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Swisher County, Texas facts for kids

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Swisher County
The Swisher County Courthouse in Tulia
The Swisher County Courthouse in Tulia
Map of Texas highlighting Swisher 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 1890
Seat Tulia
Largest city Tulia
 • Total 901 sq mi (2,330 km2)
 • Land 890 sq mi (2,300 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (30 km2)  1.2%%
 • Total 7,854
 • Density 8.8/sq mi (3.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 13th

Swisher County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 7,854. Its county seat is Tulia. The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1890. It is named for James G. Swisher, a soldier of the Texas Revolution and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

At one time, the large JA Ranch, founded by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, and later owned by Goodnight and Cornelia Adair, reached into six counties, including Swisher.


Native Americans

Apachean cultures roamed the county until Comanche dominated around 1700. The Comanches were defeated by the United States Army in the Red River War of 1874. No significant combat occurred in the county. After the 1874 battle of Palo Duro Canyon, Ranald S. Mackenzie ordered 1450 Indian horses shot. The Buffalo Hunters' War of 1876 was an attempt by the Comanches to drive out the white man and stop depletion of their hunting grounds.

County established and growth

In 1876 the Texas state legislature carved Swisher County from Young and Bexar districts. The county was organized in 1880, and Tulia, became the county seat.

The area was by and large unsettled until the JA Ranch of Charles Goodnight came in 1883, which added the Tule Ranch.

Although settlers gradually arrived, the county was dominated by ranching the remainder of the 19th Century. Good underground water at shallow depths gave to windmills that facilitated the stock-farmer.

In 1906, the Santa Fe Railroad branch line from Amarillo came through the county and later connected the county with Hale County, and with Lubbock by 1910, giving Swisher a major north-south rail line and boosting the economy.

The Great Depression had a devastating effect on the county’s economy, somewhat relieved by road work. The stimulus of World War II demand and, particularly, the development of large-scale irrigation in the area, led to the revival of the county's economy.

The first successful extensive local use of underground water from the Ogallala Aquifer came in 1936. After World War II this activity increased dramatically; by the 1980s over 225,000 acres (910 km2) in Swisher County were irrigated.

In 2002 the county had 578 farms and ranches covering 566,429 acres (2,292.26 km2), 69 percent of which were devoted to crops and 30 percent to pasture.

The Ozark Trail

Rural Texas in the early 20th Century was often connected by unpaved routes, often of caliche or other rock and dirt paths. Swisher’s road structure fell into this category. In 1920 the Ozark Trail served as a predecessor to today’s intra-continental highway structure. The Ozark Trail was a highway network maintained by local entities or private citizens from Arkansas and Missouri through Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Texas, to New Mexico. In Texas the trail was made of graded and upgraded roads. Collingsworth, Childress, Hall, Briscoe, Swisher, Castro, and Parmer counties along with Curry and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico raised $10,000 in 1920 to erect markers along already existing roads to mark the Ozark Trail from Oklahoma across Texas to New Mexico. By the mid-1920s Tulia was linked to Nazareth, Dimmitt, and Bovina by State Highway 86, to Canyon and Amarillo by U.S. Highway 385 (now U.S. 87 or Interstate Highway 27), to Silverton by State Highway 80, and to Plainview and Lubbock by U.S. 385.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 901 square miles (2,330 km2), of which 890 square miles (2,300 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (1.2%) is water.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 4
1890 100 2,400.0%
1900 1,227 1,127.0%
1910 4,012 227.0%
1920 4,388 9.4%
1930 7,343 67.3%
1940 6,528 −11.1%
1950 8,249 26.4%
1960 10,607 28.6%
1970 10,373 −2.2%
1980 9,723 −6.3%
1990 8,133 −16.4%
2000 8,378 3.0%
2010 7,854 −6.3%
Est. 2015 7,533 −4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,378 people, 2,925 households, and 2,152 families residing in the county. The population density was 9 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 3,315 housing units at an average density of 4 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.75% White, 5.85% Black or African American, 0.54% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 19.41% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. 35.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,925 households out of which 35.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.20% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 24.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 25.50% from 25 to 44, 20.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 109.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,846, and the median income for a family was $34,444. Males had a median income of $25,164 versus $20,448 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,326. About 14.20% of families and 17.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.20% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.




Unincorporated communities

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