Bowie County, Texas
Map of Texas highlighting Bowie County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of USA TX
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1840
Seat Boston
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

923 sq mi (2,391 km²)
888 sq mi (2,300 km²)
35 sq mi (91 km²), 3.78%
 - (2000)
 - Density

101/sq mi (39/km²)

Bowie County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. It is part of the Texarkana, Texas - Texarkana, Arkansas, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2000, the population was 89,306. Its county seat is New Boston[1]. Bowie is named for James Bowie, the legendary knife fighter who died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Bowie County is one of 46 prohibition or entirely dry counties in the state of Texas. However, the community of Texarkana straddles the state line with Arkansas, and the Arkansas side is in Miller County which is wet, except for Sundays. State Line Avenue runs directly north and south through Texarkana, literally riding on the state line; thus there are numerous liquor stores on the Arkansas (east) side of the avenue, and none on the Texas (west) side.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 923 square miles (2,390.6 km2), of which 888 square miles (2,299.9 km2) is land and 35 square miles (90.6 km2) (3.78%) is water.

Major highwaysEdit

Adjacent countiesEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 2,912
1860 5,052 73.5%
1870 4,684 −7.3%
1880 10,965 134.1%
1890 20,267 84.8%
1900 26,676 31.6%
1910 34,827 30.6%
1920 39,472 13.3%
1930 48,563 23.0%
1940 50,208 3.4%
1950 61,966 23.4%
1960 59,971 −3.2%
1970 67,813 13.1%
1980 75,301 11.0%
1990 81,665 8.5%
2000 89,306 9.4%
Est. 2009 93,964 5.2%
U.S. Census Bureau[2] Texas Almanac[3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 89,306 people, 33,058 households, and 23,438 families residing in the county. The population density was 101 people per square mile (39/km²). There were 36,463 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.26% White, 23.42% Black or African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.15% from two or more races. 4.47% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 33,058 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.00% were married couples living together, 15.00% 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 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 101.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,001, and the median income for a family was $41,108. Males had a median income of $31,883 versus $21,439 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,357. About 13.80% of families and 17.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.00% of those under age 18 and 12.40% of those age 65 or over.


Native AmericansEdit

The farming Caddoan Mississippian culture dates as early as the Late Archiac Period 1500 BCE in Bowie County.[5] The Hernando de Soto expedition of 1541 resulted in violent encounters. Spanish and French missionaries brought a smallpox, measles malaria and influenza epidemics against which the Caddo had no immunity.[6] Eventually, these issues and problems with the Osage, forced the Caddo to abandon their reservations. Settlers had peaceful relations with the 19th Century Shawnee, Delaware, and Kickapoo in the area.

Explorations and county establishedEdit

French explorer Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe founded the military fort Le Poste des Cadodaquious[7] in 1719 . The fort remained in continuous use until 1770. The Red River Expedition[8] of 1806 which passed through Bowie County, headed by Thomas Freeman and Dr. Peter Custis, was of great diplomatic and economic importance to President Thomas Jefferson. Bowie County was established in December 1840 and named for James Bowie, reduced to its present size in 1846. DeKalb[9] was the temporary county seat, with Boston[10] becoming the permanent county seat in 1841.

Bowie County in the years leading up to the American Civil War was settled mostly by Southerners who brought their slave labor system to work the cotton fields. By 1860, slaves outnumbered whites 2,651 to 2,401. The county voted 208-15 in favor of secession[11] from the Union. While Bowie was never a battlefield in that war, it was nevertheless occupied during Reconstruction. Between 1860 and 1870 the population declined. The occupation, and the new legal equality of blacks, became a hostile situation that fostered Cullen Baker.

Cullen Montgomery Baker[12] (b. circa 1835 - d. 1869) was a twice-widowed mean-spirited drunk who killed his first man before he was 20. When Thomas Orr married Baker's late wife's sister, thereby denying Baker that opportunity, Baker attempted to hang Orr. Legends abound as to his activities in both Bowie and Cass counties, including a rumored tie to the Ku Klux Klan. His exploits turned him into a folk hero dubbed "The Swamp Fox of the Sulphur River".[13][14] He was a Confederate States Army veteran who joined two units, designated as a deserter from the first, and receiving a disability discharge from the second.[15] Reconstruction enabled him to focus his anger towards what many at the time believed was a Union intrusion into their lives. Baker and his gang conducted a vicious rampage against citizens he perceived as being on the wrong side of the black labor issue, at William G. Kirkman and the Freedman's Bureau in Bowie County, and at the soldiers of the Union occupation.[16] Kirkman unsuccessfully pursued Baker, killing one of Baker's men in the second attempt. Like Swamp Fox Francis Marion, Baker always managed to elude capture, often with the help of local citizens. Kirkland was murdered by "person or persons unknown",[11] but Baker boasted of having done the deed. In December 1869, Thomas Orr and a group of neighbors killed Baker.[15] A local legend has it that the deed was accomplished with strychnine-laced whiskey.

When the Texas and Pacific Railway[17] was constructed through the county, a new town named Texarkana[18] was founded.

Bowie was hit hard by the Great Depression like everywhere else. Measurable relief came late when the Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant was established in 1942. The base was active until[19] 2009. The Red River Army Depot,[20] opened in 1941, remains active. The two installations occupied almost 40,000 acres (160 km2) and provided job opportunities for thousands.

Government and infrastructureEdit

Federal Correctional Institution, Texarkana is a Federal Bureau of Prisons facility in unincorporated Bowie County, near Texarkana, Texas.[21][22]

Cities and towns Edit


The following school districts serve Bowie County:

See also Edit


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Caddo Timeline". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  UT Texas at Austin
  6. ^ "Caddo". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  Oklahoma Historical Society
  7. ^ Le Poste des Cadodaquious from the Handbook of Texas Online Texas State Historical Association
  8. ^ Red River Expedition from the Handbook of Texas Online Texas State Historical Association
  9. ^ "DeKalb, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  10. ^ "Boston, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  11. ^ a b Bowie County from the Handbook of Texas Online Texas State Historical Association
  12. ^ Anderson, Dale; Yadon, Laurence (2009). Ten Deadly Texans. Pelican Publishing. pp. 29–51. ISBN 978-1589805996. 
  13. ^ Sulphur River, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online Texas State Historical Association
  14. ^ Crouch, Barry A; Brice, Donaly E (1997). Cullen Montgomery Baker, Reconstruction Desperado. Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 978-0807121405. 
  15. ^ a b Cullen Montgomery Baker from the Handbook of Texas Online Texas State Historical Association
  16. ^ "Oakwood Cemetery, Grave of Cullen Montgomery Baker". Find A Grave. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  17. ^ "Texas and Pacific Railway". Texas and Pacific Railway. Retrieved 14 May2010. 
  18. ^ "Texarkana, Texas". Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC.
  19. ^ Montgomery, Rebecca J. "Lone Star Army Ammunition Plant Deactivates". United States Army. Retrieved 14 May 2010.  =United States Army
  20. ^ "Defense Distribution Depot Red RiverRed River Army Depot (RRAD)". Retrieved 14 May 2010.
  21. ^ "FCI Texarkana Contact Information." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on June 2, 2010.
  22. ^ "Ward Map." City of Texarkana, Texas. Retrieved on July 2, 2010.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 33°27′N 94°25′W / 33.45, -94.42

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bowie County, Texas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.