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Blanco County, Texas

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Formed From

Blanco County was created and organized in 1858 from portions of: Burnet, Comal, Gillespie and Hays counties with Johnson City as the county seat. It was named for the Blanco (white) River.

Adjacent Counties

Northwest
Llano County
North
Burnet County
Northeast
Travis County
North arrow
West
Gillespie County
West arrow Blanco County, Texas East arrow East
Hays County
South arrow
Southwest
Kendall County
South
Southeast
Comal County
Adjacent counties.

History/Timeline

Pedernales
1150 AD Indigenous peoples were thefirst inhabitants, possible ancestors of the Lipan Apache.
1721- José de Azlor y Virto de Vera names the Blanco River.
1826 Benjamin Milam (empresario) is given a contract to settle 300 families between the Colorado and Guadalupe rivers.
1835- Lindsay, Callahan and Chandler purchase league previously granted to Horace Eggleston by government of Coahuila y Tejas and establish the town of Pittsburgh, Texas which is named for General Pitts, across the river from the site of future Blanco.
1836 Comanches claimed land in Blanco County.
1847 - Meusebach–Comanche Treaty for the German settlers, known as "Verein zum Schutze deutscher Einwanderer in Texas" or Mainzer Adelsverein.
1850's - Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr., grandfather of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and his brother Jesse Thomas Johnson, set up a cattle business in Johnson City. The town is named after their nephew James Polk Johnson. The Johnson family emigrated from Alabama.
1854-1855 - Captain James Hughes Callahan and Eli Clemens Hinds become Blanco's first white settlers. Joseph Bird establishes Birdtown, now known as Round Mountain. General John D. Pitts, Judge William S. Jones, Andrew M. Lindsay, James Hughes Callahan and F.W. Chandler charter the Pittsburgh Land Company. They bought the Coahuila y Tejas grant of league to Horace Eggleston in 1835 and lay out the town of Pittsburgh, Texas. This was named for General Pitts, across the river from the site of future Blanco.
1858, February 12 - Blanco County was formed from parts of Comal, Hays, Burnet and Gillespie, and is named for the Blanco River. County seat is also named Blanco.
1860 Population of county is 1218, includes 98 slaves. Settlers are mostly Anglo-Saxon Protestants hailing from Tennessee and Alabama. Agriculture and livestock are central to the economy. Heavy population of German immigrants.
1861 County votes against secession from the Union."' Immigrants from Northern states and from Europe helped to sway opinion toward the Unionist position.[1]
1862 Legislature establishes Kendall county from part of Blanco (southwestern border). :1862 - Legislature in turn incorporates parts of Hays and Burnet into Blanco.
1865-1870-- there were only 44 Blacks in the county. Most settled in Peyton, a freedmen's colony near Blanco, Tx.
1883 Blanco High School is chartered.
1885 -Replacement of courthouse by limestone structure now known as “The Old Courthouse”.
1891 Johnson City becomes the new county seat.
1910 Cotton becomes one of the county’s most important crops.
1900-1930 County farmers diversify into peanuts, peaches, pecans, pears, plums, grapes, and figs. (Hill country peaches are fantastic)
1915 Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and his wife Rebekah Baines Johnson, parents of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, move into their home in Johnson City with their five children, Lucia, Sam Houston, Josefa, Rebekah, and Lyndon Baines Johnson.
1929 More than 20,000 peach and pecan trees harvested in the county.
1933-1942 -Civilian Conservation Corps public work relief program helps improve county parks and infrastructure.
1934 Blanco State Park opens.
1937 Lyndon Baines Johnson launches his first campaign for Congress from the east porch of the family’s Johnson City home.
.
1938- LBJ becomes a fierce advocate for rural electrification. First light bulb turned on in rural Blanco County.
1960s Lyndon B. Johnson becomes Vice President of the United States and subsequently President of the United States. Tourism becomes an important industry.
1970 Pedernales Falls State Park opens to the public.
After 1970- The number of farms in Blanco county began to rise again.


Government

Here's an image.

Blanco county has had two county seats. The State of Texas formed Blanco County out of portions of Burnet, Cormal, Gillespie and Hays counties. and set up the city of Blanco, Texas to be county seat in 1858 through 1890. [2]

Blanco, Blanco County courthouse1858.

When Blanco county was formed and Blanco, Texas served as the county seat, this is the first courthouse. The sturdy stone structure resisted all weathering. Then Preservationists,stepped in, raised money and restored it beautifully. [2]

1884 Courthouse- This courthouse was being checked for termites in the basement by an exterminator, who found no termites, but a bottle, wooden blocks, a shoe, and bones. The state and police were called. No results yet on who this could have been. But it adds a hint of mystery to this courthouse.Preservation-minded locals got together and formed the Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society. This building has since been beautifully restored and is now one of the best.[2]

The courthouse only served as a county courthouse from 1886-1890. When the county seat moved to Johnson City in 1890, tenants used the structure for offices. In 1986, a private citizen purchased the building, began renovation of the building’s exterior. In 1998, Governor George W. Bush presided over the courthouse’s reopening. The Old Blanco County courthouse was also used for scenes in the 2010 remake of True Grit.

1884 Blanco Courthouse renovated

1890- The county seat was moved to Johnson City. [2]

1916 - The current courthouse as built 1916 - Designed by San Antonio architect Henry T. Phelps, the 1916 Blanco County Courthouse was the first permanent courthouse built after the seat of government moved from Blanco to Johnson City in 1890. J Waterston was contractor for the project, a stonemason James Waterston, who had come from Scotland to Texas in 1883 to aid in the construction of the state Capitol. This is Classical Revival limestone structure and features Doric columns and a domed cupola. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1983[2][3]

current Blanco county courthouse, Johnson City

Settlers

Settlers were:

  1. Spanish
  2. Mexican
  3. American
  4. German
  5. other
Of note: from The handbook of Texas: The 1990 United States census revealed that 1,175,888 Texans claimed pure and 1,775,838 claim partial German ancestry. This equals to 2,951,726 Texans with German ancestry (17½% of the state's total population). This gives a result that Germans rank behind Hispanics, and are the 3rd largest national origin group. [4] Most of the emigrant German's tended to settle in a broad, yet fragmented belt.

This is evident in Galveston, Houston, Kerrville, Boerne, Fredericksburg, Mason county, Hondo, Lindsay in Cooke County, Waka in Ochiltree County, Hurnville in Clay County, Russian German Baptist; and Lockett in Wilbarger County into the very heavily settled Hill County north and near San Antonio, Austin, Texas. [4]A majority settled in a broad, fragmented belt across the south central part of the state. This belt stretched from Galveston and Houston on the east to Kerrville, Mason, and Hondo in the west; from the fertile, humid Coastal Plain to the semiarid Hill Country and even Muenster, in North Texas. [4]

Contributions are Chester W. Nimitz (military), Robert J. Kleberg (ranching), Gustav Schleicher (politics), and Charles A. Schreiner of Kerrville (retail business) German settlements contributed to architecture, food, customs, rock fences, Gothic churches, sausage and sauerkraut and beer-- Texas German beers as Pearl and Shiner (see PEARL BREWING COMPANY, and SPOETZL BREWERY) [4]

Geography

Blanco county is in the Hill country, located on the Edwards Plateau in the U.S. state of Texas, in south central Texas, bordered on the west by Gillespie County, on the north by Burnet and Llano counties, on the east by Hays County, and on the south by Kendall and Comal counties. Johnson City, the county seat, is 4 miles N of the center of the county, 40 miles west of Austin and 60 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The county's center lies at 30° 23' north latitude and 98° 24' west longitude. Blanco County is size, 714 square miles of the eastern edge of the Edwards Plateau and 800 to 1,850 feet above sea level. As all counties in the Hill country, the terrain is hilly to mountainous. Edwards Plateau with the limestone porous characteristics, cause the stream beds tohave a "stairstep" appearance due to limestone benches and steep slopes.

Hill country has live oak and Ashe juniper, with mesquite and grasses. The soils is generally dark, calcareous, stony, clay loams with many rock outcrops. Mineral resources include limestone, lead, oil, gas, industrial sand, and dolomite. Thus the tap water in this area is high in minerals, "hard water". Most of the county is best suited for rangeland and wildlife habitat. There are many deer in the area.

Northern and central part or Blanco (2/3 of the total area, drains into the Colorado River in Travis County through Miller and Cypress creeks and the Pedernales River. The southern 1/3 drains into the Guadalupe River through the Blanco and Little Blanco River.

Temperatures range from 96° F in July to an average low of 34° in January.

Rainfall averages 34.39 inches per year, and the growing season has average of 234 days.

Crops here were cotton, corn, wheat, sheep. Angora goats, and cattle. During the 1920-s and 1930's (Great Depression) farm and ranch values plummeted and crop production fell. The number of farms in the county continued to drop; by 1940 only 632 farms remained in Blanco County. Yet the ranchers endeavored to retain the cattle, sheep, and goats. Current day, the farms raise fruit trees and Pecans.

Protected Areas

  • Hill country
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (part)
  • Pedernales Falls State Park
  • Blanco State Park

Demographics

Blanco county jail

As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,497. The population density was 12 people per square mile. Races are reflected as 90.97% White, 0.74. Of the white population, 15%The racial makeup of the county was 90.97% White, 0.74% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 5.88% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. 15.32% of the White population were Hispanic.

There were 3,303 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.50% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.60% were non-families. 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.

In the county, the population was 24.40% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 25.60% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 16.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 97.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males.) Note there are always more females in the population when it reflects all age groups.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,369, and the median income for a family was $45,382. As is reflected in all statistics, males earned a higher median income than females. The per capita income for the county was $19,721. IN 2000 11.20% of the population was below the poverty line, including 14.20% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over. Rivers:

  • Miller and Cypress creeks
  • Pedernales River.
  • Guadalupe River
  • Blanco
  • Little Blanco River

Highways:

  • U.S. Highway 281
  • U.S. Highway 290
  • Texas RM Ranch Road 1

Cities

Towns/Communities


Events/Festivals

  • Jan 1, 2018 - SANTA'S RANCH: New Braunfels, at 9561 IH-35 North. Sun-Thurs: 6p-10p; Fri-Sat: 6p-11p. Drive through a mile of spectacular holiday scenes with 1 million lights & 100 displays &
  • Jan 1, 2018 - FIRST DAY HIKE: Fredericksburg, at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.See Parks
  • Jan 1, 2018 - POLAR BEAR CHALLENGE: Hunt, at Mo-Ranch. 1p. Open to the public to come watch and enjoy! Free food awards, door prizes, live music and polar bear fun! 8
  • Jan 1, 2018 - NEW YEAR'S DAY CELEBRATION: Fredericksburg, at Torre di Pietra Vineyards, dish of black eyed peas is a New Year’s tradition thought to bring luck and prosperity for the coming year. A Southern-style, annual jam session8
  • Jan 1, 2018 - LIGHTS SPECTACULAR-HILL COUNTRY STYLE: Johnson City. Fri opening night: 6:30p-late evening. Let There Be Lights, millions of them. Courthouse lighting ceremony. Proclaimed as "the Centerpiece of one of the biggest shows on the Texas Hill Country Regional Christmas Lighting Trail" by Southern Living magazine with a courthouse that "shines brighter than the star of Bethlehem". The entire town is bathed in lights with 100,000 lights twinkling on the Blanco County Courthouse while Pedernales Electric Coop’s Headquarters on Ave F boasts a lighted forest of over 1 million lights. Brilliant lighted holiday displays at Memorial Park on Main Street. Hayrides and carriage rides are available throughout the season. Fireworks. The Garden Club fills the Courthouse with Christmas ornaments and holiday crafts for purchase. Chamber: 830-868-7684. Web. See JOHNSON CITY LIGHTS SPECTACULAR 8
  • Jan 1, 2018 - LIGHTS ON THE RIVER: Bandera. 100+ lighted Christmas Trees along with merchant displays. Lights are turned on every evening from 6-9p Free annual event. 830-796-4447. Web; Cowboy Capital Web
  • Jan 1, 2018 - COWGIRL ROUNDUP & SHOW-DEO: Bandera, at Hill Country State Natural Area, at 11a. Bandera County Cowgirls- showmanship, dressage, and speed events will be held in the arena. The history of the American cowgirl, singer/songwriters, storytellers, and artists

Jan 4-6, 2018 - BLANCO COUNTY YOUTH COUNCIL STOCK SHOW & SALSA CONTEST: Johnson City, at Blanco County Fairgrounds. Premium Sale and Salsa Contest

  • Jan 4-6, 2018 - BURNET COUNTY 4-H & FFA LIVESTOCK SHOW: Burnet, at Burnet County Fair & Rodeo Grounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Dr, behind the airport. 979-324-9431, Web, Map
  • Jan 11-13, 2018 - GILLESPIE COUNTY YOUTH LIVESTOCK SHOW: Fredericksburg, at Gillespie County Fair Grounds, 530 Fair Dr on TX-16, 2 mi S of town. Stock show for Gillesipe County youth
  • Jan 11-13, 2018 - LAMPASAS COUNTY YOUTH LIVESTOCK SHOW: Lampasas, at Show Barn
  • Jan 11-13, 2018 - LLANO COUNTY JR LIVESTOCK SHOW: Llano, at John L. Kuykendall Arena & Event Center, 2249 RR-152. Annual event, FFA hosted. Showing & sales: 9-4p. 325-247-5354.
  • Jan 12-14, 2018 - NEW BRAUNFELS ANTIQUE SHOW: New Braunfels, at Civic & Convention Center,
  • Jan 13, 2018 -2nd SATURDAY GALLERY TRAIL: Wimberley, at the Square and around town. Come to Wimberley and enjoy wine, nibbles, entertainment, and ... art!
  • Ranch Park Jan 13-27, 2018 - HAYS COUNTY LIVESTOCK SHOW: Dripping Springs, at Ranch Park,
  • Jan 14, 2018 - INDIE FILM SERIES: Fredericksburg, at Fritztown Cinema, 2254 US-87 South. screening of short film presented by Hill Country Film Society.
  • Jan 14-20, 2018 - HILL COUNTRY DISTRICT JR LIVESTOCK SHOW & SALE: Kerrville, at Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center. 830-792-4102. Web
  • Jan 20, 2018 - CHILI COOK-OFF: Fischer, at Fischer Store School Community Center, 12400 FM-32. 6-8p. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Board provides cornbread, desserts and beverages. All welcome. www.fischerstoreschoolcc.org. Ilia Morales: 830-935-2310
  • Friends of Gillespie County Historic Schools Jan 20, 2018 - GILLESPIE COUNTY HISTORIC SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE - NEBGEN: Nebgen, at 1718 N Grape Creek Rd. 11a-4p. Presented in partnership with the Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools. No admission charge, and donations gladly accepted towards the preservation projects. 830-685-3321. Web
  • Jan 20, 2018 - POLAR BEAR PLUNGE: Lampasas, at Hancock Free Flow Swim Area.
  • Jan 20, 2018 - LUCKENBACH BLUES FESTIVAL: Luckenbach, 412 Luckenbach Town Loop. Noon-9p. Annual event showcases blues artists from around the country.
  • Jan 20-21, 2018 - HILL COUNTRY GEM & MINERAL SHOW: Fredericksburg, Lady Bird Johnson Park,
  • Jan 25-27, 2018 - UVALDE COUNTY JR LIVESTOCK SHOW: Uvalde, at Uvalde County Fairplex,
  • Jan 25-28, 2018 - WIMBERLEY ART & SOUL: Wimberley, Wimberley Valley Chamber of Commerce. Over 50 activities. Free, annual event. Tickets. Vanessa Horodecky, 512-847-2201,
  • Jan 26-28, 2018 - KERRVILLE RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL: Kerrville, at River Star Art and Event Park on the grounds of the Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 TX-27 Live entertainers, artisans- Potters, jewelers, painters, leather workers
  • Jan 27, 2018 - HILL COUNTRY INDIAN ARTIFACT SHOW: Fredericksburg, at Lady Bird Johnson Park, Pioneer Pavilion Hall, on TX-16 S. 8a-4p. Texas artifacts, arrowheads, jewelry, trade beads, books, T-Shirts . Annual event, $6
  • Jan 27-28, 2018 - KERRVILLE WINTER MARKET: Kerrville, at Inn Of The Hills Conference Center, 1001 Junction Highway. Sat: 10a-5p; Sun: 11a-4p. Vendors from all over the state
  • Jan 27-28, 2018 - CELTIC FEST: San Marcos, at Celebration of St Brigid's Day, the first day of Spring in Ireland. Tradional Irish and Celtic music, ars, crafts. Family friendly. 512-393-8400. Web
  • Jan 27-28, 2018 - CHAMBER RODEO: Bulverde, at Tejas Rodeo Company, by Bulvede Spring Branch Chamber. Amazing rodeo action and loads of kids activities. 830-438-4285. Event Web
  • Jan 28, 2018 - SAVOR THE HILL COUNTRY: Johnson City, at the Science Mill. 5-8p. Showcases top restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries

Historical Census

1860 -- 1,281 —
1870 -- 1,187 −7.3%
1880 -- 3,583 201.9%
1890 -- 4,649 29.8%
1900 -- 4,703 1.2%
1910 -- 4,311 −8.3%
1920 -- 4,063 −5.8%
1930 -- 3,842 −5.4%
1940 -- 4,264 11.0%
1950 -- 3,780 −11.4%
1960 -- 3,657 −3.3%
1970 -- 3,567 −2.5%
1980 -- 4,681 31.2%
1990 -- 5,972 27.6%
2000 -- 8,418 41.0%
2010 -- 10,497 24.7%
Est. 2015 -- 11,004
Notables
  • Benjamin Milam
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson family lived in Blanco county, Johnson city. LBJ was born in Gillespie county. But lived in Blanco county.
County Resources
Pedernales
Lavender fields, Blanco county


Cemeteries



Sources

  1. https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcb08
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasHillCountryTowns/Johnson-City-Texas-Blanco-County-Courthouse.htm#about
  3. http://www.texasescapes.com/TexasCourthouses/Bones-in-the-Courthouse-Crawlspace.htm
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/png02




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