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Coke County, Texas facts for kids

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Coke County
The Coke County Courthouse in Robert Lee
The Coke County Courthouse in Robert Lee
Map of Texas highlighting Coke 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 1889
Named for Richard Coke
Seat Robert Lee
Largest city Robert Lee
 • Total 928 sq mi (2,400 km2)
 • Land 911 sq mi (2,360 km2)
 • Water 17 sq mi (40 km2)  1.8%
 • Total 3,285
 • Density 3.5399/sq mi (1.3668/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 11th

Coke County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 3,285. Its county seat is Robert Lee. The county was founded in 1889 and is named for Richard Coke, the 15th governor of Texas. Coke County was one of 46 prohibition, or entirely dry, counties in the state of Texas, but passed a law allowing the sale of beer and wine in 2005.


Native Americans

From about 1700 to the 1870s, Comanche, Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, Kickapoo and Kiowa roamed the county. These tribes settled in rockshelters in the river and creek valleys, leaving behind artifacts and caches of seeds, implements, burial sites, and petroglyphs, river shells, turkey and deer bones, flint knives, scrapers, and points.

Early Years

In 1851 United States Army post Fort Chadbourne was established to protect the frontier, and the fort was manned until the Civil War. The Butterfield Overland Mail ran through the area from 1858 to 1861.

Between 1860 and the early 1880s, the only settlers in what became Coke County were ranchers attracted to open grazing land. J. J. Austin established his ranch headquarters near Sanco in 1875. Pate Francher settled in the area in 1877.

In 1882, the Texas and Pacific Railway began providing service to San Angelo, and settlers started coming into the region in somewhat larger numbers.

Severe drought in the 1880s led to fence cutting and its attendant issues. State authorities eventually settled the disputes.

A few years later, the county was named after a confederate soldier, a Texas leader, a governor, and a U.S senator named Richard Coke.

County history

The Texas legislature established Coke County in 1889, out of Tom Green County. The county was organized that same year, with Hayrick as county seat. The county's first newspaper, the Hayrick Democrat, began publication in 1889, but was renamed the Rustler.

In 1891, after an election, the new town of Robert Lee became the county seat. Robert E. Lee had once served at Fort Chadbourne. That same year, the county's newspaper moved to the new county seat and was renamed the Robert Lee Observer.

Dr. D.W. Key started the town of Bronte, named after English writer Charlotte Brontë. The town was originally named Oso and then Bronco. A post office was granted in 1890 after residents changed the name to Bronte.

Silver, named after Silver Peak Summit, was settled between 1870 and 1880 as a ranching hub. Early settlers were S.M. Conner, R.B. Allen, W.G. Jameson and W.R. Walker. Dr. Joseph Eaton Reed was for 50 years the only physician. Oil discovery and related industries created a boom in Silver in the mid 20th century. After the oil camps closed down in 1966, Silver’s population slipped drastically.

Eighteen hundred ninety two saw the beginning of the town of Tennyson, named in honor of the British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It procured a post office two years later.

The Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway built tracks north from San Angelo in 1907, which benefited Tennyson, Bronte, and Fort Chadbourne.

Cotton acreage peaked in 1910, but plunged sharply during the 1920s, because of a boll weevil infestation. Expanding during the same period was the production of corn, wheat, sorghum and fruit trees. The county took a big hit during the Great Depression, when population declined.

Oil was discovered in the county in 1942, and by 1991, 209,281,131 barrels (33,273,040.9 m3) had been taken from Coke County lands. Tax money derived from oil profits helped the county to improve infrastructure and public facilities and services for its citizens. Oil production accounts for the major share of income for the county.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 928 square miles (2,400 km2), of which 911 square miles (2,360 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) (1.8%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 277.svg U.S. Highway 277
  • Texas 158.svg State Highway 158
  • Texas 208.svg State Highway 208

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 2,059
1900 3,430 66.6%
1910 6,412 86.9%
1920 4,557 −28.9%
1930 5,253 15.3%
1940 4,590 −12.6%
1950 4,045 −11.9%
1960 3,589 −11.3%
1970 3,087 −14.0%
1980 3,196 3.5%
1990 3,424 7.1%
2000 3,864 12.9%
2010 3,320 −14.1%
2020 3,285 −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Coke County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 2,651 2,473 79.85% 75.28%
Black or African American alone (NH) 7 7 0.21% 0.21%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 19 15 0.57% 0.46%
Asian alone (NH) 5 1 0.15% 0.03%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 1 6 0.03% 0.18%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 0 6 0.00% 0.18%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 35 116 1.05% 3.53%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 602 661 18.13% 20.12%
Total 3,320 3,285 100.00% 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 communities

Ghost Town

See also

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

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Women in Medicine:
Mary Eliza Mahoney
Susie King Taylor
Ida Gray
Eliza Ann Grier
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