Bell County, Texas
Bell County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 310,235. Its county seat is Belton. The county was founded in 1850 and is named for Peter Hansborough Bell, the third governor of Texas.
|Bell County, Texas|
The Bell County Courthouse in Belton
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
|• Total||1,088 sq mi (2,818 km2)|
|• Land||1,051 sq mi (2,722 km2)|
|• Water||37 sq mi (96 km2), 3.4%|
|• Density||295/sq mi (114/km²)|
|Congressional districts||25th, 31st|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
- 1834–1835 Little River becomes part of Robertson's Colony, made up of settlers from Nashville, Tennessee, led by Sterling C. Robertson: families of Captain Goldsby Childers, Robert Davison, John Fulcher, Moses Griffin, John Needham, Michael Reed and his son William Whitaker Reed, William Taylor, and Judge Orville T. Tyler. This area became known as the Tennessee Valley.
- 1836 The settlements are deserted during the Runaway Scrape, reoccupied, deserted again after the Elmwood Creek Blood Scrape, and re-occupied again. Texas Ranger George Erath establishes a fort on Little River.
- 1843–44 Settlers return.
- 1845 the Republic of Texas founded "Baylor Female College” (since developed as University of Mary Hardin–Baylor).
- 1850 Bell County is organized and named for Texas Governor Peter Hansborough Bell. Population 600 whites – 60 black slaves.
- 1851 the county seat was designated as Belton.
- 1859 marked the last serious Indian raid in the area.
- 1860 Re-survey of the line between Bell and Milam County. Bell County assumes its present boundaries.
In 1861 the county voted for secession from the Union. Residents were divided, as many yeomen farmers did not support the war. From 1862–1865 Union sympathizers and Confederate deserters holed up in "Camp Safety."
Following the war, there were new social movements. In 1867 the Belton Women’s Commonwealth, the first women’s movement in Central Texas, was formed by Martha McWhirter. The group provided shelter to women in abusive relationships.
During the early years of the Reconstruction era (1865–1877), there was so much violence in the county that the government stationed federal troops in Belton. Conservative whites attacked blacks and their white supporters. Corruption, lawlessness, and racial divides were severe. As in many areas, a local version of white paramilitary insurgents developed who were similar to the KKK; they worked to suppress black and Republican voting.
The coming of railroads in the late 19th century stimulated growth across the state. In 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, the first railroad to be built in Bell County, establishes Temple as its headquarters. Reflecting growth in the county, in 1884 the Bell County Courthouse was built. It is still used. The ambitious Renaissance Revival design was by architect Jasper N. Preston and Sons. As another improvement, in 1905 the Belton and Temple Interurban electric railway was completed, providing service between the cities.
During the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan underwent a revival in Bell County. In many areas it was concentrated on nativist issues, opposing Catholic and Jewish immigration from eastern and southern Europe. After a scandal involving the leader of the KKK, the group's influence declined markedly by the end of the decade.
The county and state supported founding Temple Junior College in 1926. It continued to develop and later became a four-year college (Temple College). The entry of the United States in World War II stimulated war spending across the country. In 1942 Fort Hood was opened as a military training base. It drew recruits from across the country.
The postwar period was one of suburbanization in many areas. In 1956 the Killeen school board voted to integrate the local high school. This followed the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ruling by the US Supreme Court that racial segregation in public schools, supported by all the taxpayers, was unconstitutional.
Since the late 20th century, new retail development has taken the form of large malls. In 1976 Temple Mall opened. By 1980, Killeen had become the largest city in Bell County. The next year, the Killeen Mall opened, adding to retail choices in the area. In another type of development, in 1987 the [Bell County Expo Center]] opened.
Since the late 20th century, the county has been the site of several mass shootings and unusual incidents of gun violence. On October 16, 1991, in what was called the Luby's shooting, disaffected employee George Jo Hennard Jr. killed 23 people, and wounds 20 others, before killing himself. It was the largest mass murder by firearm in the United States up to that time.  In 1995 Governor George W. Bush signed a new law easing restrictions on carrying handguns; it allows Texans to carry concealed weapons if they have a permit to do so. Texas overrode a 125-year-old ban on carrying weapons that had been signed and enacted by Governor E.J. Davis. On November 5 in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people, and wounded 30. He was paralyzed in return fire. He had been described as mentally unstable. On April 2 in the 2014 Fort Hood shooting, Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed 3 people and wounded 16.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 310,235 people, 114,035 households, and 80,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 295.2 people per square mile (87/km2). There were 125,470 housing units at an average density of 88 per square mile (34/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 61.4% White, 21.5% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, and 5.0% reporting two or more races. 21.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.9% were of Mexican, 3.6% were of Puerto Rican, 0.2% Cuban, and 0.2% were of Dominican Republic descent.
There were 85,507 households out of which 40.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 12.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.50% were non-families. 22.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.14. As of the 2010 census, there were about 3.6 same-sex couples per 1,000 households in the county.
In the county, the population was spread out with 28.90% under the age of 18, 13.40% from 18 to 24, 31.90% from 25 to 44, 17.00% from 45 to 64, and 8.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 100.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $36,872, and the median income for a family was $41,455. Males had a median income of $28,031 versus $22,364 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,219. About 9.70% of families and 12.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.30% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over.
Bell County is served by several school districts:
- Academy Independent School District
- Bartlett Independent School District (partial)
- Belton Independent School District
- Bruceville-Eddy Independent School District (partial)
- Copperas Cove Independent School District (partial)
- Florence Independent School District (partial)
- Gatesville Independent School District (partial)
- Holland Independent School District (partial)
- Killeen Independent School District (partial)
- Lampasas Independent School District (partial)
- Moody Independent School District (partial)
- Rogers Independent School District (partial)
- Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (partial)
- Temple Independent School District
- Troy Independent School District
- Salado Independent School District
The following are major highways that run through Bell County.
- Interstate 14/U.S. Highway 190
- Interstate 35
- State Highway 36
- State Highway 53
- State Highway 95
- State Highway 195
The Hill Country Transit District operates a regularly scheduled fixed route bus service within the urban areas of Killeen and Temple, as well as a paratransit service throughout the county. Amtrak also has scheduled service to Temple.
|2016||54.3% 51,998||39.5% 37,801||6.2% 5,902|
|2012||57.4% 49,574||41.1% 35,512||1.6% 1,339|
|2008||54.4% 49,242||44.6% 40,413||1.0% 935|
|2004||65.4% 52,135||34.1% 27,165||0.5% 424|
|2000||65.1% 41,208||33.2% 21,011||1.7% 1,072|
|1996||53.2% 30,348||39.7% 22,638||7.1% 4,063|
|1992||45.3% 24,936||33.9% 18,684||20.8% 11,457|
|1988||61.8% 29,382||37.3% 17,751||0.9% 418|
|1984||69.5% 31,117||29.8% 13,322||0.7% 323|
|1980||54.7% 20,729||41.8% 15,823||3.5% 1,333|
|1976||46.0% 15,126||53.2% 17,499||0.9% 287|
|1972||71.8% 17,525||28.1% 6,848||0.2% 38|
|1968||27.0% 5,705||56.2% 11,893||16.8% 3,547|
|1964||16.8% 2,938||83.1% 14,557||0.1% 17|
|1960||30.1% 4,606||69.7% 10,651||0.2% 31|
|1956||30.8% 4,285||68.9% 9,603||0.3% 44|
|1952||33.9% 4,862||66.1% 9,484||0.1% 12|
|1948||11.7% 1,069||82.8% 7,548||5.4% 496|
|1944||8.5% 763||77.7% 6,960||13.8% 1,232|
|1940||12.4% 1,050||87.6% 7,418|
|1936||7.2% 475||92.4% 6,119||0.4% 27|
|1932||8.7% 724||91.1% 7,607||0.3% 23|
|1928||52.2% 3,366||47.7% 3,079||0.1% 7|
|1924||17.3% 1,632||76.9% 7,273||5.8% 552|
|1920||7.9% 483||59.1% 3,595||32.9% 2,003|
|1916||8.5% 356||86.8% 3,615||4.7% 196|
|1912||4.0% 128||94.7% 3,024||1.3% 42|
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