled during the 1920s. Oil production helped to stabilize the local economy.[12][13]

Alley Oop and Paisano Pete[edit]

The town of Iraan, Texas, prides itself on being the birthplace of cartoon caveman Alley Oop, when creator V.T. Hamlin worked in the oilfields. Although first published in the Des Moines Register in 1932, Hamlin claimed to have originated the idea while he watched dinosaur bones being dug up by oil equipment. Visitors to Iraan can visit the Alley Oop Museum found on Alley Oop Lane.[14] Fort Stockton pays tribute to the agile roadrunner with their Paisano Pete the Roadrunner statue.[15]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,765 square miles (12,340 km2), of which 4,764 square miles (12,340 km2) are land and 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2) (0.02%) is covered by water.[16] It is the second-largest county by area in Texas.

Yates Oil Field[edit]

Pecos County is home to one of the largest oil fields in the United States, the Yates Oil Field, which is in the extreme eastern part of the county, along the Pecos River. The field covers about 41 square miles (110 km2) near the town of Iraan. Discovered in 1926, it has produced over a billion barrels of oil, and most industry estimates give it more than another billion in recoverable reserves. The Yates Oil Field was one of the first giant fields to be found in the Permian Basin.[17][18]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18801,807
18901,326−26.6%
19002,36078.0%
19102,071−12.2%
19203,85786.2%
19307,812102.5%
19408,1854.8%
19509,93921.4%
196011,95720.3%
197013,74815.0%
198014,6186.3%
199014,6750.4%
200016,80914.5%
201015,507−7.7%
2019 (est.)15,823[19]2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
1850–2010[21] 2010–2014[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, 15,507 were people living in the county; 79.4% were White, 3.7% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 13.5% of some other race, and 2.1% of two or more races. About 67.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[22] of 2000, 16,809 people, 5,153 households, and 4,029 were families living in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile (1/km2). The 6,338 housing units averaged 1 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 75.85% White, 4.39% African American, 0.42% Native American, 0.51% Asian, 16.14% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. About 61.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 5,153 households, 41.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.10% were married couples living together, 11.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.80% were not families. About 19.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86, and the average family size was 3.29.

In the county, the age distribution was 27.70% under 18, 13.80% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 20.50% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 123.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 132.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,033, and for a family was $31,122. Males had a median income of $25,888 versus $18,113 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,212. About 18.10% of families and 20.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.20% of those under age 18 and 16.30% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Public education in Pecos County is provided by three school districts: Buena Vista, Fort Stockton, and Iraan-Sheffield Independent School Districts.

Williams Regional Technical Training Center[edit]

Pecos County is home to the Midland College/Williams Regional Technical Training Center, located alongside Interstate Highway 10, in Fort Stockton. The center was built in 1996 through a joint effort by Midland College, and by leaders of Fort Stockton education, business, and government as a means to enhance higher education and workforce development in this part of West Texas. Fort Stockton and Pecos County are part of the Midland College service area. After just four years, the facility, named in honor of Fort Stockton native and center donor Clayton Williams, Jr., was doubled in size through fundraising and program development.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated areas[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Oilman and rancher Clayton W. Williams, Sr., served for 16 years as a Pecos county commissioner. His father, attorney Oscar Waldo Williams, earlier served a decade as Pecos county judge. Clayton Williams, Jr., the 1990 Republican gubernatorial nominee, was reared in Fort Stockton.

Politics[edit]

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[23]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 68.9% 3,215 29.6% 1,382 1.5% 71
2016 59.0% 2,468 37.1% 1,554 3.9% 163
2012 60.5% 2,512 38.3% 1,591 1.1% 47
2008 61.9% 2,480 36.8% 1,476 1.4% 54
2004 71.5% 3,167 28.1% 1,242 0.4% 19
2000 62.8% 2,700 35.8% 1,539 1.5% 64
1996 43.9% 1,730 46.1% 1,816 10.0% 396
1992 40.6% 1,836 39.3% 1,778 20.1% 909
1988 55.7% 2,483 44.0% 1,960 0.4% 17
1984 67.9% 3,451 31.4% 1,596 0.7% 33
1980 62.0% 2,723 36.5% 1,602 1.6% 70
1976 52.8% 2,234 46.6% 1,971 0.7% 28
1972 73.1% 2,419 25.6% 847 1.3% 43
1968 37.9% 1,524 39.6% 1,592 22.5% 903
1964 40.1% 1,393 59.6% 2,068 0.4% 12
1960 44.6% 1,412 54.4% 1,724 1.0% 31
1956 60.2% 1,425 39.3% 931 0.5% 11
1952 59.4% 1,573 40.6% 1,076 0.0% 1
1948 17.6% 317 79.4% 1,430 3.0% 54
1944 18.5% 305 74.2% 1,226 7.4% 122
1940 17.3% 332 82.2% 1,583 0.5% 10
1936 11.2% 167 88.8% 1,330 0.1% 1
1932 12.4% 180 87.1% 1,261 0.5% 7
1928 48.0% 524 51.5% 562 0.6% 6
1924 29.0% 192 66.5% 440 4.5% 30
1920 48.4% 394 47.4% 386 4.2% 34
1916 19.4% 96 79.4% 394 1.2% 6
1912 17.8% 76 59.8% 256 22.4% 96

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Pecos County, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online. By Glenn Justice and John Leffler. Retrieved on 14 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Squawteat Peak". Texas Beyond History. UT-Austin. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Comanche Trail". National Park Service. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  7. ^ Perry, Ann; Smith, Deborah; Simons, Helen; Hoyt, Catherine A (1996). A Guide to Hispanic Texas. University of Texas Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-292-77709-5.
  8. ^ Sharp, Jay W. "Desert Trails: The Chihuahua Trail". Desert USA. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  9. ^ a b Hudnall, Sharon and Ken (2005). "Fort Stockton, Texas". Spirits of the Border III. Omega Press. pp. 178–187. ISBN 978-0-9754923-2-1.
  10. ^ "Fort Stockton Tx". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Fort Stockton Railroad Depots". Texas Escapes. Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  12. ^ "Iraan, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  13. ^ Harris, Jim; Texas Folklore Society (1991). Features and Fillers: Texas Journalists on Texas Folklore. University of North Texas Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-1-57441-074-7.
  14. ^ Eckhardt, C F. "Victor T. Hamlin & Alley Oop". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  15. ^ Butko, Brian and Sarah (2005). Roadside Giants. Stackpole Books. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-8117-3228-4.
  16. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  17. ^ Hyne, Norman J. Nontechnical Guide to Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling, and Production, 2nd edition. PennWell Books, 2001. ISBN 0-87814-823-X, ISBN 0-87814-823-X p. 105.
  18. ^ Description at University of Texas Oil Connections Archived 2010-12-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  21. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  22. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  23. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-07-29.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°47′N 102°43′W / 30.78°N 102.72°W / 30.78; -102.72