Texas County, Missouri

Texas County, Missouri

Texas County Administrative Center
Map of Missouri highlighting Texas County
Location in the U.S. state of Missouri
Map of the United States highlighting Missouri
Missouri's location in the U.S.
Founded February 14, 1845[1]
Named for The Republic of Texas
Seat Houston
Largest city Licking
  Total 1,179 sq mi (3,054 km2)
  Land 1,177 sq mi (3,048 km2)
  Water 2.0 sq mi (5 km2), 0.2%
Population (est.)
  (2015) 25,690
  Density 22/sq mi (8/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.texascountymissouri.gov

Texas County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri. As of the 2010 census, the population was 26,008.[2] Its county seat is Houston.[3] The county was organized in 1843 as Ashley County, changing its name in 1845 to Texas, after the Republic of Texas.

The 2010 U.S. Census indicates that it is the center of population for the United States.[4]

The new Texas County Justice Center was completed in 2008.


Texas County was originally created in 1843 and named for William H. Ashley, the first lieutenant governor of Missouri. It was later organized on February 14, 1845, when it was also renamed for the Republic of Texas.[1][5]

A seat of justice for the county was laid out in 1846 near the center of the county on Brushy Creek and named Houston for the first president of the Texas Republic. The historic Texas County Courthouse, built in 1932, was the county's sixth and now serves as the county administrative center. It was remodeled in 1977 and again in 2007. A new justice center was completed in 2008.

Rugged hills, springs, creeks, rivers and caves abound in Texas County. There have been many Native American mounds found in the county. Their paintings remain upon various bluffs over ancient campsites. The area was part of the 1808 Osage Native American land cession.

Pioneers came to Texas County in the 1820s from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas and set up sawmills along the Big Piney River. Pioneers made a nice income rafting the timber down the Piney River toward St. Louis. Some 48,000 acres (190 km2) in the north and northwest part of the county is now part of the Mark Twain National Forest. Several acres in the southeast part of the county are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park. Small family farms are still a major part of the landscape of the county. The population of the first Federal Census of Texas County in 1850 was 2,312 citizens.

The American Civil War period was a time of turmoil in Texas County. The populace was predominantly Southern. The courthouse was occupied during the war by the Union Army as headquarters. Houston was an important point on the route from federal headquarters in Springfield to headquarters in Rolla. Some skirmishes were fought here. Confederate soldiers stormed the town, burning every building.

On February 26, 2015, a gunman shot and killed seven people in several locations across the town of Tyrone. The suspect was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was the worst mass murder in Texas County's history. Prior to the mass shooting, the county had an average of one homicide per year.[6]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,179 square miles (3,050 km2), of which 1,177 square miles (3,050 km2) is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.2%) is water.[7] It is the largest county in Missouri by area.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201525,690[8]−1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2015[2]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 23,003 people, 9,378 households, and 6,647 families residing in the county. The population density was 21 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 9,378 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.47% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 0.96% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Approximately 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 9,378 households out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.89.

Age spread: 24.90% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 24.90% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 17.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,260, and the median income for a family was $34,503. Males had a median income of $25,071 versus $17,126 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,568. About 16.50% of families and 21.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.10% of those under age 18 and 17.20% of those age 65 or over.


According to the Association of Religion Data Archives County Membership Report (2000), Texas County is a part of the Bible Belt with evangelical Protestantism being the majority religion. The most predominant denominations among residents in Texas County who adhere to a religion are Southern Baptists (77.46%), Christian Churches & Churches of Christ (20.65%), and National Association of Free Will Baptists (12.92%).



The Republican Party mostly controls politics at the local level in Texas County. Republicans hold all but four of the elected positions in the county.

Texas County, Missouri
Elected countywide officials
Assessor Debbie James Republican
Circuit Clerk Marci Mosley Republican
County Clerk Donald R. Troutman Democratic
Collector Tammy Cantrell Democratic
Fred W. Stenger Republican
(District 1)
John Casey Republican
(District 2)
Linda Garrett Republican
Coroner Thomas Whittaker Democratic
Prosecuting Attorney Parke Stevens Republican
Public Administrator Connie Thompson Republican
Recorder Susan Warkentin Republican
Sheriff James Sigman Republican
Surveyor Chuck Manier Republican
Treasurer Tammy Cantrell Democratic


Texas County is divided into two legislative districts in the Missouri House of Representatives, both of which are held by Republicans.

Missouri House of Representatives – District 144 – Texas County (2010)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Tony Dugger* 911 100.00 +30.71
Missouri House of Representatives – District 147 – Texas County (2008)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Don Wells* 6,255 100.00 0

All of Texas County is a part of Missouri's 33rd District in the Missouri Senate and is currently represented by State Senator Chuck Purgason (R-Caulfield). In 2008, Purgason defeated Democrat Eric Reeve 67.31–32.69 percent in the district. The 33rd Senatorial District consists of Camden, Howell, Laclede, Oregon, Shannon, Texas, and Wright counties.

Missouri Senate – District 33 – Texas County (2008)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Chuck Purgason 6,753 65.34
Democratic Eric Reeve 3,582 34.66
Past Gubernatorial Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 54.06% 5,831 42.97% 4,635 2.98% 321
2008 43.40% 4,688 54.14% 5,848 2.46% 265
2004 60.32% 6,644 37.92% 4,177 1.76% 193
2000 50.73% 5,030 47.49% 4,709 1.78% 176
1996 48.50% 4,558 48.19% 4,528 3.31% 311
1992 45.96% 4,544 54.04% 5,343 0.00% 0
1988 65.59% 5,644 33.47% 2,880 0.94% 81
1984 63.38% 5,866 36.62% 3,390 0.00% 0
1980 52.96% 4,932 46.91% 4,369 0.13% 12
1976 47.71% 3,804 52.21% 4,163 0.09% 7


Texas County is included in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District and is currently represented by Jason T. Smith (R-Salem) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Smith won a special election on Tuesday, June 4, 2013, to finish out the remaining term of U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson (R-Cape Girardeau). Emerson announced her resignation a month after being reelected with over 70 percent of the vote in the district. She resigned to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative.

U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Texas County (2012)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jo Ann Emerson 8,080 76.05 +12.02
Democratic Jack Rushin 2,048 19.28 −11.87
Libertarian Rick Vandeven 496 4.67 +2.01
U.S. House of Representatives – District 8 – Special Election – Texas County (2013)
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Jason T. Smith 1,648 71.31
Democratic Steve Hodges 510 22.07
Constitution Doug Enyart 108 4.67
Libertarian Bill Slantz 45 1.95

Political culture

Past Presidential Elections Results
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2012 70.77% 7,618 26.67% 2,871 2.56% 275
2008 66.49% 7,215 31.43% 3,410 2.08% 226
2004 65.66% 7,234 33.25% 3,664 1.09% 120
2000 61.78% 6,136 35.10% 3,486 3.12% 310
1996 43.06% 4,065 41.28% 3,897 15.66% 1,478
1992 34.70% 3,470 45.97% 4,597 19.00% 1,900
1988 53.91% 4,584 45.71% 3,887 0.38% 32
1984 60.42% 5,591 39.58% 3,662 0.00% 0
1980 52.41% 4,879 45.77% 4,261 1.82% 169
1976 41.63% 3,338 57.84% 4,638 0.52% 42

At the presidential level, Texas County is Republican-leaning. George W. Bush carried Texas County by two-to-one margins in 2000 and 2004. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Texas County in 1992, and like many of the rural counties throughout Missouri, Texas County strongly favored John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.

Like most rural areas throughout Southeast Missouri, voters in Texas County generally adhere to socially and culturally conservative principles which tend to influence their Republican leanings. In 2004, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman—it overwhelmingly passed Texas County with 85.63 percent of the vote. The initiative passed the state with 71 percent of support from voters as Missouri became the first state to ban same-sex marriage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a constitutional amendment to fund and legalize embryonic stem cell research in the state—it failed in Texas County with 61.13 percent voting against the measure. The initiative narrowly passed the state with 51 percent of support from voters as Missouri became one of the first states in the nation to approve embryonic stem cell research. Despite Texas County's longstanding tradition of supporting socially conservative platforms, voters in the county have a penchant for advancing populist causes like increasing the minimum wage. In 2006, Missourians voted on a proposition (Proposition B) to increase the minimum wage in the state to $6.50 an hour—it passed Texas County with 72.03 percent of the vote. The proposition strongly passed every single county in Missouri with 78.99 percent voting in favor as the minimum wage was increased to $6.50 an hour in the state. During the same election, voters in five other states also strongly approved increases in the minimum wage.

Missouri Presidential Preference Primary (2008)

In the 2008 Missouri Presidential Preference Primary, voters in Texas County from both political parties supported candidates who finished in second place in the state at large and nationally.

Texas County, Missouri
2008 Republican primary in Missouri
John McCain 954 (27.69%)
Mike Huckabee 1,727 (50.13%)
Mitt Romney 480 (13.93%)
Ron Paul 234 (6.79%)
Texas County, Missouri
2008 Democratic primary in Missouri
Hillary Clinton 1,858 (68.03%)
Barack Obama 743 (27.21%)
John Edwards (withdrawn) 101 (3.70%)
Uncommitted 14 (1.06%)


Of adults 25 years of age and older in Texas County, 71.4% possesses a high school diploma or higher while 10.8% hold a bachelor's degree or higher as their highest educational attainment.

Public schools

Private schools

Alternative and vocational schools


See also


  1. 1 2 Eaton, David Wolfe (1917). How Missouri Counties, Towns and Streams Were Named. The State Historical Society of Missouri. p. 69.
  2. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. "Mean Center of Population for the United States: 1790 to 2010" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  5. "County History". Texas County. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  7. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  10. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.

Further reading

Coordinates: 37°19′N 91°58′W / 37.32°N 91.96°W / 37.32; -91.96

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