kids encyclopedia robot

Freestone County, Texas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Freestone County
The Freestone County Courthouse in Fairfield
The Freestone County Courthouse in Fairfield
Map of Texas highlighting Freestone 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 1851; 170 years ago (1851)
Seat Fairfield
Largest city Teague
Area
 • Total 892 sq mi (2,310 km2)
 • Land 878 sq mi (2,270 km2)
 • Water 14 sq mi (40 km2)  1.6%%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 19,816
 • Density 23/sq mi (9/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 17th

Freestone County is a county located in the east-central part of the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 19,816. Its county seat is Fairfield. The county was created in 1850 and organized the next year.

History

Native Americans

The farming Kichai band of the Caddoan Mississippian culture dates as far back as 200 BCE in the area. The Hernando de Soto expedition of 1541 resulted in violent encounters. Spanish and French missionaries brought smallpox, measles, malaria, and influenza epidemics against which the Caddo had no immunity. Eventually, the Caddo were forced to reservations.

The Tawakoni branch of Wichita Indians originated north of Texas, but migrated south into east Texas. From 1843 onward, the Tawakoni were part of treaties made by both the Republic of Texas and the United States. Tawakoni were also sometimes known as Tehuacana.

County established

Freestone County, TX sign IMG 2301

In 1826, empresario David G. Burnet received a grant from the Coahuila y Tejas legislature to settle 300 families. By contracting how many families each grantee could settle, the government sought to have some control over colonization.

The threat of Indian hostilities kept most from homesteading in Freestone County until the Treaty of Bird's Fort. Within three years of the treaty, colonization, primarily from Southern states, had been so successful that the counties surrounding Freestone had already been organized. In 1850 the Texas legislature formed Freestone County from Limestone County. Freestone is a descriptive name referring to the quality of the soil. The county was organized in 1851. Fairfield became the county seat. Of the county's total 1860 population of 6,881, more than half (3,613) were slaves.

Freestone County voted 585–3 in favor of secession from the Union. While the loss of slave labor may have hurt the economy, by Reconstruction, the number of farms doubled.

The Houston and Texas Central Railway and the International – Great Northern Railroad skirted the county to the west and south in 1870, giving the local economy a boost. The Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway, laid track across the county in 1906, helping the growing economy.

When the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution took effect in 1920, banning the sale, manufacturing and transportation of alcoholic beverages for public consumption, until its repeal by the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1933, some enterprising individuals in Freestone followed a national trend and began bootlegging for profit. It put food on the table during a period when the local economy was in a downward slide.

In 1969, Texas Utilities Generating Company located a new power plant near Fairfield, creating many local jobs. A dam was built to create Fairfield Lake as a cooling system for the plant. Fairfield Lake State Park was opened to the public in 1972.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 892 square miles (2,310 km2), of which 878 square miles (2,270 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (1.6%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-45.svg Interstate 45
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • US 84.svg U.S. Highway 84
  • US 287.svg U.S. Highway 287
  • Texas 14.svg State Highway 14
  • Texas 75.svg State Highway 75
  • Texas 164.svg State Highway 164
  • Texas 179.svg State Highway 179

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,881
1870 8,139 18.3%
1880 14,921 83.3%
1890 15,987 7.1%
1900 18,910 18.3%
1910 20,557 8.7%
1920 23,264 13.2%
1930 22,589 −2.9%
1940 21,138 −6.4%
1950 15,696 −25.7%
1960 12,525 −20.2%
1970 11,116 −11.2%
1980 14,830 33.4%
1990 15,818 6.7%
2000 17,867 13.0%
2010 19,816 10.9%
2019 (est.) 19,717 −0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the census of 2010, 19,816 people, 6,588 households, and 4,664 families were residing in the county. The population density was 20 people/sq mi (8/km2). The 8,138 housing units averaged 9/sq mi (4/km2).

The racial makeup of the county was 73.1% White, 16.1% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 8.1% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. About 13.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 7,259 households, 28% had children under 18 living with them, 54.5% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were not families. About 27% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.51, and the average family size was 3.05.

In the county, the age distribution was 23.6% under 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 110.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 110.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,560, and for a family was $59,696. Males had a median income of $30,633 versus $19,214 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,338. About 9.80% of families and 14.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.80% of those under age 18 and 14.30% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Towns

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Historic communities

Historic communities in Freestone County have included Baty, Beene, Blunt, Bonner, Bowling, Brewster, Butler, Cobb, Cotton Gin, Driver, Flowerdale, Freestone, Goetz, Harp, Israel, Ivory, Keechil, Lakeport, Lanely, Long Bottom, Luna, Mills, Milton, Morehead, Mount Zion, Pinoak, Pyburn, Shanks, St. Elmo, Starling, Steward's Mill, Stonewall, Troy, Turlington, Valota, Wakefield, West Point, Winkler, Yedell, Yerby, and Young. [1]

Notable residents

See also: :Category:People from Freestone County, Texas
  • Leonard Davis (born 1978), NFL offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, grew up in Wortham.
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson (1893–1929), blues musician, was born near Wortham.
  • Washington Phillips (1880–1954), gospel blues musician, was born in the county.
  • George Watkins (1900–70), Major League Baseball player who owns the record for highest batting average as a rookie, was born in the county.

Images for kids

kids search engine
Freestone County, Texas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.