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Palo Pinto County, Texas facts for kids

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Palo Pinto County
The Palo Pinto County courthouse in Palo Pinto: The limestone structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
The Palo Pinto County courthouse in Palo Pinto: The limestone structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
Map of Texas highlighting Palo Pinto 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 1857
Named for Palo Pinto Creek
Seat Palo Pinto
Largest city Mineral Wells
 • Total 986 sq mi (2,550 km2)
 • Land 952 sq mi (2,470 km2)
 • Water 34 sq mi (90 km2)  3.4%
 • Total 28,409
 • Density 28.812/sq mi (11.125/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 11th

Palo Pinto County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 28,409. The county seat is Palo Pinto. The county was created in 1856 and organized the following year.

Palo Pinto County comprises the Mineral Wells micropolitan statistical area, which is part of the DallasFort Worth combined statistical area. It is located in the western Cross Timbers ecoregion.


The abandoned Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells

Native Americans

The Brazos Indian Reservation, founded by General Randolph B. Marcy in 1854, provided a safety area from warring Comanche for Delaware, Shawnee, Tonkawa, Wichita, and Caddo. Within the reservation, each tribe had its own village and cultivated agricultural crops. Government-contracted beeves were delivered each week. Citizens were unable to distinguish between reservation and non-reservation tribes, blaming Comanche and Kiowa depredations on the reservation Indians. A newspaper in Jacksboro, Texas titled The White Man advocated removal of all tribes from north Texas.

During December 1858, Choctaw Tom, at times an interpreter to Sam Houston, and a group of reservation Indians received permission for an off-the-reservation hunt. On December 27, Captain Peter Garland and a vigilante group charged Choctaw Tom’s camp, indiscriminately murdering and injuring women and children along with the men. Citizens feared retribution from reservations tribes.

Governor Hardin Richard Runnels ordered John Henry Brown to the area with 100 troops. An examining trial was conducted about the Choctaw Tom raid, but no indictments resulted.

May 1859, John Baylor and a number of whites confronted United States troops at the reservation, demanding the surrender of certain tribal individuals. The military balked, and Baylor retreated, but in so doing killed an Indian woman and an old man. Baylor’s group was later attacked by Indians off the reservation, where the military had no authority to intervene. At the behest of terrified settlers, the reservation was abandoned that year.

County established

In 1856 the Texas state legislature established Palo Pinto County from Bosque and Navarro counties and named for Palo Pinto Creek. The county was organized the next year, with the town of Golconda chosen to be the seat of government. The town was renamed Palo Pinto in 1858.

Early ranching and farming years

Ranching entrepreneurs Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight, who blazed the Goodnight-Loving Trail, along with Reuben Vaughan were the nucleus of the original settlers. An 1876 area rancher meeting regarding cattle rustling became the beginnings of what is now known as the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

Fence Cutting Wars in Texas lasted for approximately five years, 1883-1888. As farmers and ranchers began to compete for precious land and water, cattlemen found it more difficult to feed their herds, prompting cowboys to cut through fences. Texas Governor John Ireland prodded a special assembly to order the fence cutters to cease. In response, the legislature made fence-cutting and pasture-burning crimes punishable with prison time, while at the same time regulating fencing. The practice abated with sporadic incidents of related violence 1888.

Later growth years

James and Amanda Lynch first moved to the area in 1877. In digging a well on their property, they discovered the water seemed to benefit their well-being. Word spread about the water’s healing powers, and people from all over came to experience the benefits. Eventually, the town of Mineral Wells was platted. The Mineral Wells State Park was opened to the public in 1981.

The Texas National Guard organized the 56th Cavalry Brigade in 1921, and four years later Brigadier General Jacob F. Wolters was given a grant to construct a training camp for the unit. In 1941, Camp Wolters was turned over to the United States Army. It was redesignated Wolters Air Force Base in 1951. Five years later, the base reverted to the Army as a helicopter trailing school . The base closed in 1973 when the helicopter school transferred to Fort Rucker in Alabama.

Possum Kingdom Lake was acquired from the Brazos River Authority in 1940. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the facilities, and the Possum Kingdom State Park opened to the public in 1950.

Upham Oil and Gas Company has operated in Palo Pinto County since its founding in 1956 by the late Chet Upham of Mineral Wells, who was also the chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1979-1983. The company is now run by his son, Chester Robert Upham, III.

Circa 1992, licensed wildlife rehabilitator Amanda Lollar purchased an old building in Mineral Wells that had become a residence for thousands of wild bats. Lollar operated the building as Bat World Sanctuary.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 986 square miles (2,550 km2), of which 952 square miles (2,470 km2) is land and 34 square miles (88 km2) (3.4%) is water.


Major highways

  • I-20.svg Interstate 20
  • US 180.svg U.S. Highway 180
  • US 281.svg U.S. Highway 281
  • Texas 16.svg State Highway 16
  • Texas 108.svg State Highway 108

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 1,524
1880 5,885
1890 8,320 41.4%
1900 12,291 47.7%
1910 19,506 58.7%
1920 23,431 20.1%
1930 17,576 −25.0%
1940 18,456 5.0%
1950 17,154 −7.1%
1960 20,516 19.6%
1970 28,962 41.2%
1980 24,062 −16.9%
1990 25,055 4.1%
2000 27,026 7.9%
2010 28,111 4.0%
2020 28,409 1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010 2020

2020 census

Palo Pinto County, Texas - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 21,958 20,778 78.11% 73.14%
Black or African American alone (NH) 597 552 2.12% 1.94%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 135 149 0.48% 0.52%
Asian alone (NH) 132 211 0.47% 0.74%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 11 12 0.04% 0.04%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 13 69 0.05% 0.24%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 280 1,024 1.00% 3.60%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 4,985 5,614 17.73% 19.76%
Total 28,111 28,409 100.00% 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

Other unincorporated communities

Notable people

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Palo Pinto para niños

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