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Ten County Seats You're Not Likely to Visit

But if don't visit -
you'll miss the Ruffini courthouse and the pictographs

by Tim Buktu, Geography Editor
Sanderson Texas depot view
A view in Sanderson
TE photo
Not that they aren't interesting. They're just a little out of the way and in most cases besides being a little short of population, they're a little short on amenities as well. In some cases you could put the entire populace in the courthouse (but they probably wouldn't like it). Still they're in Texas, so that makes them worthy of our interest.

Statistics come from The Dallas Morning News Texas Almanac (Millennium Edition), a Texas Department of Transportation map of Texas, and/or the 1990 census. If you really need an accurate count, give them a call, they'd like to hear from you. They'd like to hear from anyone.

In no particular order they are:
1. Paint Rock, Concho County
Population 204

Suggested slogan: "You can't get lost in Paint Rock"

North of Eden, (the county's second city). This one you just might visit (if you're traveling between Ballinger and Menard). Paint Rock is named after the ancient pictographs along the banks of the Concho River. A small cluster of buildings surround a tidy courthouse that reassures Paint Rockers that they are the County Seat, not the Colossus of Eden. The Concho County Courthouse is by F.E. Ruffini and dates from 1886.

Pictographs can be visited by car or tours can be arranged (325-732-4376).
2. Sarita, Kenedy County
Population 250

You may have passed this one because you were too busy looking at your gas gauge. It's on Highway 77 South of Kingsville and North of Raymondville.


Take a picture of the Courthouse, nobody will bother you. Look for gophers in the courthouse lawn. There isn't much more to do. Population is up from 185 in '93.

Named after a member of the King-Kleberg Clan. Check out the gleaming Land Company Office and it's matching garage. No shirt, no shoes, no service. No problem. No stores. No restaurants. No bathrooms. Births:10. Deaths:3.
3. Gail, Borden County

Both Town and County named after the man who condensed milk. County population about 750. Gail has about 190 and a museum. We'd like to say more, but…
4. Miami, Roberts County

Miami has a population of about 530, the county 880. (Births:3, Deaths:10) Marriages:4 Divorces:4 (no information if they're the same people).

Not as many hotels as that other place, but they can put you up if you decide to visit. Something to think about: There are more people in Miami, Florida who wish they lived in Miami, Texas than there are Texas Miamians who wished they lived in Florida.
5. Silverton, Briscoe County

Briscoe County has about 1920 people. While Silverton has the majority (764), the county hasn't the lopsided numbers of many under-populated counties.

Quitaque, the "second city" has a respectable 470. You'd expect more people would live there with such an interesting name.
6. Guthrie, King County

Population 160 with 175 more spread around the rest of the county.

According to statistics, there were 5 Marriages and 1 divorce. People tend to stay married because replacements are hard to come by. Births and deaths were tied at 1.

Second City is Dumont with a population of 85.
7. Eldorado, Schleicher County

Eldorado has 2,225 of the counties 3,372 citizens. Whether you pronounce it like the Cadillac or the town in Arkansas, it doesn't change the population.
8. Sanderson, Terrell County
Population 876

"Cactus Capital of Texas"

The rest of the county is a thriving 287 for a total of 1163.

Terrell's births are 12 to Death's 13. According to our almanac, there is one Black person and he is outnumbered 2 to 1 by the Asian hordes of Terrell County. Sanderson is also the former home of Tex Toler.

Dryden has 13 people.
9. Mertzon, Irion County

Population 650 with a county wide total at 1520. Death is winning over births 14 to 11. Sherwood (pop 73) with it's beautiful 1901 courthouse is the former county seat.
10. Mentone, Loving County
Population 95

A town so nice they incorporated twice - Around 1906 or so, people weren't paying their taxes so the county was dissolved and absorbed into neighboring Reeves County. Reeves billed the owners for back taxes and when they were paid, the Lovingites got their county back.

Never before have so few lived around so much with so little. Named after Oliver Loving, co-founder of the Loving-Goodnight Cattle Trail. Mentone has no newspaper, movie theater, airport, or banks. A short time ago the phone company was threatening to disconnect the only pay phone in the county.

Mentonites are alone and Loving it. Mentone leads the state in zero population growth. Births:0. Deaths:0. According to the Almanac, the entire county population lives in Mentone.


©
John Troesser
2000
Readers' Comments
I just discovered your site. I am short of time but I can't wait to explore it more in the future. And, yes, I have it bookmarked. My wife and I are seasoned Texas travelers and explorers and of the 10 countyseats one is not likely to visit we have visited 6 (and we have visited 13 of the ghost towns listed). The saddest photo is the one of the Stiles courthouse. We didn't know it had been burned. Thanks for the work you have done.- Ron Arlington, June 21, 2001


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