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Texas Counties

Texas is divided into two hundred and fifty-four counties, more than any other state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. The most recent county to be created was Kenedy County in 1921. The most recent county to be organized was Loving County in 1931

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Tom Green County, Texas

Tom Green County Education, Geography, and History

Tom Green County, Texas Courthouse

Tom Green County is a county located on the Edwards Plateau in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 110,224. Its county seat is San Angelo. The county was created in 1874 and organized the following year.

Tom Green County is included in the San Angelo, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Tom Green County Name

Thomas Green, a Confederate brigadier general

Demographics:

County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Tom Green County History

The county was established by the state legislature on March 13, 1874, and named after Thomas Green, a Confederate brigadier general. It originally comprised an area over 60,000 square miles (160,000 km2).

The original county seat was the town of Ben Ficklin. In 1882, flood waters of the Concho River destroyed the town and drowned 65 people. The county seat was moved to San(ta) Angela. In 1883, the town's name was officially changed to San Angelo by the United States Post Office.

Tom Green County has an unusual shape, with a long, narrow strip of land extending to the west. This feature is because Reagan County to the west used to be part of Tom Green County, and the state of Texas required that all counties have a contiguous land route to their county seat. Therefore, the small strip of land served to connect the two main regions. In 1903, the residents of the western section voted to form their own county (Reagan County), while in the same vote it was decided that the connecting strip would remain as part of Tom Green County

Handbook of Texas Online
The county was officially established by an act of the state legislature on March 13, 1874, from Bexar land, and was named in honor of Confederate Brig. Gen. Thomas Green. Because of the omission of a northern boundary the county was a huge area of more than 60,000 square miles that included the land of sixty-six modern Texas counties. On August 21, 1876, the northern boundary was drawn from the northwest corner of Runnels County west to the New Mexico line. This cut off the area of fifty-four counties to the north. The remaining Tom Green County was still larger than Massachusetts and Connecticut combined and included the area of the modern counties of Coke, Crane, Ector, Glasscock, Irion, Loving, Midland, Reagan, Sterling, Upton, and Ward. The county organization election was held on January 5, 1875, when the voters elected officials and chose Ben Ficklin, instead of the larger San Angelo, as the location for the county seat. Other settlements were Bismarck Farm, Lipan Springs, and Kickapoo Springs. The 1880s was a period of dramatic change for the county. The institutions of American civilization were established- businesses, churches, newspapers, schools, and agriculture. By 1880 the population of 3,615 included 3,020 whites, 1,132 Mexicans, and 142 blacks. There were four post offices- Ben Ficklin, Fort Concho, Knickerbocker, and San Angelo. Ben Ficklin was completely destroyed by flood in August of 1882. Sixty-five people were killed, and the county seat was moved to safer San Angelo, where a courthouse was built in 1884. The first sheep were brought from California by John Arden, and later from New England. The controversy between the new sheepmen and the established cattlemen never escalated to a crisis; in fact, many cattlemen eventually purchased sheep. A far greater problem, affecting both sheepmen and cattlemen, was barbed wire. During the 1870s the Goodnight-Loving Trail passed through Fort Concho, then west along the Middle Concho toward the Pecos River. Tom Green County was open range. But in 1881 L. B. Harris fenced 20,000 acres, and other ranchers, including John R. Nasworthy and Charles B. Metcalfe, followed suit. As a result fence-cutting became a major problem. In 1884, after several years of frustration, some violence, and economic loss, the state legislature made fence-cutting a felony. By 1885 the open range and longhorn cattle were being replaced by fenced ranches and improved breeds, such as Durham and later Hereford cattle. In 1886 the biggest roundup in the history of West Texas occurred near Knickerbocker, when fifteen "outfits" assembled 25,000 cattle. The Concho Times published the first county newspaper in April of 1880, and the San Angelo Standard was established on May 3, 1884, by W. A. Guthrie and J. G. Murphy. In 1885 San Angelo organized the first fire department. The 1880s was also marked by the establishment of religious denominations. Although the Spanish conducted religious services in the county in the seventeenth century, regular service was not held until Father Mathurin J. Pairier began visiting in 1874 and built the first Catholic church in 1884. In the 1870s Methodist circuit riders held services and organized the first church in 1882. The Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in 1883. Baptist missionaries arrived in 1881 and two years later organized the Baptist Church of Christ of San Angelo. The First Christian Church began services in May of 1882 and built their first sanctuary in 1885. The first Presbyterian church was organized in 1886, and the first Episcopal church was built in 1888. The first subscription school was established in 1876 with twelve students. The school moved to four more locations before the first public school was established in 1884. Enrollment grew from 244 students in 1881 to 464 students in 1891. San Angelo Independent School District was formed in 1903 More at
John C. Henderson, "TOM GREEN COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hct07), accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,541 square miles (3,990 km2), of which, 1,522 square miles (3,942 km2) of it is land and 18 square miles (48 km2) of it (1.20%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Coke County (north)
  • Runnels County (northeast)
  • Concho County (east)
  • Schleicher County (south)
  • Irion County (west)
  • Reagan County (far west)
  • Sterling County (northwest)

Education

The following school districts serve Tom Green County:

Christoval ISD
Grape Creek ISD
Miles ISD (mostly in Runnels County)
San Angelo ISD
Veribest ISD
Wall ISD
Water Valley ISD

Colleges

Howard College
Angelo State University

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