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Young County
The Young County courthouse in Graham
The Young County courthouse in Graham
Map of Texas highlighting Young 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 1874
Seat Graham
Largest city Graham
 • Total 931 sq mi (2,410 km2)
 • Land 914 sq mi (2,370 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  1.8%%
 • Total 18,550
 • Density 20/sq mi (8/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 19th

Young County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 18,550. Its county seat is Graham. The county was created in 1856 and organized in 1874. It is named for William Cocke Young, an early Texas settler and soldier.


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. . 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.

In May 1871, Kiowa medicine man Satank (Sitting Bear), and Kiowa chiefs Satanta (White Bear), Addo-etta (Big Tree) and Maman-ti (Skywalker) led a force of over 100 Kiowa, Comanche, Kiowa-Apaches, Arapaho, and Cheyenne warriors from the Oklahoma Fort Sill Reservation into Texas. On May 18, the Indians attacked a wagon train belonging to Henry Warren, killing all but the five who escaped. Commanding General of the United States Army William Tecumseh Sherman, personally arrested Satank, Satanta, and Big Tree at Fort Sill and had them tried in civil court in Jacksboro. Satank was killed in an attempted escape, and others were found guilty and sentenced to hang. Their sentences were commuted by Governor Edmund J. Davis at the request of a group of Quakers, and they were later paroled. The incident was a key element that led to the Red River War.

Explorers and settlers

Spanish explorer Diego Ortiz Parrilla the county en route to the Taovaya Indian Village on Red River. Pedro Vial came through the region in 1789 while charting the Santa Fe Trail.

The county was included in the 1841 Republic of Texas empresario Peters Colony land grant. The Young County portion of the grant remained unsettled until the 1850s.

In 1851 Bvt. Brig. Gen. William G. Belknap founded the United States Army Fort Belknap. The fort was surrendered to the Confederacy in 1861, and reoccupied by federal troops in 1867. John Peveler and Will Peveler establish a ranch two miles (3 km) below Fort Belknap, becoming the first settlers.

County established

Young County was established by the Texas Legislature in 1856 from Bosque and Fannin counties and organized later that same year. Belknap became the county seat. Many of the citizens abandoned the area during the American Civil War due to Indian depredations. In 1865 the county's government was dissolved, and the county records were transferred to Jacksboro. The county was reorganized in 1874, and the county records were brought back from Jacksboro. This time the new town of Graham, platted in 1873, was chosen as the county seat.

Gustavus and Edwin Graham began the town of Graham 1872, and opened the saltworks in 1869. An 1876 area rancher meeting in Graham, regarding cattle rustling, became the beginnings of what is now known as the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. In 1891 a group of investors formed the Graham Mining Company in hopes of mining gold, silver, and coal in the area.

Between 1874 and 1910, railroad lines contributed to the county economy and facilitated transportation, including the Texas and Pacific Railway, the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway, the Wichita Falls and Southern, and the Gulf, Texas and Western Railroad.

Federal programs came to the assistance of farmers and ranchers during the Great Depression. The Work Projects Administration restored old Fort Belknap in 1936. In the 1930s, Young County also joined sixty-five other counties to form the Brazos River Conservation and Reclamation District. Oil exploration and production opened the 20th Century. and saw Lindy Lou No. 1 well come in. Actual production of petroleum began in 1920, boom towns sprang up around the county. By 1990 - 3,431,000 barrels (545,500 m3) had been produced.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 931 square miles (2,410 km2), of which 914 square miles (2,370 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.8%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 380.svg U.S. Highway 380
  • Texas 16.svg State Highway 16
  • Texas 67.svg State Highway 67
  • Texas 79.svg State Highway 79
  • Texas 114.svg State Highway 114

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 592
1870 135 −77.2%
1880 4,726 3,400.7%
1890 5,049 6.8%
1900 6,540 29.5%
1910 13,657 108.8%
1920 13,379 −2.0%
1930 20,128 50.4%
1940 19,004 −5.6%
1950 16,810 −11.5%
1960 17,254 2.6%
1970 15,400 −10.7%
1980 19,001 23.4%
1990 18,126 −4.6%
2000 17,943 −1.0%
2010 18,550 3.4%
2015 (est.) 18,270 −1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1850–2010 2010–2014

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,943 people, 7,167 households, and 5,081 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 8,504 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.98% White, 1.21% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.26% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.28% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. 10.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,167 households out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.94.

A Williams Institute analysis of 2010 census data found there were about 2.6 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.00% under the age of 18, 7.00% from 18 to 24, 24.70% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 19.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 91.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,499, and the median income for a family was $36,698. Males had a median income of $30,257 versus $19,441 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,710. About 12.00% of families and 15.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.00% of those under age 18 and 12.90% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated communities

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