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Loving County is a county in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 82, making it the least populous county in the United States. Owing partly to its small and dispersed population, it also has the highest median per capita and household income of any county in Texas. Loving County has no incorporated communities; its county seat and only community is Mentone. The county was originally created in 1887, although after being disorganized, it was finally reorganized in 1931
Oliver Loving, a cattle rancher and pioneer of the cattle drive who with Charles Goodnight developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail; Loving was mortally wounded by Native Americans while on a cattle drive in the vicinity of the county
County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts
Prehistorically, the area had many springs with potable water that supported wildlife and nomadic hunters. Antonio de Espejo visited the area
in 1583 and crossed the Pecos River. Having surveyed the area in 1854 for a railroad company, John Pope returned in 1855 to start a camp in
northwestern Loving County and establish artesian wells in the area, but the venture was unsuccessful and was abandoned in 1861.
From 1837 to 1874, the area of modern Loving County was part of the Bexar land district. In 1874 it was separated from Bexar County, becoming a part of Tom Green County.
Loving County is named for Oliver Loving, a cattle rancher and pioneer of the cattle drive who, along with Charles Goodnight, developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail. He was mortally wounded by Comanches while on a cattle drive in 1867 in the vicinity of the county.
Loving is the only county in Texas to be incorporated twice, first in 1893 and again in 1931.
Handbook of Texas Online
In the spring of 1894 H. C. Withers and A. H. Randolph made a trip to Loving County to investigate reports of the illegal county organization for the firm of W. H. Abrams of New York, which represented a large Loving County landowner. They found three people in Mentone. When Withers asked to examine the tax-levy records, sheriff and tax collector W. A. Hunter told him that county clerk R. G. Munn had taken the records to Denver. Loving County reportedly held a second election of county officials on November 8, 1894, and the organizers and nonresidents were reelected to office. There is evidence that neither of the Loving County elections was legitimate. By 1897 the county officials fled the area. Taxes were not collected for 1893 and 1894 and had not been assessed or collected for 1895 and 1896. County government was chaotic, and the state legislature deorganized Loving County on May 12, 1897, reattaching it to Reeves County. The Reeves County Commissioners Court taxed Loving County landowners to pay off the county debt. More at
Julia Cauble Smith, "LOVING COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcl13), accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
As reported by the Census Bureau, Loving County has a total area of 677 square miles (1,753 km2), of which,
673 square miles (1,743 km2) of it is land and 4 square miles (10 km2) of it (0.56%) is water.
The Pecos River is the county's western boundary, forming the Red Bluff Reservoir along its northwestern border with Reeves County, Texas and Eddy County, New Mexico. The terrain of Loving County is described as flat desert, with a few low hills. Desert shrubs, range grass and cactus abound, with salt cedars along the river. Elevations vary from 2,686 to 3,311 feet (1,009 m) above sea level.
Loving is the smallest county by area in the Permian Basin region.
Bordering counties are as follows:
Loving County is served by the Wink-Loving Independent School District. The county's school system was closed and consolidated into Wink's ISD in 1972