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Bowie County, Texas facts for kids

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Bowie County
The Bowie County Courthouse
The Bowie County Courthouse
Map of Texas highlighting Bowie County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1840
Named for James Bowie
Seat Boston (legal);
New Boston (courthouse)
Largest city Texarkana
 • Total 923 sq mi (2,390 km2)
 • Land 885 sq mi (2,290 km2)
 • Water 38 sq mi (100 km2)  4.1%%
 • Total 92,565
 • Density 105/sq mi (41/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 4th

Bowie County ( BOO-ee) is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 92,565. Its legal county seat is Boston, though its courthouse is located in New Boston. The county is named for James Bowie, the legendary knife fighter who died at the Battle of the Alamo. Bowie County is part of the Texarkana metropolitan statistical area. Bowie County is no longer one of the seven dry counties in the state of Texas. Both the city of Nash and the city of Texarkana (on November 6, 2013 and November 5, 2014, respectively) have since passed laws to allow the sale of beer and wine.


Native Americans

The farming Caddoan Mississippian culture dates as early as the Late Archaic Period 1500 BCE in Bowie County. The Hernando de Soto expedition of 1541 resulted in violent encounters. Spanish and French missionaries brought a smallpox, measles malaria and influenza epidemics against which the Caddo had no immunity. Eventually, these issues and problems with the Osage, forced the Caddo to abandon their reservations. Settlers had peaceful relations with the 19th Century Shawnee, Delaware, and Kickapoo in the area.

Explorations and county established

French explorer Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe founded the military fort Le Poste des Cadodaquious in 1719 . The fort remained in continuous use until 1770. The Red River Expedition of 1806 which passed through Bowie County, headed by Thomas Freeman and Dr. Peter Custis, was of great diplomatic and economic importance to President Thomas Jefferson. Bowie County was established in December 1840 and named for James Bowie, reduced to its present size in 1846. DeKalb was the temporary county seat, with Boston becoming the permanent county seat in 1841.

Bowie County in the years leading up to the American Civil War was settled mostly by Southerners who brought their slave labor system to work the cotton fields. By 1860, slaves outnumbered whites 2,651 to 2,401. The county voted 208-15 in favor of secession from the Union. While Bowie was never a battlefield in that war, it was nevertheless occupied during Reconstruction. Between 1860 and 1870 the population declined.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway was constructed through the county, a new town named Texarkana was founded.

Bowie was hit hard by the Great Depression like everywhere else. Measurable relief came late when the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant was established in 1942. The base was active until 2009. The Red River Army Depot, opened in 1941, remains active. The two installations occupied almost 40,000 acres (160 km2) and provided job opportunities for thousands.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 923 square miles (2,390 km2), of which 885 square miles (2,290 km2) is land and 38 square miles (98 km2) (4.1%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-30
  • I-49
  • I-369
  • US 59
  • US 67
  • US 71
  • US 82
  • US 259
  • SH 14
  • FM 44
  • SH 93
  • SH 151
  • FM 558
  • FM 559
  • FM 989
  • FM 1397
  • FM 2148

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,912
1860 5,052 73.5%
1870 4,684 −7.3%
1880 10,965 134.1%
1890 20,267 84.8%
1900 26,676 31.6%
1910 34,827 30.6%
1920 39,472 13.3%
1930 48,563 23.0%
1940 50,208 3.4%
1950 61,966 23.4%
1960 59,971 −3.2%
1970 67,813 13.1%
1980 75,301 11.0%
1990 81,665 8.5%
2000 89,306 9.4%
2010 92,565 3.6%
2019 (est.) 93,245 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2018

As of the census of 2000, 89,306 people, 33,058 households, and 23,438 families resided in the county. The population density was 101 inhabitants per square mile (39/km2). The 36,463 housing units averaged 41 per square mile (16/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 73.26% White, 23.42% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. About 4.47% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 33,058 households, 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.00% were married couples living together, 15.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were not families; 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county, the population was distributed as 24.80% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,001, and for a family was $41,108. Males had a median income of $31,883 versus $21,439 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,357. About 13.80% of families and 17.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.00% of those under age 18 and 12.40% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated communities

Ghost town


These school districts serve Bowie County:

  • De Kalb ISD
  • Hooks ISD
  • Hubbard ISD
  • Leary ISD
  • Liberty-Eylau ISD
  • Malta ISD
  • Maud ISD
  • New Boston ISD
  • Pleasant Grove ISD
  • Red Lick ISD
  • Redwater ISD
  • Simms ISD
  • Texarkana ISD
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