Somervell County, Texas

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Somervell County
The Somervell County Courthouse in Glen Rose
The Somervell County Courthouse in Glen Rose
Map of Texas highlighting Somervell 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°13′N 97°46′W / 32.22°N 97.77°W / 32.22; -97.77
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1875
Named forAlexander Somervell
SeatGlen Rose
Largest cityGlen Rose
Area
 • Total192 sq mi (500 km2)
 • Land186 sq mi (480 km2)
 • Water5.5 sq mi (14 km2)  2.9%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total9,205
 • Density48/sq mi (19/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district25th
Websitewww.somervell.co

Somervell County (/ˈsʌmərvɛl/ SUM-ər-vel) is a county on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 9,205.[1] Its county seat is Glen Rose.[2] The county is named for Alexander Somervell, secretary of war for the Republic of Texas.

Somervell County is included in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area and the Granbury micropolitan area.

The county contains the Comanche Peak Nuclear Generating Station, one of two nuclear power plants in Texas.

History[edit]

Fossil footprint of a dinosaur displayed on the lawn of the Somervell County Courthouse, Glen Rose, Texas, April 1, 2010
Settlers Memorial bronze work on lawn of the Somervell County Courthouse, April 1, 2010

Native Americans[edit]

Caddo tribe Anadarko villages were scattered along Trinity and Brazos Rivers.[3] The Caddo tribe of Wichita also inhabited the area. By 1860, these tribes had moved to Oklahoma.

The Tonkawa[4] were hunter-gatherers of the area, and often traded with their allies the Caddo and Karankawa. Like the Wichita, Karankawa and Jumano, the Tonkawa tattooed their bodies and faces. Some Tonkawa men were employed as scouts for the Texas Rangers and United States Army.[5] As they were pushed out by the Comanche, they moved to the Brazos Indian Reservation,[6] and later to Oklahoma

Comanche bands continued depredations on settlers until their removal to Oklahoma after 1875.[7]

County established[edit]

The county was formed and organized in 1875 from Hood County. The town of Glen Rose became the county seat.

Torrey Trading Houses opened as a part of the Sam Houston peace policy to develop friendly relationships with native tribes.[8] They bought from, and sold to, the Indians on a banking and credit system, enabling them to also recover stolen horses and human captives. The Torreys sold their business to George Barnard in 1848,[9] who with his brother Charles [10] moved the Tehuacana store in Limestone County to near Comanche Peak.[11] Juana Josefina Cavasos Barnard[12] had been captured by Comanches as a teenager. She was daughter of Maria Josefa Cavazos,[13] and granddaughter of Don José Narciso Cavazos Gonzalez-Hildago who in 1792 received the largest land grant in Texas.[14] George ransomed Juana from the tribe, but his brother Charles married her in 1848.[15]

Somervell County got its first courthouse in Glen Rose in 1882, but the courthouse and all county records burned in 1893.[16] The second and current courthouse was built in 1894 by architect John McCormick.[17] The roof and clock tower were damaged in the 1902 Glen Rose tornado. County funds at the time limited the repair, which eliminated the clock tower. In 1986, work was done to restore the structure to its original design.

Glen Rose Collegiate Institute, or Glen Rose College, operated as a private, faith-based educational facility from 1889 to 1910. Educational competition from the public-school system caused enrollment to taper off until the institution was shut down.[18]

Under the New Deal Works Progress Administration (WPA), Glen Rose built a new water and sewage system in the 1930s, as well as school buildings, a canning plant, and low-water dams.[19]

The Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant went online in the mid 1970s and employs over 1,000 people.[20] Squaw Creek Reservoir, which provides cooling water for the power plant, also has become a popular recreation site.[21]

Dinosaurs[edit]

The tragic Paluxy River flood in 1908 uncovered three-toed prints from the Cretaceous period, possibly Acrocanthosaurus, and were discovered by high school student George Adams in the limestone river bed. The teenager relayed the discovery to his principal, Robert McDonald.[22] Adams later ended up selling self-manufactured fake "giant man tracks"[23] to tourists sometime during the 1930s, sparking a debate about whether or not humans existed alongside dinosaurs.[24] In 1934, resident Charlie Moss discovered footprints of four-toed sauropods. Resident Jim Ryals dug out the actual dinosaur prints and sold them to tourists. Paleontologist Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City spotted the Adams "giant man tracks" in a tourist shop in Gallup, New Mexico, and, while recognizing them as fakes, was still intrigued enough to travel to Somervell County to see the Glen Rose area for himself. Bird's visit resulted in a 2-year WPA project to uncover the dinosaur prints. The American Museum of Natural History, the University of Texas at Austin, the Smithsonian Institution, and several local museums retain samples of what are said to be the best-preserved tracks in the United States.[25]

The land along the Paluxy River for Dinosaur Valley State Park was purchased by the State of Texas in 1968, and the park opened to the public in 1972.[26]

|postal_code_type = ZIP code |postal_code = 76043 |area_code = Area code 254

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 192 square miles (500 km2), of which 5.5 square miles (14 km2) (2.9%) are covered by water.[27] It is the second-smallest county by area in Texas, larger than only Rockwall County, and slightly smaller than Camp County.

Major highways[edit]

State Highway 144 as NE Barnard Street in Glen Rose

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18802,649
18903,41929.1%
19003,4982.3%
19103,93112.4%
19203,563−9.4%
19303,016−15.4%
19403,0711.8%
19502,542−17.2%
19602,5771.4%
19702,7938.4%
19804,15448.7%
19905,36029.0%
20006,80927.0%
20108,49024.7%
20209,2058.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[28]
1850–2010[29] 2010[30] 2020[31]
Somervell County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[30] Pop 2020[31] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 6,595 7,011 77.68% 76.17%
Black or African American alone (NH) 54 39 0.64% 0.42%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 45 49 0.53% 0.53%
Asian alone (NH) 40 55 0.47% 0.60%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 1 0 0.01% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 24 33 0.28% 0.36%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 105 331 1.24% 3.60%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,626 1,687 19.15% 18.33%
Total 8,490 9,205 100.00% 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.

As of the census[32] of 2000, 6,809 people, 2,438 households, and 1,840 families were residing in the county. The population density was 36 people/sq mi (14/km2). The 2,750 housing units had an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.19% White, 0.28% African American, 0.69% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 5.12% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. About 13.44% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

Of the 2,438 households, 37.4% had children under 18 living with them, 61.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were not families. About 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.73, and the average family size was 3.17. As of the 2010 census, about 1.3 same-sex couples per 1,000 households were in the county.[33]

In the county, the age distribution was 28.4% under 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,404, and for a family was $46,458. Males had a median income of $32,463 versus $23,381 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,367. About 6.10% of families and 8.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.30% of those under age 18 and 9.10% of those age 65 or over.

Media[edit]

Two newspapers have offices located in Somervell County, the Glen Rose Reporter and the Glen Rose Newspaper. The Somervell County Salon is a local blog that has video and audio of local meetings. Local television stations that provide coverage for the area broadcast from the Dallas]-Fort Worth and the Waco/Temple/Killeen (Central Texas) metropolitan areas.

Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Politics[edit]

Somervell County has voted for the Republican Party in all presidential elections since 1984, except in 1992, when it was one of the few counties nationwide to vote for the independent candidate Ross Perot who beat George H. W. Bush by a mere 42 votes.

United States presidential election results for Somervell County, Texas[34]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 4,105 82.98% 768 15.52% 74 1.50%
2016 3,206 82.27% 541 13.88% 150 3.85%
2012 2,871 81.15% 613 17.33% 54 1.53%
2008 2,677 75.77% 799 22.62% 57 1.61%
2004 2,701 76.06% 831 23.40% 19 0.54%
2000 2,120 72.65% 752 25.77% 46 1.58%
1996 1,099 46.23% 993 41.78% 285 11.99%
1992 872 33.96% 782 30.45% 914 35.59%
1988 1,304 56.79% 983 42.81% 9 0.39%
1984 1,422 69.00% 635 30.81% 4 0.19%
1980 792 42.76% 1,015 54.81% 45 2.43%
1976 332 23.87% 1,054 75.77% 5 0.36%
1972 703 71.23% 284 28.77% 0 0.00%
1968 313 34.74% 384 42.62% 204 22.64%
1964 210 24.59% 641 75.06% 3 0.35%
1960 441 55.13% 345 43.13% 14 1.75%
1956 467 59.80% 309 39.56% 5 0.64%
1952 494 51.84% 450 47.22% 9 0.94%
1948 91 15.61% 446 76.50% 46 7.89%
1944 87 14.01% 406 65.38% 128 20.61%
1940 138 20.60% 532 79.40% 0 0.00%
1936 57 15.08% 317 83.86% 4 1.06%
1932 43 6.89% 561 89.90% 20 3.21%
1928 241 63.93% 136 36.07% 0 0.00%
1924 42 8.96% 403 85.93% 24 5.12%
1920 92 24.60% 198 52.94% 84 22.46%
1916 20 5.24% 278 72.77% 84 21.99%
1912 12 3.16% 241 63.42% 127 33.42%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Somervell County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Andarko Indian History". Access Genealogy. Retrieved April 28, 2010. Access Genealogy
  4. ^ "Indian Intruders From The North". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved April 28, 2010. Texas Beyond History
  5. ^ "Texas Indians, The Tonkawa". R. Edward Moore and Texarch Associates. Retrieved April 28, 2010. R. Edward Moore and Texarch Associates
  6. ^ Crouch, Carrie J: Brazos Indian Reservation from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  7. ^ "Texas Indians Map". R E. Moore and Texarch Associates. Retrieved April 28, 2010. R E. Moore and Texarch Associates
  8. ^ Armbruster, Henry C.: Torrey Trading Houses from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  9. ^ Willingham, John: George Barnard from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  10. ^ Andrus, Pearl: Charles E. Bernard from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  11. ^ Comanche Peak from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  12. ^ Orozco, Cynthia E.: Juana Josefina Cavasos Barnard from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  13. ^ "Descendants of Don José Narciso Cavazos Gonzalez-Hildago" (PDF). Villa de San Agustin-Laredo Genealogy Society. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  14. ^ "San Juan de Carrictios Land Grant". Texas Historical Markers. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  15. ^ "Juana Cavasos Barnard". Hood County Genealogical Society. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  16. ^ "First Somerville County Courthouse". Texas Historical Markers. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  17. ^ "Second Somerville County Courthouse". Texas Escapes. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  18. ^ Hart, Brian: Glen Rose Collegiate Institute from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  19. ^ Elam, Richard: Somervell County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 28 April 2010. Texas State Historical Association.
  20. ^ "Comanche Peak Steam Electric Station". Glenrosearea.com. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  21. ^ "Squaw Creek Reservoir". Going Outside.com. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  22. ^ Jasinski, Laurie E. "Speaking of Texas, Glen Rose's Dinosaur Highway". Texas Highways. Retrieved January 15, 2015.Texas Highways
  23. ^ Michon Scott. "Strange Science, Forgeries and Frauds". Michon Scott. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  24. ^ "Human and Dinosaur Footprints". Creation vs. Evolution Resources. Retrieved April 28, 2010. Visual Evolution. Keep it real
  25. ^ Glen J. Kuban. "A Brief History of Dinosaur Tracks in Glen Rose, Texas". Kuban, Glen J. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  26. ^ "Dinosaur Valley State Park". Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Retrieved April 28, 2010. TPWD
  27. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  28. ^ "Decennial Census of Population and Housing by Decades". US Census Bureau.
  29. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  30. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Somervell County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  31. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Somervell County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  32. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  33. ^ Where Same-Sex Couples Live, June 26, 2015, retrieved July 6, 2015
  34. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 9, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°13′N 97°46′W / 32.22°N 97.77°W / 32.22; -97.77