Swisher County, Texas

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Swisher County
The Swisher County Courthouse in Tulia
The Swisher County Courthouse in Tulia
Map of Texas highlighting Swisher County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°32′N 101°44′W / 34.53°N 101.73°W / 34.53; -101.73
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1890
Named forJames G. Swisher
SeatTulia
Largest cityTulia
Area
 • Total901 sq mi (2,330 km2)
 • Land890 sq mi (2,300 km2)
 • Water11 sq mi (30 km2)  1.2%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total6,971
 • Density7.7/sq mi (3.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district13th
Websitewww.co.swisher.tx.us

Swisher County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 6,971.[1] Its county seat is Tulia.[2] The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1890.[3] It is named for James G. Swisher, a soldier of the Texas Revolution and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

At one time, the large JA Ranch, founded by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, and later owned by Goodnight and Cornelia Adair, reached into six counties, including Swisher.

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

Apachean cultures roamed the county until Comanche dominated around 1700. The Comanches were defeated by the United States Army in the Red River War of 1874. No significant combat occurred in the county. After the 1874 battle of Palo Duro Canyon, Ranald S. Mackenzie ordered 1450 Indian horses shot.[4] The Buffalo Hunters' War of 1876 was an attempt by the Comanches to drive out the white man and stop depletion of their hunting grounds.[5]

County established and growth[edit]

In 1876 the Texas state legislature carved Swisher County from Young and Bexar districts. The county was organized in 1880, and Tulia, became the county seat.[6]

The area was by and large unsettled until the JA Ranch of Charles Goodnight came in 1883, which added the Tule Ranch.[7]

Although settlers gradually arrived, the county was dominated by ranching the remainder of the 19th century. Good underground water at shallow depths gave to windmills that facilitated the stock-farmer.[8]

In 1906, the Santa Fe Railroad branch line from Amarillo came through the county and later connected the county with Hale County, and with Lubbock by 1910, giving Swisher a major north–south rail line and boosting the economy.[9]

The Great Depression had a devastating effect on the county's economy, somewhat relieved by road work. The stimulus of World War II demand and, particularly, the development of large-scale irrigation in the area, led to the revival of the county's economy.[5]

The first successful extensive local use of underground water from the Ogallala Aquifer came in 1936. After World War II this activity increased dramatically; by the 1980s over 225,000 acres (910 km2) in Swisher County were irrigated.[10]

In 2002 the county had 578 farms and ranches covering 566,429 acres (2,292.26 km2), 69 percent of which were devoted to crops and 30 percent to pasture.[5]

The Ozark Trail[edit]

Rural Texas in the early 20th century was often connected by unpaved routes, often of caliche or other rock and dirt paths. Swisher's road structure fell into this category. In 1920 the Ozark Trail served as a predecessor to today's intra-continental highway structure. The Ozark Trail was a highway network maintained by local entities or private citizens from Arkansas and Missouri through Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, to New Mexico. In Texas the trail was made of graded and upgraded roads. Collingsworth, Childress, Hall, Briscoe, Swisher, Castro, and Parmer counties along with Curry and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico raised $10,000 in 1920 to erect markers along already existing roads to mark the Ozark Trail from Oklahoma across Texas to New Mexico.[11] By the mid-1920s Tulia was linked to Nazareth, Dimmitt, and Bovina by State Highway 86, to Canyon and Amarillo by U.S. Highway 385 (now U.S. 87 or Interstate Highway 27), to Silverton by State Highway 80, and to Plainview and Lubbock by U.S. 385.[12]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 901 square miles (2,330 km2), of which 890 square miles (2,300 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.2%) is water.[13]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18804
18901002,400.0%
19001,2271,127.0%
19104,012227.0%
19204,3889.4%
19307,34367.3%
19406,528−11.1%
19508,24926.4%
196010,60728.6%
197010,373−2.2%
19809,723−6.3%
19908,133−16.4%
20008,3783.0%
20107,854−6.3%
20206,971−11.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1850–2010[15] 2010[16] 2020[17]

2020 census[edit]

Swisher County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[16] Pop 2020[17] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 4,025 3,219 51.25% 46.18%
Black or African American alone (NH) 552 407 7.03% 5.84%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 37 18 0.47% 0.26%
Asian alone (NH) 5 10 0.06% 0.14%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 4 0 0.05% 0.00%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 6 8 0.08% 0.11%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 76 162 0.97% 2.32%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 3,149 3,147 40.09% 45.14%
Total 7,854 6,971 100.00% 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[18] of 2000, there were 8,378 people, 2,925 households, and 2,152 families residing in the county. The population density was 9 people per square mile (4/km2). There were 3,315 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 71.75% White, 5.85% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 19.41% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. 35.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,925 households, out of which 35.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.20% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.90% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 20.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 109.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,846, and the median income for a family was $34,444. Males had a median income of $25,164 versus $20,448 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,326. About 14.20% of families and 17.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.20% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Town[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Politics[edit]

Whereas the counties to its north in the Panhandle proper became overwhelmingly Republican at a Presidential level with Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s, Swisher County continued to favour the Democratic Party for another four decades, even being narrowly won by Walter Mondale in 1984 when he came within 3,819 votes of losing all fifty states. During the twentieth century the only Republicans to carry Swisher County were Herbert Hoover in 1928 due to intense anti-Catholic sentiment against Al Smith, Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952, and Richard Nixon in 1972.

Like the rest of the Bible Belt, due to opposition to the Democratic Party's liberal positions on social issues Swisher has trended powerfully Republican[19] and in the last six elections the Republican nominee has won more than 64 percent of the vote – over seven percent more than Nixon won in his 3,000-plus-county landslide in 1972.

United States presidential election results for Swisher County, Texas[20]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 1,845 78.34% 478 20.30% 32 1.36%
2016 1,671 75.82% 462 20.96% 71 3.22%
2012 1,655 72.91% 579 25.51% 36 1.59%
2008 1,683 66.39% 813 32.07% 39 1.54%
2004 1,487 70.14% 626 29.53% 7 0.33%
2000 1,612 64.45% 856 34.23% 33 1.32%
1996 1,159 44.71% 1,224 47.22% 209 8.06%
1992 989 33.54% 1,413 47.91% 547 18.55%
1988 1,271 39.98% 1,893 59.55% 15 0.47%
1984 1,611 49.40% 1,642 50.35% 8 0.25%
1980 1,450 43.08% 1,854 55.08% 62 1.84%
1976 753 21.05% 2,811 78.59% 13 0.36%
1972 1,790 57.34% 1,300 41.64% 32 1.02%
1968 1,177 33.06% 1,760 49.44% 623 17.50%
1964 815 25.23% 2,410 74.61% 5 0.15%
1960 1,310 42.22% 1,777 57.27% 16 0.52%
1956 876 32.64% 1,802 67.14% 6 0.22%
1952 1,843 63.07% 1,074 36.76% 5 0.17%
1948 307 15.03% 1,670 81.78% 65 3.18%
1944 331 18.20% 1,275 70.09% 213 11.71%
1940 298 17.20% 1,432 82.63% 3 0.17%
1936 140 8.77% 1,453 90.98% 4 0.25%
1932 166 10.18% 1,448 88.78% 17 1.04%
1928 887 70.34% 374 29.66% 0 0.00%
1924 212 25.89% 573 69.96% 34 4.15%
1920 148 24.58% 443 73.59% 11 1.83%
1916 62 13.60% 381 83.55% 13 2.85%
1912 23 6.63% 278 80.12% 46 13.26%


Education[edit]

School districts:[21]

All of the county is in the service area of Amarillo College.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swisher County, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  4. ^ Schilz, Thomas F. "Battle of Palo Duro Canyon". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Abbe, Donald R; Leffler, John. "Swisher County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "Tulia, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  7. ^ "The Big Country". Texas Monthly: 105. February 1985.
  8. ^ Coppedge, Clay. "Windmills". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  9. ^ "Santa Fe Southern Railway". Santa Fe Southern Railway. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  10. ^ "High Plains Regional Ground Water (HPGW) Study". U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  11. ^ "The Ozark Trails, New Mexico". Drive the old Spanish Trail. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  12. ^ Utley, Dan K; Beeman, Cynthia J (2010). History Ahead: Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers. TAMU Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-60344-151-3.
  13. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  15. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Swisher County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  17. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Swisher County, Texas". United States Census Bureau.
  18. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  19. ^ Cohn, Nate; ‘Demographic Shift: Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats’, New York Times, April 24, 2014
  20. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  21. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Swisher County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 29, 2022. - list
  22. ^ Texas Education Code, Sec. 130.164. AMARILLO COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA..

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°32′N 101°44′W / 34.53°N 101.73°W / 34.53; -101.73