Brewster County, the largest county in Texas, is located in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, and is the site of Big Bend National Park, the largest park in the state. Brewster County is bordered by Presidio County to the west, Jeff Davis County to the northwest, Pecos County and Terrell County to the east, and the Rio Grande to the south.
Cities, Towns & Communities
Brewster County 1922. Brewster County was created from Presidio County in 1887, and the first election of county officers occurred in February of the same year. It is one of the immense county areas of the Trans-Pecos region, with an area of five thousand and six square miles, and its surface consists chiefly of high rolling prairies and mountains.
The Southern Pacific Railway was built across the north end of the county in 1880, and in 1912 the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient was put in operation as far as Alpine. Both these roads furnish transportation to the north end of this immense county, while the vast area in what is known as the “Big Bend” of the Rio Grande is an isolated district. rich in mineral resources and with some of the most magnificent scenery in Western Texas, but on account of its isolation little known to the outside world. Brewster County contains some of the highest mountain peaks in Texas, several of them reaching altitudes between four thousand and eight thousand feet. The Grand Canyon in the southern part of the county, on the Rio Grande, has walls which in places rise perpendicularly a distance of 1,700 feet. The width of this canyon at places is less than 100 feet. Brewster County is in the mining district of West Texas, and the mineral resources stand first in an economic survey of the county. One of the largest quicksilver mines in the United States is operated in the Terlingua district, in the southern part. and several other similar mines are operated. A number of mines are in operation in that district, and have been producing for several years. The quicksilver output in this district, beginning in 1899, showed a production in that year of 1,000 flasks, a flask approximating seventy-five pounds. In 1910, 3,320 flasks were produced and in 1917, 11,753 flasks. There are also rich silver mines, and one was worked in the vicinity of Alpine until the low price of silver made it unprofitable. There are large quantities of excellent marble, iron, lead and copper, and the mining interests engage a large number of laborers. Because of the lack of transportation and inadequate water supply the great mineral wealth of the county has not been fully developed. Next to the mining interests stands the livestock industry, and on limited areas in the valley’ irrigation has been employed for the raising of the forage crops and fruit, Another possible source of wealth is oil, which has been discovered there.
At Marathon, on the line of the Southern Pacific, is a rubber factory, manufacturing rubber from the Guayule, which grows luxuriantly on the mountains. This factory is closed at present.
The population of Brewster County in 1890 was 710 ; in 1900, 2,356; in 1910, 5,220, including over 2.000 Mexicans ; and in 1920. 4,822. The immense area of Brewster County comprises 3,203,840 acres, and about a third was included in farms or ranches at the last census report. The amount of improved land in 1900 was 743 acres, and in 1910 about 2,300 acres. There were seventy-seven farms or ranches in 1900 and 190 in 1910. The stock interests in 1910 comprised 59,671 cattle ; 3,700 horses and mules; 6,704 sheep, and 9.321 goats ; in 1920, 52,453 cattle; 4,662 horses and mules; 992 sheep ; 2,110 goats. The production of agricultural crops was limited to a small acreage in corn, kafir corn and milo maize and hay and forage crops, and until recently most of the farming has been done by the Mexicans along the river valleys. About 3,000 orchard fruit trees were enumerated at the last census. The valuation of property in the county in 1903 was $3.543.083 ; in 1913, $8,439,882 and in 1920, $9.430,989. – History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.
Brewster County History from the Handbook of Texas Online.
Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande, 1972.
How Come It’s Called That? Place Names in the Big Bend Country, 1958.
Brewster County has had only one courthouse since the county’s inception. Brewster County Courthouse >>
Alpine Public Library
203 N 7th St
Alpine, TX 79830
Big Bend Genealogical Society, Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio Counties
Museum of the Big Bend, Sul Ross State University, Alpine, Texas