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Fort Stockton is a city in Pecos Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 7,846 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Pecos Countymarker.

Geography

Fort Stockton is located at (30.891383, -102.885032).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13.3 km²), all of it land.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,846 people, 2,790 households, and 2,106 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,531.3 people per square mile (591.7/km²). There were 3,189 housing units at an average density of 622.4/sq mi (240.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.06% White, 0.89% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 25.16% from other races, and 2.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 69.87% of the population.

There were 2,790 households out of which 39.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.1% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.78 and the average family size was 3.25.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,713, and the median income for a family was $30,941. Males had a median income of $25,735 versus $17,885 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,834. About 19.7% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.6% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.

History

Fort Stockton, the county seat of Pecos Countymarker, is on Interstate Highway 10, U.S. Highways 67, 285, and 385, and the Santa Fe Railroad, northwest of San Antoniomarker and east of El Pasomarker. It grew up around Comanche Springs, at one time the third largest source of spring water in Texas, and near the military fort founded in 1859 and named for Robert Field Stockton. Comanche Springs was a favorite rest stop on the Comanche Trail to Chihuahuamarker, the Old San Antonio Road, The Butterfield Overland Mail Route, and the San Antonio-Chihuahua freight-wagon road. The Confederates took possession of the fort at the outbreak of the Civil War but abandoned it the next year. In 1867 the army rebuilt the fort on a larger and more permanent basis to protect travelers and settlers from Indians. Until abandoned in 1886, the fort provided employment for freighters and laborers and a market for farmers, stockmen, and merchants.

Fort Stockton was garrisoned by companies of the 9th Cavalry, known as "Buffalo Soldiers." In July 1867, Fort Stockton was re-established by four Companies of the 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment on 960 acres (3.9 km²) leased from civilian landowners, one-half mile northeast of the first post. Companies A, B, E, and K of the 9th Cavalry began construction under the command of Colonel Edward Hatch. The 9th was one of the new regiments organized after the Civil War staffed with Black enlisted men. When the 9th Cavalry was moved to New Mexicomarker in 1875, Colonel Benjamin Grierson's 10th Cavalry took over the duties of protecting the westward migration and trade routes.

About 87 percent of all soldiers garrisoned at Fort Stockton from 1867 until 1886 were Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments and the 41st, 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments. Surmounting obstacles of harsh living conditions, low pay, and racial prejudice, they gained a reputation for tenacity and bravery. Stationed continuously on the frontier during the years of Indian hostility, Black regiments played a major role in the settlement and development of America's western frontier.

San Antoniomarker entrepreneurs, convinced that the water from Comanche and nearby Leon springs could be used for irrigation, purchased large tracts of land for agricultural development. In 1868, Peter Gallagher bought the land that included the military garrison and Comanche Springs, platted for a townsite named Saint Gaul, and established two stores at Comanche Springs. Later, Gallagher and John James purchased along Comanche Creek. By 1870, the Saint Gaul region had a population of 420 civilians, predominantly Irish, German, and Mexican Catholics who had come by way of San Antonio. The first church in Saint Gaul was Catholic. When Pecos County was organized in 1875, Saint Gaul became the county seat. The name, however, was never popular with the citizens, and on August 13, 1881, it was changed officially to Fort Stockton.

By 1870, some settlers were using the water from the Pecos River for irrigation. Seven years later, irrigated farmland comprised , and by 1945 the total reached . After the military post was abandoned on June 30, 1886, and both the Texas and Pacific and the Southern Pacific railroads had bypassed it, Fort Stockton experienced a decline. By then, however, it was rapidly becoming the center for an extensive sheep and cattle ranching industry, and in 1926, the opening of the nearby Yates oil field brought on an economic boom.

Today, the original fort's guardhouse remains, and some of the officers' quarters have become private dwellings. Several other buildings of the fort have been refurnished to the 1880s. The refurbished fort site includes a row of officers' quarters, enlisted men's barracks, and the parade grounds. A museum and visitor's center can be found at the site.

Fort Stockton is currently in a state of economic decline as oilfield production has decreased.

Fort Stockton is southwest of Midland International Airportmarker. The town is within driving distance of the Big Bendmarker country.

Education

The City of Fort Stockton is served by the Fort Stockton Independent School District.

Fort Stockton has two elementary schools; Alamo Elementary and Apache Elementary. Both schools house grades K-3. Fort Stockton Intermediate houses grades 4-5. Fort Stockton Middle School houses grades 6-8 and Fort Stockton High School houses grades 9-12.

Williams Regional Technical Training Center

Fort Stockton is also home to the Midland College Williams Regional Technical Training Center (WRTTC). The center was built in 1996 through a joint effort by Midland College, and by leaders of Fort Stockton education, business, and government as a means to enhance higher education and workforce development in this part of West Texas. Fort Stockton and Pecos County are part of the Midland College service area. After just four years, the facility, named in honor of Fort Stockton native and WRTTC donor Clayton Williams, Jr., doubled in size through fundraising and program development.

Area ranches

The sprawling La Escalera Ranch is located south of Fort Stockton on Highway 385 (Marathon Highway). The Fort Stockton Division was owned by the Giddings family for 100 years and operated as the Elsinore Ranch. The ranch is now owned by La Escalera Limited Partnership. La Escalera Ranch extends over much of Pecos Countymarker and portions of Reevesmarker, Brewstermarker, Archermarker and Baylormarker counties. It is known for its herd of Black Angus cattle and its abundant wildlife. Located near the entrance to the ranch is the Sierra Madera Crater.

Notable residents



References



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