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Holmes County, Florida facts for kids

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Holmes County
Holmes County Courthouse
Holmes County Courthouse
Map of Florida highlighting Holmes County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Florida
Founded January 8, 1848
Seat Bonifay
Largest city Bonifay
 • Total 489 sq mi (1,270 km2)
 • Land 479 sq mi (1,240 km2)
 • Water 10 sq mi (30 km2)  2.1%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 40.8/sq mi (15.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd

Holmes County is a county located in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Florida, in the Panhandle. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,927. Its county seat is Bonifay.


Holmes County was created in 1848.

The county's namesake is a point of debate. Holmes Creek - the county's eastern boundary - bore that name before the county was created, but it was originally named Weekaywehatchee (a Creek Indian name meaning "spring creek"). One claim is that the county was named for Thomas J. Holmes, who came from North Carolina to settle in the area about 1830. Another is that it is named after Holmes, an American Indian chief who settled in the area with his band of Red Stick Creek Indians after 1814. He was subsequently killed in 1818 by a raiding party sent by Andrew Jackson during the First Seminole War.

Holmes County has had four county seats in its history. The first was Hewett's Bluff (later renamed Bear Pen, then Cerro Gordo), then Pittman's Ferry, then Westville, and finally Bonifay. Bonifay has been the county seat since 1905.

Historic places

Historic places in the county include:


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 489 square miles (1,270 km2), of which 479 square miles (1,240 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (2.1%) is water. It is the fifth-smallest county in Florida by total area.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,205
1860 1,386 15.0%
1870 1,572 13.4%
1880 2,170 38.0%
1890 4,336 99.8%
1900 7,762 79.0%
1910 11,557 48.9%
1920 12,850 11.2%
1930 12,924 0.6%
1940 15,447 19.5%
1950 13,988 −9.4%
1960 10,844 −22.5%
1970 10,720 −1.1%
1980 14,723 37.3%
1990 15,778 7.2%
2000 18,564 17.7%
2010 19,927 7.3%
2019 (est.) 19,617 −1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

As of the census of 2000, there were 18,564 people, 6,921 households, and 4,893 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km2). There were 7,998 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.79% White, 6.51% Black or African American, 1.01% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.79% from other races, and 1.48% from two or more races. 1.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,921 households, out of which 30.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.10% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 29.30% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 112.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $27,923, and the median income for a family was $34,286. Males had a median income of $25,982 versus $19,991 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,135. About 15.40% of families and 19.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.70% of those under age 18 and 17.90% of those age 65 or over.

Triracial people

The so-called "Dominickers", a number of related mixed-race (white, black, and Euchee Indian) families, lived for decades after the Civil War and well into the twentieth century in a rural area near Ponce de Leon, with a separate church and segregated public elementary school. Although considered a separate ethnicity from both whites and blacks, many Dominickers married into local white families, so that group boundaries blurred; some descendants still live in the area. The 1950 federal census identified 60 members of this group living in Holmes County at that time. Few facts are known about their origins, and little has been published about them.


The Holmes County Public Library is the county's main library. It is located at 303 North Etheridge Street, Bonifay, Florida 32425. The branch is open Tuesday-Friday 8:00am–5:00pm, and Saturday 8:00am–12:00pm.

Holmes County is also a part of the Panhandle Public Library Cooperative System. The PPLC also includes Calhoun, Jackson, and Washington counties.


Holmes County FL sign at Bonifay on SR79
The Holmes County sign at Bonifay on SR79.



Unincorporated communities

  • Bethlehem
  • Prosperity
  • Gritney
  • Cerrogordo
  • Pittman



  • Tri-County Airport

Major highways


Holmes County has one railroad line. The primary one is the CSX P&A Subdivision, a line formerly owned by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad that served Amtrak's Sunset Limited. This service formerly went to New Orleans, but in 2005 service was truncated by the extensive damage in the Gulf area due to Hurricane Katrina. Another former L&N line existed within the northeastern corner of the county. The Georgiana Branch entered the state and county from Highnote, Alabama then ran through Esto and later Eleanor before crossing SR 2 and leaving the county towards Graceville and Campbellton, where it had a junction with the Bay Line Railroad.


Holmes District School Board operates public schools. Holmes County High School and Ponce de Leon High School are its public high schools. Poplar Springs High School is a K-12 Combination School in Northeastern Holmes County and Bethlehem High School is a K-12 Combination School in the Bethlehem Community.

The Holmes County Public Library is the county's library system. It is located at 303 North J. Harvey Etheridge Street, Bonifay, Florida 32425. The library is open Tuesday-Friday 8:00am–5:00pm, and Saturday 8:00am–12:00pm and offers public computers with internet access, free wi-fi, programming for all ages, and access to e-books, e-audiobooks, and numerous online databases and resources.

Holmes County is also a part of the Panhandle Public Library Cooperative System. PPLCS also includes Calhoun and Jackson counties.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Holmes (Florida) para niños

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