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Uvalde County, Texas

Coordinates: 29°21′N 99°46′W / 29.35°N 99.76°W / 29.35; -99.76
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Uvalde County
The Uvalde County Courthouse was built in 1928 in neoclassical design. It is the fifth structure used as the county courthouse, having replaced the previous building constructed in 1890.
The Uvalde County Courthouse was built in 1928 in neoclassical design. It is the fifth structure used as the county courthouse, having replaced the previous building constructed in 1890.
Map of Texas highlighting Uvalde County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 29°21′N 99°46′W / 29.35°N 99.76°W / 29.35; -99.76
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1850 (created)
1856 (organized)
Named forJuan de Ugalde
Largest cityUvalde
 • Total1,559 sq mi (4,040 km2)
 • Land1,552 sq mi (4,020 km2)
 • Water6.7 sq mi (17 km2)  0.4%
 • Total24,564
 • Estimate 
24,729 Increase
 • Density16/sq mi (6.1/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district23rd

Uvalde County (/jˈvældi/ yoo-VAL-dee; Spanish: Condado de Uvalde) is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 24,564.[1] Its county seat is Uvalde.[2] The county was created in 1850 and organized in 1856.[3] It is named for Juan de Ugalde, the Spanish governor of Coahuila. Uvalde County was founded by Reading Wood Black, who also founded the city of Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde County comprises the Uvalde, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Native Americans[edit]

Artifacts establish human habitation dating back to 7000 B.C. Evidence of a permanent Indian village on the Leona River at a place south of the Fort Inge site is indicated in the written accounts of Fernando del Bosque's exploration in 1675. Comanche, Tonkawa, Seminole and Lipan Apache continued hunting and raiding settlers into the 19th century.[4]

Early explorations[edit]

On January 9, 1790, Juan de Ugalde, governor of Coahuila and commandant of the Provincias Internas, led 600 men to a decisive victory over the Apaches near the site of modern Utopia[5] at a place known then as Arroyo de la Soledad. In honor of his victory, the canyon area was thereafter called Cañon de Ugalde. French botanist Jean-Louis Berlandier visited the area in the late 1820s. James Bowie guided a group of silver prospectors into the area of north central Uvalde County in the 1830s. A trail used by General Adrián Woll's Mexican Army on its way to attack San Antonio in 1842 crossed the territory of Uvalde County and became the main highway to San Antonio.

Early settlements[edit]

Fort Inge was established in 1849 to repress Indian depredations on the international border with Mexico, and was served by the Overland Southern Mail.

One of the first settlers to the environs was William Washington Arnett, who arrived in the winter of 1852. The Canyon de Ugalde Land Company, formed by land speculators in San Antonio in 1837, began purchasing headright grants in Uvalde County in the late 1830s. Reading Wood Black,[6] who with a partner, Nathan L. Stratton, purchased an undivided league and labor on the Leona River in 1853 at the future site of Uvalde. May 2, 1855, Black hired San Antonio lithographer Wilhelm Carl August Thielepape,[7] and laid out Encina, the town later known as Uvalde.[8][9] Waresville settlement by Capt. William Ware in the upper Sabinal Canyon and Patterson Settlement by George W. Patterson, John Leakey, and A. B. Dillard on the Sabinal River coincided with Reading Black's development of the Leona River at Encina.[citation needed]

County established and growth[edit]

Uvalde County marker
A scene of the Texas Hill Country in northern Uvalde County
Texas State Highway 55 as it meanders through scenic northwestern Uvalde County near the Nueces River

In November 1855, Reading Wood Black successfully lobbied the Texas Legislature to organize Uvalde County.[citation needed] On May 12, the county was formally organized.[citation needed] On June 14, Encina was named county seat.[citation needed] The second floor of the courthouse was made into a school, and six school districts were organized for the county in 1858. The San Antonio-El Paso Mail route was extended along the county's main road with a stop at Fort Inge in 1857.[citation needed]

Conflict between Mexicans and Anglos during and after the Mexican War continued in Uvalde County, with the reported lynching of eleven Mexicans near the Nueces River in 1855.[citation needed] Laws passed in 1857 prohibited Mexicans from traveling through the county.[citation needed]

Residents of Uvalde County voted 76–16 against secession from the Union. The abandonment of Fort Inge immediately after secession was followed by renewed Indian attacks. Many men in Uvalde County fought for the Confederacy, while some Unionists fled to Mexico to avoid persecution.[10]

Uvalde County endured three decades of unrelenting lawlessness after the Civil War. Violence, lawlessness and Confederate-Union conflicts among citizens were so pervasive that armed guards were employed to assist the county tax assessor and collector, and the county had no sheriff for nearly two years. The years immediately following the Civil War were marked by conflicts between Confederates and Unionists returning to live in Uvalde County. Smugglers, cattle rustlers and horse rustlers, and numerous other desperadoes saturated the area, including notorious cattle rustler, J. King Fisher who was appointed Uvalde sheriff in 1881.[11] Willis Newton of The Newton Gang robbed his first train near Uvalde. Jess and Joe Newton retired to Uvalde.[12]

The Uvalde Umpire began publication in 1878 and the Hesparian in 1879.[citation needed]

The Galveston, Harrisburg, and San Antonio Railway was built through the county, passing through Sabinal and Uvalde City, in 1881.[citation needed]

William M. Landrum introduced Angora goats to the area in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, goats outnumbered cattle.[citation needed]

Old West lawman Pat Garrett lived in the county from 1891 to 1900.[13]

By 1905 the Southern Pacific Railroad had established railheads in Uvalde, Knippa, and Sabinal.[citation needed]

The local bee industry developed a product that received first place in the 1900 Paris World's Fair.[citation needed]

Garner State Park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and opened in 1941. Garner Army Air Field the same year.[citation needed]

The National Fish Hatchery, completed in 1937, produced a million catfish, largemouth bass and sunfish in the 1970s.[citation needed]

Approximately $45 million was generated by farming in Uvalde County in 1974.[citation needed]

In January 1989 Uvalde County withdrew from the Edwards Underground Water District.[citation needed]

In 1990 Uvalde County had a population of 23,340, with 60% identified as Hispanic.[citation needed]


From the Mexican Revolution in 1910, immigrant labor force cleared large tracts of land and dug ditches as irrigation spread throughout the county. The Uvalde and Northern Railway to Camp Wood, the Asphalt Beltway Railway in 1921, and the expansion of the asphalt mines in far southwestern Uvalde County at Blewett and Dabney were completed with the help of Mexican labor. By 1960 Mexican Americans made up one half of Uvalde County's 16,015 population. Seasonal migrant workers continued to move to Uvalde and Sabinal during the 1960s.[citation needed]

The Alien Land Laws of 1891, 1892 and 1921 prohibited ownership of Texas land by non-citizen residents.[14] The laws were repealed in 1965 by the Fifty-ninth Texas Legislature.[citation needed] These and other discriminatory deed restrictions had limited Tejanos in the purchase of town lots in the county.[citation needed]

Efforts to gain civil rights for Hispanics in Uvalde County began with the establishment of the Tomas Valle Post of the American Legion.[citation needed] County churches maintained segregated places of worship until an integrated Catholic church emerged in Uvalde in 1965.[citation needed]

The Mexican American Youth Organization formed in Uvalde City in 1968 and eventually led to a 6-week walkout by more than 600 Mexican-American students an on April 14, 1970.[15][16] The Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to requests by the school board to help control the volatile situation. Senator Walter F. Mondale, chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity, went to Uvalde on July 30, 1970, and criticized city officials in an interview published in the Uvalde Leader News. [17]

A 1970 class action lawsuit was filed by Genoveva Morales on behalf of her children against the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.[18]

In 1975, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that Uvalde C.I.S.D. in Texas had failed to desegregate its school system in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In 1976, the Court ordered Uvalde C.I.S.D. to comply. In 2007, Uvalde C.I.S.D. sought to dismiss the desegregation order. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) opposed. On September 15, 2008, a settlement was reached.[19][20][21]

2017 church bus crash[edit]

On March 29, 2017, thirteen senior citizens from the First Baptist Church of New Braunfels in Comal County who had completed a retreat at Alto Frio Baptist Encampment near Leakey in Real County were killed when Jack D. Young, the 20-year-old driver of a pickup, crashed into the church minivan on U.S. Highway 83 inside Uvalde County near Garner State Park. One person survived the crash in critical condition. The collision was one of the deadliest in memory in Uvalde County.[22]

Young, who worked on his father's ranch and at a golf course and had no criminal record, told a witness, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," and said that he had been on his cell phone at the time of the crash. Jody Kuchler, a welder from Leakey who saw the accident, said that the driver of the church vehicle moved over to try to avoid Young's incoming pickup but was blocked by the presence of a guard rail.[23]

2022 school shooting[edit]

On May 24, 2022, 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.[24] The shooter, Salvador Rolando Ramos, had shot his grandmother before driving to Robb Elementary School, where he entered the building without opposition. Local officers, believing the shooter to be barricaded safely inside the school, stood outside waiting for further instruction. Video shows local officers forcing parents behind police tape, pinning them down and threatening to tase them, preventing them from trying to save their children's lives.[25] After an hour, the killer was shot by BORTAC agents.[26]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,559 square miles (4,040 km2), of which 1,552 square miles (4,020 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (0.4%) is water.[27]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
2021 (est.)24,7290.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[28]
1850–2010[29] 2010–2020[1]
Uvalde County racial/ethnic composition[30][31]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 7,666 6,613 29.03% 26.92%
Black or African American (NH) 110 107 0.42% 0.44%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 62 25 0.23% 0.1%
Asian (NH) 116 158 0.44% 0.64%
Pacific Islander (NH) 6 6 0.02% 0.02%
Some Other Race (NH) 35 66 0.13% 0.27%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 111 272 0.42% 1.11%
Hispanic or Latino 18,299 17,317 69.3% 70.5%
Total 26,405 24,564

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 24,564 people, 8,921 households, and 6,206 families residing in the county.

As of the census[34] of 2000, there were 25,926 people, 8,559 households, and 6,641 families residing in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (6.6 people/km2). There were 10,166 housing units at an average density of 6 units per square mile (2.3 units/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 75.68% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 19.65% from other races, and 3.16% from two or more races. 65.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,559 households, out of which 40.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.42.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 31.4% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 20% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,164, and the median income for a family was $30,671. Males had a median income of $25,135 versus $16,486 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,557. About 19.90% of families and 24.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.9% of those under age 18 and 18.6% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated community[edit]


United States presidential election results for Uvalde County, Texas[35]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 6,174 59.69% 4,073 39.38% 97 0.94%
2016 4,835 53.94% 3,867 43.14% 262 2.92%
2012 4,529 53.69% 3,825 45.35% 81 0.96%
2008 4,590 52.36% 4,126 47.07% 50 0.57%
2004 5,148 60.69% 3,298 38.88% 37 0.44%
2000 4,855 57.66% 3,436 40.81% 129 1.53%
1996 3,494 47.65% 3,397 46.32% 442 6.03%
1992 3,635 42.55% 3,482 40.76% 1,426 16.69%
1988 4,266 53.32% 3,684 46.04% 51 0.64%
1984 4,790 65.73% 2,482 34.06% 15 0.21%
1980 3,887 61.06% 2,402 37.73% 77 1.21%
1976 3,103 56.95% 2,299 42.19% 47 0.86%
1972 3,883 72.89% 1,438 26.99% 6 0.11%
1968 2,252 47.32% 1,736 36.48% 771 16.20%
1964 1,963 45.38% 2,358 54.51% 5 0.12%
1960 2,214 62.33% 1,324 37.27% 14 0.39%
1956 2,449 70.72% 994 28.70% 20 0.58%
1952 2,805 69.36% 1,230 30.42% 9 0.22%
1948 866 34.03% 1,550 60.90% 129 5.07%
1944 856 36.33% 1,322 56.11% 178 7.56%
1940 556 22.85% 1,871 76.90% 6 0.25%
1936 354 16.87% 1,743 83.08% 1 0.05%
1932 422 19.30% 1,759 80.47% 5 0.23%
1928 1,224 62.10% 747 37.90% 0 0.00%
1924 351 20.47% 1,312 76.50% 52 3.03%
1920 237 23.21% 743 72.77% 41 4.02%
1916 92 11.03% 728 87.29% 14 1.68%
1912 53 6.85% 601 77.65% 120 15.50%


School districts within the county include:[36]

Southwest Texas Junior College, the designated community college for the whole county under the Texas Education Code,[37] has a campus next to Uvalde on the site of Garner Field.[38] The Garner Field facility also houses a campus of Sul Ross State University.[39]

See also[edit]


  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.[32][33]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 27, 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 27, 2015.
  4. ^ Ochoa, Ruben E: Uvalde County from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved June 4, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  5. ^ "Utopia, Texas". Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved April 30, 2010. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  6. ^ "A Guide to Reading Wood Black Papers". Texas Archival Resources Online. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  7. ^ Albrecht, Theodore: Wilhelm Carl August Thielepape from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved June 4, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  8. ^ "Uvalde, Texas". Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved April 30, 2010. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  9. ^ "History of Uvalde, Texas". City of Uvalde, TX. Retrieved April 30, 2010. City of Uvalde
  10. ^ "Uvalde Co Military". Uvalde Co TxGenWeb Project. Archived from the original on November 23, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  11. ^ Adams, Paul: J King Fisher from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 4 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  12. ^ Holm, Patricia: The Newton Boys from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved June 4, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  13. ^ "Pat Garrett Historical Marker". Texas Historical Markers. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  14. ^ Alien Land Law from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 4 June 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  15. ^ Santos, Alfredo Rodriguez (July–August 2009). "No Apologies, No Regrets" (PDF). La Voz de Austin: 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Acosta, Teresa Palomo: "Mexican American Youth Organization from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved June 4, 2010. Texas State Historical Association
  17. ^ "About Us". Uvalde Co, Tx. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  18. ^ "Morales v Shannon". MALDEF. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "Plaintiffs' Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss: Morales v Shannon" (PDF). MALDEF. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  20. ^ Rodriguez, Laura (September 16, 2008). "MALDEF Settles Historic School Desegregation Case". MALDEF.
  21. ^ "Speed a factor in deaths: It's not known if people on bus were using seat belts", San Antonio Express-News, March 31, 2017, pp. 1, A10.
  22. ^ Zeke McCormack, "Death Truck: Witness: Pickup driver said he was on phone", San Antonio Express-News, April 1, 2017, pp. 1, A8.
  23. ^ Osborne, Mark; Deliso, Meredith (May 24, 2022). "At least 19 children, 2 adults dead after shooting at Texas elementary school". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  24. ^ "On-scene commander decided not to try to breach classrooms in Texas elementary school shooting, official says". Orange County Register. CNN Wire Service. May 27, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2024.
  25. ^ Chapman, Isabelle; Medina, Daniel A.; Chavez, Nicole; Andone, Dakin; Wolfe, Elizabeth (May 25, 2022). "Uvalde school shooter was in school for up to an hour before law enforcement broke into room where he was barricaded and killed him". CNN. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved May 25, 2022.
  26. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  27. ^ "Decennial Census by Decade". US Census Bureau.
  28. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  29. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  30. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  31. ^ https://www.census.gov/ [not specific enough to verify]
  32. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  33. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  34. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  35. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Uvalde County, TX" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved June 26, 2022. - Text list
  37. ^ "Uvalde". Southwest Texas Junior College. Archived from the original on September 26, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2022. 2401 Garner Field Road, Uvalde, TX 78801
  38. ^ "Uvalde Campus". Sul Ross State University. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022. Retrieved May 27, 2022. Uvalde Campus 2623 Garner Field Road Uvalde, TX 7880

Further reading[edit]

  • Welder, F.A. and R.D. Reeves. (1964). Geology and ground-water resources of Uvalde County, Texas [U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1584]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

External links[edit]

29°21′N 99°46′W / 29.35°N 99.76°W / 29.35; -99.76