Jeff Davis County, Texas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
See also: Jeff Davis County (disambiguation)
Jeff Davis County, Texas
Map
Map of Texas highlighting Jeff Davis County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the USA highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1887
Seat Fort Davis
Largest community Fort Davis
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

2,265 sq mi (5,866 km²)
2,265 sq mi (5,866 km²)
0.08 sq mi (0 km²), 0%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

2,156
1.0/sq mi (0/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website: www.co.jeff-davis.tx.us
Named for: Jefferson Davis

Jeff Davis County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 2,342. Its county seat is Fort Davis. The county is named for Jefferson Davis, who served as the 23rd United States Secretary of War in the 1850s, and then, during the American Civil War, as President of the Confederate States of America. Jeff Davis County is easily recognizable for its unique shape; it is a pentagon which has no north-south nor east-west boundaries, save for a six mile line serving as its southern boundary. it also is the only county in the United States that touches a foreign country (Mexico) at a single point. Jeff Davis is also one of the nine counties that compose the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas.

The county contains the 270,000-acre (1,100 km2) Texas Davis Mountains American Viticultural Area, though only about 50 acres (0.2 km2) is currently under vine. The McDonald Observatory is located near Fort Davis, and is owned by the University of Texas at Austin.

History

Native Americans

Prehistoric peoples camped at Phantom Lake Spring, in northeastern Jeff Davis County, and may have used the springs for irrigation. Indian pictographs in The Painted Comanche Camp of Limpia Canyon were discovered by the Whiting and Smith Expedition of 1849.

In August 1861, Mescalero Apaches under Chief Nicolas made an attack on Fort Davis, driving off livestock and killing three people. In the ensuing chase by the cavalry, Nicolas ambushed the soldiers, killing them all. September 1868 at Horsehead Hills, a group of volunteer Mexicans and Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Davis attacked and destroyed a Mescalero village to recover captives and stolen livestock. January 1870, a group of soldiers attacked a Mescalero Apache village near Delaware Creek in the Guadalupe Mountains. July 1880 soldiers at Tinaja de las Palmas attacked a group of Mescaleros led by Chief Victorio. August 1880, Buffalo Soldiers ambushed Victorio at Rattlesnake Springs. Victorio retreated to Mexico and was killed in October by Mexican soldiers. The last Indian depredation in the area was at Barry Scobee Mountain in 1881.

Early days

Officers Row at Fort Davis
Officers Row at Fort Davis National Historic Site

In March 1849 lieutenants William H. C. Whiting and William F. Smith were sent out by Maj. Gen. William J. Worth of the Texas 8th Military Department to look for a route from San Antonio to El Paso del Norte. A second party, led by Dr. John S. Ford and financed by a group of Austin merchants, pioneered a trail that ran north of the Davis Mountains before turning southward toward El Paso. June 1849 Lt. Col. Joseph E. Johnston, attached to Bvt. Maj. Jefferson Van Horne’s battalion, was sent for additional surveying. At El Paso, Horne established Fort Bliss. Texas Ranger Big Foot Wallace escorted the San Antonio-El Paso Mail coach through the mountains. Fort Davis was established in 1854.The land was leased from surveyor John James at $300 a year. The fort was surrendered to the Confederacy in 1861, and abandoned in 1862 after Confederate defeat at Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, but was reoccupied by U.S. troops July 1, 1867.

County establishment and growth

The legislature established Jeff Davis County on March 15, 1887. Fort Davis was named county seat. Cattle ranchers began operating in the county in the 1880s. The towns of Valentine and Chispa became supply centers for the ranchers and later railroad stops.

Fort Davis has always been the county's largest town. By 1970, Madera Springs was known as the smallest town in Texas. Davis Mountains State Park opened to the public in the 1930s.Fort Davis National Historic Site was established in 1961. The Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute arboretum was established in 1974.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,265 square miles (5,870 km2), virtually all of which is land. The county is home to the Davis Mountains, the highest mountain range located entirely within the state of Texas.

Protected areas

Gator Lodge (5055657254)
Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park

The county has parks and preserves maintained by federal and state park services as well as the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute and The Nature Conservancy of Texas. In addition to the properties listed below, The Nature Conservancy has been instrumental in the creation of conservation easements protecting an additional 69,600 acres (28,200 ha) of private property surrounding its preserve.

Park or preserve Maintaining authority Area Year established
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute 507 acres (205 ha) 1978
Davis Mountains State Park Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 2,709 acres (1,096 ha) 1933
Davis Mountains Preserve The Nature Conservancy of Texas 33,075 acres (13,385 ha) 1997
Fort Davis National Historic Site National Park Service 523 acres (212 ha) 1961

Major highways

See also: List of highways in Jeff Davis County, Texas
  • I-10.svg Interstate 10
  • US 90.svg U.S. Highway 90
  • Texas 17.svg State Highway 17
  • Texas 118.svg State Highway 118
  • Texas 166.svg State Highway 166

Adjacent counties and municipios

Climate

Jeff Davis County predominantly experiences a semi-arid steppe climate with 83.0% of the county classified as cold semi-arid (Köppen BSk) and 0.4% classified as hot semi-arid (Köppen BSh). An additional 16.5% is classified as having a hot arid desert climate (Köppen BWh). Within the county, precipitation increases while daytime and nighttime temperatures generally become milder with increasing elevation. Rainfall is most abundant from May through October. Snowfall is also more abundant at higher elevations despite having higher wintertime average low temperatures.

Fort Davis
See also: Fort Davis, Texas#Climate
Climate data for Fort Davis, Texas (Jan 1, 1902–Mar 31, 2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60.8
(16)
64.4
(18)
71.3
(21.83)
78.9
(26.06)
85.8
(29.89)
90.3
(32.39)
88.4
(31.33)
87.4
(30.78)
83.2
(28.44)
76.9
(24.94)
67.5
(19.72)
60.6
(15.89)
76.29
(24.606)
Average low °F (°C) 28.8
(-1.78)
31.8
(-0.11)
37.3
(2.94)
45.0
(7.22)
53.4
(11.89)
60.3
(15.72)
62.1
(16.72)
61.0
(16.11)
55.3
(12.94)
45.7
(7.61)
35.9
(2.17)
29.7
(-1.28)
45.53
(7.514)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.50
(12.7)
0.46
(11.7)
0.38
(9.7)
0.54
(13.7)
1.31
(33.3)
1.98
(50.3)
2.85
(72.4)
2.91
(73.9)
2.27
(57.7)
1.35
(34.3)
0.54
(13.7)
0.55
(14)
15.64
(397.3)
Source: Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute


McDonald Observatory
See also: McDonald Observatory#Climate
Climate data for Mount Locke, Texas (Jan 1, 1935–Mar 31, 2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 53.5
(11.94)
56.9
(13.83)
63.7
(17.61)
71.4
(21.89)
78.6
(25.89)
84.5
(29.17)
82.7
(28.17)
81.3
(27.39)
76.6
(24.78)
70.5
(21.39)
61.2
(16.22)
54.4
(12.44)
69.61
(20.894)
Average low °F (°C) 32.0
(0)
33.9
(1.06)
38.2
(3.44)
45.2
(7.33)
52.4
(11.33)
58.2
(14.56)
58.9
(14.94)
58.4
(14.67)
54.4
(12.44)
48.0
(8.89)
38.7
(3.72)
33.6
(0.89)
45.99
(7.773)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.68
(17.3)
0.49
(12.4)
0.40
(10.2)
0.50
(12.7)
1.63
(41.4)
2.49
(63.2)
3.82
(97)
3.69
(93.7)
2.95
(74.9)
1.61
(40.9)
0.61
(15.5)
0.60
(15.2)
19.47
(494.5)
Source: Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute


Valentine
See also: Valentine, Texas#Climate
Climate data for Valentine, Texas (Jun 1, 1978–Mar 31, 2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60.3
(15.72)
65.0
(18.33)
72.0
(22.22)
80.0
(26.67)
87.7
(30.94)
93.8
(34.33)
92.1
(33.39)
90.3
(32.39)
86.0
(30)
78.9
(26.06)
68.3
(20.17)
60.6
(15.89)
77.92
(25.509)
Average low °F (°C) 27.0
(-2.78)
30.5
(-0.83)
36.0
(2.22)
43.3
(6.28)
52.2
(11.22)
60.9
(16.06)
62.9
(17.17)
61.6
(16.44)
56.3
(13.5)
46.6
(8.11)
35.1
(1.72)
27.7
(-2.39)
45.01
(7.227)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.42
(10.7)
0.46
(11.7)
0.24
(6.1)
0.42
(10.7)
0.77
(19.6)
1.99
(50.5)
2.46
(62.5)
2.22
(56.4)
2.11
(53.6)
1.33
(33.8)
0.50
(12.7)
0.53
(13.5)
13.45
(341.6)
Source: Western Regional Climate Center, Desert Research Institute


Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,394
1900 1,150 −17.5%
1910 1,678 45.9%
1920 1,445 −13.9%
1930 1,800 24.6%
1940 2,375 31.9%
1950 2,090 −12.0%
1960 1,582 −24.3%
1970 1,527 −3.5%
1980 1,647 7.9%
1990 1,946 18.2%
2000 2,207 13.4%
2010 2,342 6.1%
Est. 2015 2,156 −7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,342 people residing in the county. 90.2% were White, 1.0% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 5.8% of some other race and 2.0% of two or more races. 33.7% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,207 people, 896 households, and 632 families residing in the county. The population density was less than 1/km² (1/sq mi). There were 1,420 housing units at an average density of less than 1/km² (1/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 90.53% White, 0.91% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 5.17% from other races, and 2.99% from two or more races. 35.48% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 896 households out of which 27.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.80% were married couples living together, 6.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.40% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.40% under the age of 18, 5.30% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 30.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 104.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $32,212, and the median income for a family was $39,083. Males had a median income of $27,011 versus $21,384 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,846. About 14.10% of families and 15.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.10% of those under age 18 and 19.60% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Town

Census designated place

Unincorporated communities

  • Crow's Nest
  • Davis Mountains Resort
  • Limpia Creek Crossing
  • Mano Prieto

Former communities

  • Chispa
  • Madera Springs
  • Wendell

In popular culture

The Mountain Goats recorded a song called Jeff Davis County Blues on the 2002 album All Hail West Texas.

Images for kids


Jeff Davis County, Texas Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.