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Stephenville is a city in and the county seat of Erath Countymarker, Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 14,921 at the 2000 census. Founded in 1856, it is home to Tarleton State Universitymarker. Stephenville is among several communities that calls itself the "Cowboy Capital of the World".


Stephenville is named after John M. Stephen, who settled there in 1854 and donated the land for the townsite laid out by George B. Erath when the county was organized in 1856. In the first two years of its settlement, the townsite was successful; by 1858 the population reached 776. However the townsite was located in Comanche territory and raids were common. Also the hardships of the American Civil War forced citizens to leave. The population declined until 1871 when it grew after Stephenville became an agriculture and livestock center. Coal mining also became important to the area in 1886 and was a major source of economy for the following three decades.

Stephenville was incorporated in 1889, with the arrival of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway. In the 1890s, many of the buildings around the town square were built, Tarleton State University opened, and the community's two newspapers merged to become the Empire-Tribune, which is still in existence. In the 20th century industry became an important part of Stephenville, and the population has steadily increased since the 1920s.


Stephenville is located at (32.220168, -98.213630) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.0 square miles (26.0 km²), of which, 10.0 square miles (26.0 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.20%) is water.

Stephenville is bisected by three major US highways. US Highway 377, US Highway 281, and US Highway 67 (which joins into US Hwy 377).


As of the census of 2000, there were 14,921 people, 5,906 households, and 3,195 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,488.3 people per square mile (574.4/km²). There were 6,632 housing units at an average density of 661.5/sq mi (255.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.84% White, 1.47% African American, .56% Samoan, 0.58% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.50% from other races, and 1.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.56% of the population.

There were 5,906 households out of which 26.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.9% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 25.4% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,489, and the median income for a family was $40,115. Males had a median income of $27,143 versus $21,824 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,108. About 8.0% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Stephenville resides in what is called a "dry" county where all liquor, beer, or wine is unavailable for purchase. There are, however, over a dozen "private clubs" where, for a nominal membership fee, a person is entitled to purchase liquor, beer or wine.**

    • by popular vote during the November 2008 County Elections, Erath is no longer "dry."


The City of Stephenville is served by the Stephenville Independent School District. Stephenville is home to Tarleton State Universitymarker, a component of the Texas A&M University System. Stephenville is also home to the charter school, Erath Excels! Academy.

2008 UFO sightings

On January 8, 2008, Stephenville gained national media attention when dozens and later hundreds of residents reported observations of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). According to reports, residents observed several types of UFOs, the descriptions ranging from triangular looking craft to discs. Several residents described the crafts as the size of a football field, while others said they were nearly a mile long, similar to the historic Arizonamarker mass sighting of March 13, 1997. Some observers reported military aircraft pursuing the objects.

CNN's Larry King covered the news story in the days following the incident, and according to Steve Allen, a private pilot who witnessed the UFO, the object was travelling at a high rate of speed which supposedly reached 3,000 feet in the air. Allen said it was "About a half a mile wide and about a mile long. It was humongous, whatever it was."The History Channel show, UFO Hunters did an investigation on the UFO sightings.

On January 23, after initially denying that any aircraft were operating in the area for operations security purposes, the US Air Force said that it was conducting training flights in the Stephenville area that involved 10 fighter jets. The Air Force said they were merely F-16 Fighting Falcon jets conducting night flights. Disgruntled employee, Angelia Joiner, who during this period was the Stephenville Empire-Tribune reporter covering the story, resigned from the paper when they ceased covering the topic. Washington Post blogger Emil Steiner reported that her termination may have been related to pressure from the Stephenville town fathers. MUFON has released reports about the UFO incident here. The report alleged that a UFO had flown over the Bush's Crawford Ranchmarker. The other MUFON report is a radar related report on this matter. Inquiries made about the UFO incident have been stonewalled by the USAF.

External links


  • Stephenville is also the hometown of three of the five members of the Alternative metal group Submersed. It was the boyhood home of famed musicians Lee Roy and Rob Parnell.
  • Stephenville is the birthplace of the popular Playboy magazine Playmate Aliya Wolf.
  • It was the birthplace of the 1930s bandleader Milton Brown and famed heart surgeon, Dr. Bud Fraiser.
  • It is also the home of Ty Murray and wife Jewel.
  • "Stephenville, TX" is also the eleventh song on Jewel's 2006 album Goodbye Alice in Wonderland.
  • Stephenville has a relatively quirky landmark installed on the town square: a large plastic cow bearing the name "Moola". The cow is in honor of the beef and dairy industries, both of which are prominent segments of the Stephenville and Erath County economy.
  • Stephenville High School's football team won the State 4A football championship four times in the 1990s: 1993, 1994, 1998 & 1999.
  • Stephenville High School's girls volleyball team won the State 4A volleyball championship 2003.
  • Stephenville High School's girls basketball team won the State 3A basketball championship 1968.
  • High School home to the 36th overall draft pick of the 2007 National Football League draft,Kevin Kolb, Quarterback from the University of Houstonmarker.
  • It was the birthplace of golf great Ben Hogan.
  • Hometown of the late great Johnny Duncan.

See also


  1. "Texans report seeing UFO", retrieved 18 Feb 2008
  2. "Possible UFO Sighting", Stephenville Empire-Tribune retrieved 31 Jan 2008
  3. "UFOS: Questions & Controversy", retrieved 18 Feb 2008
  4. "UFOs? Nope. They were fighter jets, Air Force says", retrieved 31 Jan 2008
  5. Stephenville, Texas UFO - Empire Tribune Writer Silenced!! -UFO Casebook Files
  6. Fired Reporter Angelia Joiner Sparks Conspiracy Theories
  7. MUFON Report 1
  8. MUFON Report 2
  9. - USAF Stonewalls Investigations

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