King County, Texas

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Historical Marker.
  • King County County was formed in 1876 from Bexar District; organized in 1891 It is named for William P. King, a volunteer from Gonzales who died at the named for William Philip King, Alamo Defender.[1]
Apache and Comanche were early tribes in the area.
1874-75 - The Red River Wars, United States Army campaign resulted in relocation to reservations of Native Americican this enabled more settlers. to open the region to white settlers.[2]
August 21, 1876, the Texas legislature formed King County from Bexar County.
1883: The Louisville Land and Cattle Company acquires land - W.H. Guthrie is major shareholder.[3]
1883 Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company was organized and SMS ranches were established[2]
1883 - 6666 (called Four Sixes Ranch), also founded in 1883, was managed from 1965–1986 by Jim Humphreys of (National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock).
pre 1890 Early ranchers preserved water by damming canyons and draws to hold the heavy spring rains. [2]

1883 Pitchfork Ranch, in Dickens and King counties, Acreage- 170,000 Acres, Primary use: cattle, quarter horses and farming..
These friends, Eugene F Williams and D.B. Gardner left the Mississippi plantations to head for Texas. Williams ended up in St. Louis, where he joined the Brown Shoe Company. Gardner arrived in Texas and began working first as cowboy, then foreman until he could buy a small rancho. In 1881 the Pitchfork brand was for sale for $50,000. Col J.S. Godwin invested.The old friend finally arrived and bought Godwin/'s share, so he and Gardner founded the Pitchfork Ranch located near Guthrie, Texas. Cattle are the ranch main source of income, but the Pitchfork is known for the Thoroughbreds. By 1940 The Pitchfork switched to quarter very fine horses. Today the ’Forks (as it is called) is owned by Williams’ descendants.[4]

1890s windmills became the method of water preservation.[2]
1891, the county was organized. Guthrie was designated as the county seat.[2]
1891: land surveyed - Ironically, Louisville Land and Cattle Co. pushes for Ashville to become county seat Guthrie wins the election - post office is granted - courthouse is built
1892: first school built - classes had been taught in the courthouse[3]
1900: The Louisville Land and Cattle Company is bought out by the 6666 Ranch. [3]
1904: population reaches 101 - remains about the same number until 1950[3]
1902 Four Sixes Ranch. was established in 1902 by Samuel Burk Burnet[3]
1984: population swells to 140[3]
1990: population reaches 160 and concerns are raised - emergency measures are discussed if population continues[3]

6666 Ranch

6666 Ranch barn
1900 The 6666 Ranch in King County.. with 350,000 acres used for cattle and horses. The origin of this Ranch has two stories:
This gambler from Missouri, Burk Burnett won land for a ranch in a high-stakes card game. He named the ranch after the winning hand he had held (four Sixes) .. the Four Sixes or the 6666 Ranch and named it after his hand: the Four Sixes. Burnett and his descendants deny this story. He says he bought the ranch from the Louisville Land and Cattle Company and named it after the brand already imprinted on his first herd: 6666. Who knows which is true? This ranch is managed by Burnett's grand-daughter Anne Winfohr Marion (62) and husband John. In the 1960-1970's a Marlboro cigarette ad with an image of the 6666 red and white barn made the ranch famous on Madison avenue[5]

Dumont was formed in the late 19th century. Farmers began to share the land with ranchers. Cotton was the leading crop for a time, followed by corn, sorghum, and fruit trees.[2]
1943 - Oil was discovered in the county [2]
Jan 1, 1991 ( 114,403,000 barrels (18,188,600 m3) of oil had been pumped from King County lands since the first wells were drilled.[2]

Government Offices

King county has had four courthouses:1891, ca 1905, 1914, 1982

1st King County courthouse 1891 was two story, but was destroyed in tornado.[6]

1891 courthouse.

2nd King county courthouse 1905 "King County Courthouse, 1913. This building later burned." Photo courtesy THC[6]

3rd King County Courthouse 1914 - Style: Classical Revival with prairie-style influences Material: Concrete and steel. This courthouse served many years. Currently is county museum.[6]

1914 courthouse.
1914 Courthouse.

4th King County Courthouse 1982 to present[6]

1982 Courthouse and the older courthouse now used as museum


Size: 944 square miles (2,360 km2), of which 911 square miles (2,360 km2) is land and 2.5 square miles is water.[2]
Type Rolling Prairie region of Northwest Texas,
Longitude/Latitude:center point of the county is 33°38' north latitude and 100°15' west longitude, midway between Lubbock and Wichita Falls.
Soil - hilly, broken country with extensive grasslands and dark loam to red soils
Elevation - 1,500 to 2,000 feet above sea level; Haystack Mountain and Buzzard Peak are the highest points in the county,
Drainage - Wichita and Brazos rivers
Temperatures - minimum of 27° F in January and a maximum of 99° in July
Growing season lasts 219 days
Rainfall is 21.6 inches
Agriculture and income-- Agriculture in King County produces an annual average income of about $11.5 million, mostly from beef cattle. Some cotton and grains are grown. There is no manufacturing, though oil production in 1982 exceeded 3.5 million barrels, valued at more than $116 million.


Highway 82 and 83
96 miles E of Lubbock
31 miles E of Dickens
28 miles S of Paducah
34 miles N of Aspermont

Adjacent counties

  • Cottle County (north)
  • Foard County (northeast)
  • Knox County (east)
  • Stonewall County (south)
  • Dickens County (west)
  • Haskell County (southeast)

Protected areas


In 2000, there were 356 people, with a population density of 0.39 people/sq mi Races were 94.10% White, 1.12% Native American, 3.09% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. 9.55% of the population were Hispanic.[2]

There were 108 households out of which 41.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 79.60% were married couples living together, [2] The median income for a household in the county was $35,875 which showing the median income for a family was $36,875. Males had a median income of $21,389 versus $30,179 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,321. 20.70% of the population and 17.90% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 23.00% are under the age of 18 and 31.60% are 65 or older.[2]

1894 Jail.
  • U.S. Highway 82 / Texas State Highway 114
  • US Highway 83
  • Texas State Highway 222

Politics - King County originally was a strongly Democratic county even by Solid South standards from 1892.

1948, 95.85 %of voters supported Harry S. Truman,[2]
1960 - 76.9% voters chose John F. Kennedy[2]
1964, 84.1% voters supported Lyndon Johnson.[2]
county also voted for Hubert Humphrey by a plurality in 1968, with 48.7% supporting Humphrey while 31.7% voted for George Wallace and a mere 19.6% voted for Richard Nixon.[2]

Since the 1980s. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win over twenty percent of the vote in King County was Bill Clinton in 1996.[2]

2004 presidential election, 87.8& incumbent U.S. President George W. Bush, a Republican,

In the 2008 presidential election, 93.2 percent (151 votes) supported the Republican, Senator John McCain, whereas only 4.9 percent (8 votes) backed the Democrat, Senator Barack Obama. Of all United States counties, King had the largest percentage of support for McCain.[2]

2012 presidential election, President Obama fared even worse in King County. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, received 139 votes in the county (amounting to 95.9% of the county's total votes in the presidential election), while President Obama received only 5 votes — amounting to 3.4 percent of the total.


Formed From

  • Bexar County.



1880 --- 40 —
1890 --- 173 332.5%
1900 --- 490 183.2%
1910 --- 810 65.3%
1920 --- 655 −19.1%
1930 --- 1,193 82.1%
1940 --- 1,066 −10.6%
1950 --- 870 −18.4%
1960 --- 640 −26.4%
1970 --- 464 −27.5%
1980 --- 425 −8.4%
1990 --- 354 −16.7%
2000 --- 356 0.6%
2010 --- 286 −19.7%
Est. 2015 --- 282


Land Grants



  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17,_Texas
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3

See Also:

  • King County Historical Society, King County: Windmills and Barbed Wire (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1976).

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