The Dawson County Courthouse in Lamesa
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Nicholas Mosby Dawson|
|o Total||902 sq mi (2,340 km2)|
|o Land||900 sq mi (2,000 km2)|
|o Water||1.8 sq mi (5 km2) 0.2%%|
|o Density||15/sq mi (6/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Dawson County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 13,833. The county seat is Lamesa. The county was created in 1876 and later organized in 1905. It is named for Nicholas Mosby Dawson, a soldier of the Texas Revolution.
Dawson County comprises the Lamesa, TX Micropolitan Statistical Area.
A Dawson County was founded in 1856 from Kinney County, Maverick County and Uvalde County, but was divided in 1866 between Kinney County and Uvalde County. The current Dawson County was founded in 1876.
In 1943, the discovery well for the Spraberry Trend, the third-largest oil field in the United States by remaining reserves, was drilled in Dawson County on land owned by farmer Abner Spraberry, for whom the geological formation and associated field were named. While most of the oil fields are in the counties to the south, a small portion of the Spraberry Trend is in Dawson County. Production on the field did not begin until 1949, and by 1951, an oil boom was underway in the area, with Midland at its center.
Like all Texas counties as stipulated in the Texas Constitution of 1876, Dawson County has four commissioners chosen by single-member district and a countywide-elected county judge, the chief administrator of the county.
James Edward "J. E." Airhart, Sr. (1915-2007), served for 30 years from 1935 to 1985 on the Dawson County Commissioners Court, in which capacity he worked to obtain the county livestock and fair barn, the general aviation airport, and numerous highway improvements. He was instrumental in the successful negotiation of rights-of-way for U.S. Highway 87 north to O'Donnell and south to Ackerly. A farmer and rancher, Airhart also served on the board of the Klondike Independent School District and was a Baptist deacon.J. E. "Jimmy" Airhart, Jr. (1935-2016), the oldest of Airhart's six children, was a farmer/rancher and educator, who was superintendent of the Dawson County Independent School District.Donald Ray Airhart (1937-2017) was a cattleman in Dawson County who like his father, served on the Klondike School Board and worked with youth in stock shows and other agricultural pursuits.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 902 square miles (2,340 km2), of which 900 square miles (2,300 km2) are land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) (0.2%) are covered by water.
As of the census of 2000, 14,985 people, 4,726 households, and 3,501 families resided in the county. The population density was 17 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 5,500 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.47% White, 8.66% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 16.56% from other races, and 1.77% from two or more races. About 48.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 4,726 households, 35.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.40% were married couples living together, 11.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.90% were not families. About 23.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.20.
In the county, the population was distributed as 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 20.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 124.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 129.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $28,211, and for a family was $32,745. Males had a median income of $27,259 versus $16,739 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,011. About 16.40% of families and 19.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.20% of those under age 18 and 12.80% of those age 65 or over.