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Smith County, Texas

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Smith County, Texas
Smith County, TX, Courthouse IMG 0533
The Smith County Courthouse in Tyler.
Seal of Smith County, Texas
Seal
Map of Texas highlighting Smith County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of USA TX
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded July, 1846
Seat Tyler
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

949 sq mi (2,458 km²)
928 sq mi (2,404 km²)
21 sq mi (54 km²), 2.22%
PopulationEst.
 - (2007)
 - Density

198,705
209/sq mi (80.8/km²)
Website www.smith-county.com
Wall of Memories, Tyler, TX IMG 0472

Smith County veterans display, the Wall of Memories, in the Tyler plaza

Confederate memorial, Smith County, TX IMG 0477

Confederate States of America memorial in Tyler plaza

Korean War Veterans Memorial, Tyler, TX IMG 0491

Korean War Memorial in Tyler plaza

Smith County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. In 2000, its population was 174,706 , while in 2007 it was estimated to have reached 198,705. Its county seat is Tyler[1]. Smith county is named for James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution. Smith County is no longer a "dry" county. A referendum passed on the second attempt on November 3, 2009, for the City of Winona; the proposition legalized the sale of beer, wine, and liquor within the city limits.

Smith County is part of the Tyler Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Tyler–Jacksonville Combined Statistical Area. The county is represented in the Texas House of Representatives by the Republican Leo Berman of Tyler. Its U.S. representative is the Republican Louie Gohmert.

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 949 square miles (2,459 km²), of which 928 square miles (2,404 km²) is land and 21 square miles (55 km²) (2.22%) is water. The county infrastructure includes some 1,180 miles (1,900 km) of two lane county road. 70% of these county roads were rated "bad" or "poor" in 2004. The county Commissioners Court appointed a new county engineer in 2005 and initiated an aggressive reconstruction campaign. After the election of 2006, this reconstruction campaign was cut back by the Commissioners Court. During this period a controversial pay increase for commissioners and the county judge was passed by a 3-2 vote. After heated protests from the public the pay rates were eventually rolled back and new legislation was proposed in the state legislature to prohibit commissioners and county judges from authorizing raises for themselves during their first term of office.

Historical Edit

The Smith County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1959 by individuals and business firms dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving data, records and other items relating to the history of Smith County, Texas. The Society operates a museum and archives, which is located in the former Carnegie Public Library building in downtown Tyler. Permanent museum exhibits include life-size dioramas with Smith County history topics ranging from Caddo Indians to the Twentieth Century. Other items from the Society's collections are showcased in revolving, temporary exhibits. The Society's archival library contains historical artifacts of Smith County, including newspapers, city directories, school records, photographs, maps, historical papers, rare books and much more. The archives are open to the public for research on a limited schedule with volunteer staff on duty. The Society is also the official caretaker of Camp Ford Historic Park.

Camp Ford was the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War. The original site of the Camp stockade is now a public historic park, owned by Smith County, Texas, and managed by the Smith County Historical Society. The park contains a kiosk, paved trail, interpretive signage, a cabin reconstruction, and a picnic area. It is located on Highway 271, 0.8 miles north of Loop 323.

Major highwaysEdit

Smith County Road & BridgeEdit

Smith County Road & Bridge Department is a department of Smith County, Texas and is under the jurisdiction of the Smith County Commissioners Court. Since 1948, The citizens of Smith County have directed by popular vote, that all road and bridge maintenance and construction be under the "Unit System" as prescribed by the Texas State Transportation Code. Under the Unit System, a County Engineer, or Road Administrator is designated to direct maintenance and construction for the county as a whole without regard to individual commissioners' precincts to provide the most beneficial outcome for the taxpayers of Smith County.

The county infrastructure includes some 1180 miles of two lane county road. 70% of these county roads were rated as "bad" and "poor" in 2004. The county Commissioners Court appointed a new County Engineer in 2005 and an aggressive reconstruction campaign was initiated to improve the infrastructure under the "Road Recovery Plan". 70% of county roads are surfaced with hot oil sand (HOSA), 15% hot mix asphalt, approx. 13% dirt, and less than 2% concrete. The "Road Recovery Plan" initiated under Judge Becky Dempsey, which sought to reconstruct 750 miles of county roads in a 6 year time frame, was discontinued in 2007.

Adjacent countiesEdit

DemographicsEdit

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 4,292
1860 13,392 212.0%
1870 16,532 23.4%
1880 21,863 32.2%
1890 28,324 29.6%
1900 37,370 31.9%
1910 41,746 11.7%
1920 46,769 12.0%
1930 53,123 13.6%
1940 69,090 30.1%
1950 74,701 8.1%
1960 86,350 15.6%
1970 97,096 12.4%
1980 128,366 32.2%
1990 151,309 17.9%
2000 174,706 15.5%
Est. 2009 204,665 17.1%
U.S. Census Bureau[2] Texas Almanac[3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 174,706 people, 65,692 households, and 46,904 families residing in the county. The population density was 188 people per square mile (73/km²). There were 71,701 housing units at an average density of 77 per square mile (30/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.61% White, 20.06% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 5.74% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 11.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 65,692 households out of which 33.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,148, and the median income for a family was $44,534. Males had a median income of $32,451 versus $22,351 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,072. About 10.20% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.40% of those under age 18 and 10.80% of those age 65 or over.

The county has been unable to house approximately 30% of its growing inmate population since 2000 in its own facilities and spends approximately 10% of its annual budget (estimated to be $62 Million in 2007) for housing prisoners in out of county facilities. However, this figure should be adjusted for the fact that the county currently spends $35.00 per day housing prisoners in its own facility, and $40.00 for housing them in other counties. The real cost being $5.00 per day, and the cost for 2007 adjusted to $638,000.00. According to official state of Texas records Smith county now incarcerates its residents at a rate twice as high as the state average.

2008 and 2004 Presidential election resultsEdit

Smith County was one of the 226 counties in Texas to cast the majority of its votes for Republican John McCain. McCain won 69% of the vote and 55,187 votes. Democrat Barack Obama won 30% of the vote and 23,726 votes. Other candidates won 648 votes and 1% of the vote. In 2004, Republican George W. Bush did better than McCain and received 72% of the vote and 53,392 votes to Democrat John Kerry's 27% of the vote and 19,970 votes. Other candidates received 1% of the vote.[5] The last Democratic presidential candidate to carry the county was Harry Truman.[6]

Communities Edit

Cities and towns Edit

Unincorporated areas Edit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 32°23′N 95°16′W / 32.38, -95.27

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Smith 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.

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