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Cherokee County, Texas facts for kids

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Cherokee County
The Cherokee County Courthouse in Rusk
The Cherokee County Courthouse in Rusk
Map of Texas highlighting Cherokee 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 July 13, 1846
Named for Cherokee people
Seat Rusk
Largest city Jacksonville
 • Total 1,062 sq mi (2,750 km2)
 • Land 1,053 sq mi (2,730 km2)
 • Water 9.3 sq mi (24 km2)  0.9%
 • Total 50,412
 • Density 47.469/sq mi (18.328/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 5th

Cherokee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 50,412. The county seat is Rusk, which lies 130 miles southeast of Dallas and 160 miles north of Houston. The county was named for the Cherokee, who lived in the area before being expelled in 1839.

Cherokee County comprises the Jacksonville, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Tyler-Jacksonville, TX Combined Statistical Area.


Native Americans

Caddo Mound TX
Caddo Mounds at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in Cherokee County

The Hasinai group of the Caddo tribe built a village in the area about AD 800. and continued to live in the area until the 1830s, when they migrated to the Brazos River. The Federal government moved them to the Brazos Indian Reservation in 1855 and later to Oklahoma.

The Cherokee, Delaware, Shawnee, and Kickapoo Native American people began settling in the area circa 1820. The Texas Cherokee tried unsuccessfully to gain a grant to their own land from the Mexican government.

Sam Houston, adopted son of Chief Oolooteka (John Jolly) of the Cherokee, negotiated the January 14, 1836, treaty between Chief Bowl of the Cherokee and the Republic of Texas. On December 16, 1837, the Texas Senate declared the treaty null and void, and encroachment of Cherokee lands continued. On October 5, 1838, Indians massacred members of the Isaac Killough family at their farm northwest of the site of present Jacksonville, leading to the Cherokee War of 1839 and the expulsion of all Indians from the land which was to become the county of Cherokee.

Early exploration and settlers

Domingo Terán de los Ríos and Father Damián Massanet explored the area on behalf of Spain in 1691. Louis Juchereau de St. Denis began trading with the Hasinais in 1705. Nuestro Padre San Francisco de los Tejas Mission was originally established in 1690 but was re-established in 1716 by Captain Domingo Ramon. It was abandoned again because of French incursions and re-established in 1721 by the Marques de San Miguel de Aguyao.

In 1826, empresario David G. Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families. then. The settlers were mostly from the southern states and brought with that lifestyle with them. By contracting how many families each grantee could settle, the government sought to have some control over colonization.

County established and growth

Cherokee County Veterans Monument, Jacksonville, TX IMG 3005
Cherokee Veterans Monument in Jacksonville, Texas

Cherokee County was formed from land given by Nacogdoches County in 1846. It was organized the same year. The town of Rusk became the county seat.

Cherokee County voted in favor of secession from the Union, during the build-up to the Civil War.

In 1872, the International – Great Northern Railroad caused Jacksonville to relocate two miles east, to be near the tracks. The Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railway was built north-to-south through the county between 1882 and 1885. The Texas and New Orleans Railroad in 1905, and the Texas State Railroad in 1910, each gave rise to new county towns along their tracks.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,062 square miles (2,750 km2), of which 1,053 square miles (2,730 km2) is land and 9.3 square miles (24 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 69.svg U.S. Highway 69
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • US 84.svg U.S. Highway 84
  • US 175.svg U.S. Highway 175
  • Texas 21.svg State Highway 21
  • Texas 110.svg State Highway 110
  • Texas 135.svg State Highway 135
  • Texas 204.svg State Highway 204
  • Texas 294.svg State Highway 294

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Neches River National Wildlife Refuge (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 6,673
1860 12,098 81.3%
1870 11,079 −8.4%
1880 16,723 50.9%
1890 22,975 37.4%
1900 25,154 9.5%
1910 29,038 15.4%
1920 37,633 29.6%
1930 43,180 14.7%
1940 43,970 1.8%
1950 38,694 −12.0%
1960 33,120 −14.4%
1970 32,008 −3.4%
1980 38,127 19.1%
1990 41,049 7.7%
2000 46,659 13.7%
2010 50,845 9.0%
2020 50,412 −0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Cherokee County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 31,892 30,095 62.72% 59.70%
Black or African American alone (NH) 7,401 6,359 14.56% 12.61%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 125 128 0.25% 0.25%
Asian alone (NH) 221 263 0.43% 0.52%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 6 18 0.01% 0.04%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 36 123 0.07% 0.24%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 665 1,629 1.31% 3.23%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 10,499 11,797 20.65% 23.40%
Total 50,845 50,412 100.00% 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.




Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns


School districts:

  • Alto Independent School District
  • Bullard Independent School District
  • Carlisle Independent School District
  • Jacksonville Independent School District
  • New Summerfield Independent School District
  • Rusk Independent School District
  • Troup Independent School District
  • Wells Independent School District

Areas in Bullard, Jacksonville, New Summerfield, Rusk, and Troup are assigned to Tyler Junior College. Areas of Cherokee County in Alto ISD and Wells ISD are assigned to Angelina College. Areas in Carlisle ISD are assigned to Kilgore Junior College. Legislation does not specify a community college for the remainder of the county.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Cherokee (Texas) para niños

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