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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.[1] Its county seat is Belton.[2] The county was founded in 1850 and is named for Peter Hansborough Bell, the third governor of Texas.

Bell County, Texas
Belton Courthouse (1).jpg
The Bell County Courthouse in Belton
Map of Texas highlighting Bell County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1850
Seat Belton
Largest city Killeen
Area
 • Total 1,088 sq mi (2,818 km2)
 • Land 1,051 sq mi (2,722 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (96 km2), 3.4%
Population
 • (2010) 310,235
 • Density 295/sq mi (114/km²)
Congressional districts 25th, 31st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.bellcountytx.com

Bell County is part of the KilleenTemple, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 2010, the center of population of Texas was located in Bell County, near the town of Holland.[3]

Contents

HistoryEdit

  • 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.[4] This area became known as the Tennessee Valley.
  • 1836 The settlements are deserted during the Runaway Scrape,[5] reoccupied, deserted again after the Elmwood Creek Blood Scrape, and re-occupied again. Texas Ranger George Erath establishes a fort on Little River.[6]
  • 1843–44 Settlers return.[4]
  • 1845 the Republic of Texas founded "Baylor Female College” (since developed as University of Mary Hardin–Baylor).[7]
  • 1850 Bell County is organized and named for Texas Governor Peter Hansborough Bell. Population 600 whites – 60 black slaves.[4]
  • 1851 the county seat was designated as Belton.[8]
  • 1859 marked the last serious Indian raid in the area.[4]
  • 1860 Re-survey of the line between Bell and Milam County. Bell County assumes its present boundaries.[4]
 
Confederate statue at Bell County Courthouse

In 1861 the county voted for secession from the Union.[4] 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."[4]

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.[4]

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.[4]

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.[4] 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.[9] As another improvement, in 1905 the Belton and Temple Interurban electric railway was completed, providing service between the cities.[4]

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.[4]

In 1925 Miriam A. Ferguson, a native of the county, was inaugurated as the first woman governor of the state.[10] She won re-election again in 1932 for a non-consecutive second term.[10]

The county and state supported founding Temple Junior College in 1926. It continued to develop and later became a four-year college (Temple College).[11] 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.[4]

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.[12]

The state founded Central Texas College in 1965 in Killeen.[12]

Since the late 20th century, new retail development has taken the form of large malls. In 1976 Temple Mall opened.[13] By 1980, Killeen had become the largest city in Bell County.[12] The next year, the Killeen Mall opened, adding to retail choices in the area.[14] 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. [15] 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.[16] 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.

GeographyEdit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,088 square miles (2,820 km2), of which 1,051 square miles (2,720 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (3.4%) is water.[17]

Adjacent countiesEdit

DemographicsEdit

Census Pop.
1860 4,799
1870 9,771 103.6%
1880 20,518 110.0%
1890 33,377 62.7%
1900 45,535 36.4%
1910 49,186 8.0%
1920 46,412 −5.6%
1930 50,030 7.8%
1940 44,863 −10.3%
1950 73,824 64.6%
1960 94,097 27.5%
1970 124,483 32.3%
1980 157,889 26.8%
1990 191,088 21.0%
2000 237,974 24.5%
2010 310,235 30.4%
Est. 2016 340,411 [18] 9.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
1850–2010[20] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[21] 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.[22]

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.

EducationEdit

TransportationEdit

Major highwaysEdit

The following are major highways that run through Bell County.

Mass transitEdit

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.[23] Amtrak also has scheduled service to Temple.

CommunitiesEdit

PoliticsEdit

Presidential Elections Results[24]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
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

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2012-07-12. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Centers of Population by State: 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Connor, Seymour V; Odintz, Mark. "Bell County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Covington, Carolyn Callaway. "Runaway Scrape". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  6. ^ Cutrer, Thomas W. "George Bernard Erath". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Brackney, William H (2009). Congregation and Campus: Baptists in Higher Education. Mercer University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-88146-130-5. 
  8. ^ "Belton, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Bell County Courthouse". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  10. ^ a b Huddleston, John. "Miriam Ferguson". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Archived from the original on 21 December 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Hellman, Paul T (2004). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 1088. ISBN 978-0-415-93948-5. 
  12. ^ a b c Leffler, John. "Killeen, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  13. ^ Urban Retail Properties: Temple Mall Archived March 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Center Information. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  14. ^ Jones Lang Lasalle (March 2010). "Killeen Mall" (PDF). Jones Lang Lasalle. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2010-03-25. 
  15. ^ Time Magazine, 28 Oct 1991
  16. ^ http://www.ontheissues.org/Celeb/George_W__Bush_Gun_Control.htm], On the Issues
  17. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved April 19, 2015. 
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  22. ^ Where Same-Sex Couples Live, June 26, 2015, retrieved July 6, 2015 
  23. ^ "The Hop General Info". Hill Country Transit District. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  24. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS

External linksEdit