kids encyclopedia robot

Reeves County, Texas facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Reeves County
Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos
Reeves County Courthouse in Pecos
Map of Texas highlighting Reeves 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 1884
Named for George R. Reeves
Seat Pecos
Largest city Pecos
 • Total 2,642 sq mi (6,840 km2)
 • Land 2,635 sq mi (6,820 km2)
 • Water 6.7 sq mi (17 km2)  0.3%%
 • Total 14,748
 • Density 5.2/sq mi (2.0/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 23rd

Reeves County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 14,748. Its county seat and most populous city is Pecos. The county was created in 1883 and organized the next year. It is named for George R. Reeves, a Texas state legislator and colonel in the Confederate Army. It is one of the nine counties that comprise the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas. Reeves County comprises the Pecos micropolitan statistical area.


Native Americans

Prehistoric Clovis culture peoples in Reeves County lived in the rock shelters and caves nestled near water supplies. These people left behind artifacts and pictographs as evidence of their presence. Jumano Indians led the Antonio de Espejo 1582–1583 expedition near Toyah Lake on a better route to the farming and trade area of La Junta de los Ríos. Espejo's diary places the Jumano along the Pecos River and its tributaries. The Mescalero Apache frequented San Solomon Springs to irrigate their crops. In 1849 John Salmon "RIP" Ford explored the area between San Antonio and El Paso noting in his mapped report the productive land upon which the Mescalero Indians farmed.

County established and growth

The state legislature formed Reeves from Pecos County in 1883, and named it after Texas legislator and soldier George Robertson Reeves. The county was organized in 1884. The town of Pecos was named as county seat.

Toyah Valley farmers George B. and Robert E. Lyle were the first Anglo settlers 1871. White settlers started arriving in the area four years later, lured by open range ranching. For the remainder of the century, the county economy was dependent upon farming and ranching as it segued into the manufacturing and oil industries of the 20th century.

The Texas and Pacific Railway built through Reeves County in 1881, with stations at Pecos and Toyah. By 1990 the Pecos River Railway had built from Pecos to the New Mexico. Toyahvale, which means "flowing water", became the western terminus of the railroad.

Balmorhea State Park was built at Toyahvale by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park was deeded to the State of Texas in 1934 and opened to the public in 1968.

Pecos Army Air Field was one of the 120 airbases that trained the pioneer Women Airforce Service Pilots to fly military aircraft. At the Pecos installation, WASP flew AT-6, UC-78, and AT-17 in engineering test, administrative, and transporting freight. The base was activated in 1942 as a World War II pilot school. The base was deactivated in 1945. At its peak, the base population of 4,034 rivaled the town of Pecos in size. Portions of the base were sold off over the years, with Pecos Municipal Airport retaining the remainder.

Pecos is the site of the largest private prison in the world, the Reeves County Detention Complex, operated by the GEO Group.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,642 square miles (6,840 km2), of which 2,635 square miles (6,820 km2) is land and 6.7 square miles (17 km2) (0.3%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 1,247
1900 1,847 48.1%
1910 4,392 137.8%
1920 4,457 1.5%
1930 6,407 43.8%
1940 8,006 25.0%
1950 11,745 46.7%
1960 17,644 50.2%
1970 16,526 −6.3%
1980 15,801 −4.4%
1990 15,852 0.3%
2000 13,137 −17.1%
2010 13,783 4.9%
2020 14,748 7.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2020 2020

As of the 2010 United States Census, 13,783 people were living in the county; 77.2% White, 5.0% African American, 0.9% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 14.9% of some other race, and 1.5% of two or more races. About 74.2% were Hispanics or Latinos (of any race).

As of the census of 2000, 13,137 people, 4,091 households, and 3,129 families resided in the county. The population density was 5 people per square mile (2/km2). The 5,043 housing units averaged 2 per square mi2 (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 79.33% White, 2.10% African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 15.04% from other races, and 2.68% from two or more races. Around 73.38% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 4,091 households, 38.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.60% were married couplesliving together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.50% were not families. About 21.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93, and the average family size was 3.45.

In the county, the age distribution was 29.90% under 18, 11.30% from 18 to 24, 25.20% from 25 to 44, 21.00% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,306, and for a family was $24,856. Males had a median income of $23,913 versus $13,248 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,811. About 25.40% of families and 28.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.20% of those under age 18 and 21.60% of those age 65 or over.

Ranching Industry

The sprawling 320,000 deeded acre (1,400 km²) La Escalera Ranch headquarters is located 20 miles south of Fort Stockton, Texas and is owned and operated by the Gerald Lyda family. The ranch extends over much of Pecos County and portions of Reeves County, Brewster County, Archer County, and Baylor County.

Originally owned by California-based Elsinore Land & Cattle Company, the 100-year-old ranch was acquired by building contractor Gerald Lyda of San Antonio, Texas and renamed La Escalera Ranch (Spanish for "The Ladder"). It is known for its reputation Black Angus cattle and its abundant wildlife. Gerald Lyda died in 2005. Today, the ranch is owned and operated by Lyda's sons Gerald D. and Gene Lyda, as well as Lyda's daughter Jo Lyda Granberg.

Located near the entrance to the ranch is Sierra Madera crater. La Escalera Ranch has been ranked by Texas Monthly, Worth and The Land Report magazines as one of the largest cattle ranches in Texas and in fact, all of the United States.




Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost Town

See also

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

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