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Carson County, Texas facts for kids

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Carson County
Restored filling station in Skellytown, Texas
Map of Texas highlighting Carson County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Texas
Founded 1888
Named for Samuel Price Carson
Seat Panhandle
Largest town Panhandle
 • Total 924 sq mi (2,390 km2)
 • Land 920 sq mi (2,400 km2)
 • Water 3.9 sq mi (10 km2)  0.4%
 • Total 5,807
 • Density 6.285/sq mi (2.4265/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 13th

Carson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 5,807. The county seat is Panhandle. The county was founded in 1876 and later organized in 1888. It is named for Samuel Price Carson, the first secretary of state of the Republic of Texas.

Carson County is included in the Amarillo, TX metropolitan statistical area.


Native Americans

Prehistoric hunter-gatherer were the first inhabitants, followed by the Plains Apache. Modern Apache tribes followed them and were displaced by Comanches. The Comanches were defeated by the United States Army in the Red River War of 1874.

Early Explorations

Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado explored the Llano Estacado in 1541.

County Established and Growth

Carson County was established in 1876 from Bexar County. The county was organized in 1888. Panhandle, the only town at the time, became the county seat.

Ranching began to be established in the county in the 1880s. The JA Ranch encompassed over a million acres (4,000 km²) within six adjoining counties. Richard E. McNalty established the Turkey Track Ranch in 1878. One of the early failed attempts came in 1882 when Charles G. Francklyn purchased 637,440 acres (2,579.6 km2) of railroad lands in adjoining counties to form the Francklyn Land and Cattle Company. The lands were later sold to the White Deer Lands Trust of British bondholders in 1886 and 1887.

Railroads began to reach the county by 1886 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway subsidiary Southern Kansas Railway extended the line into Texas, making Panhandle City a railhead in 1888. In 1889, the Fort Worth and Denver Railway linked Panhandle City with Washburn in Armstrong County. In 1904 the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf bought the line. In 1908 the Southern Kansas of Texas extended its line from Panhandle City to Amarillo, thus making the Kansas-Texas-New Mexico line a major transcontinental route. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad built across the southern edge of the county.

Pumping underground water with windmills resolved the issue of bringing water from Roberts County via the railroad.

White Deer in 1909 became home to Polish Catholic immigrants, who had first settled Panna Maria in Karnes County before migrating to Carson County.

Experimental drilling by Gulf Oil Corporation led to the county's, and the Panhandle's, first oil and gas production in late 1921. Borger field was discovered in 1925, sparking much oil exploration and production of the Panhandle area. By the end of 2000 more than 178,398,900 barrels (28,363,160 m3) of petroleum had been produced from county lands.

In September 1942 the Pantex Ordnance Plant was built on 16,076 acres (65.06 km2) of southwestern Carson County land, to pack and load shells and bombs in support of the World War II effort. Operations ceased August 1945, and in 1949 the site was sold to Texas Tech University at Amarillo for agricultural experimentation. Pantex reopened in 1951 as a nuclear weapons assembly plant. In 1960, Pantex began high explosives development in support of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Pantex has a long-term mission to safely and securely maintain the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and dismantle weapons retired by the military.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 924 square miles (2,390 km2), of which 920 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 3.9 square miles (10 km2) (0.4%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-40.svg Interstate 40
  • US 60.svg U.S. Highway 60
  • Texas 152.svg State Highway 152
  • Texas 207.svg State Highway 207
  • Texas FM 293.svg Farm to Market Road 293

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 356
1900 469 31.7%
1910 2,127 353.5%
1920 3,078 44.7%
1930 7,745 151.6%
1940 6,624 −14.5%
1950 6,852 3.4%
1960 7,781 13.6%
1970 6,358 −18.3%
1980 6,672 4.9%
1990 6,576 −1.4%
2000 6,516 −0.9%
2010 6,182 −5.1%
2020 5,807 −6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Carson County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 5,473 4,873 88.53% 83.92%
Black or African American alone (NH) 35 19 0.57% 0.33%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 56 46 0.91% 0.79%
Asian alone (NH) 19 19 0.31% 0.33%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 0 1 0.00% 0.02%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 0 7 0.00% 0.12%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 74 284 1.20% 4.89%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 525 558 8.49% 9.61%
Total 6,182 5,807 100.00% 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.



Unincorporated community


School districts:

  • Groom Independent School District
  • Panhandle Independent School District
  • Sanford-Fritch Independent School District
  • White Deer Independent School District

All of the county is in the service area of Amarillo College.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Carson para niños

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