Ellis County is located in north central Texas. Waxahachie, the largest town and county seat, is on Interstate Highway 35E thirty miles south of Dallas. The county is bounded by Dallas County to the north, Kaufman to the east, Navarro and Hill counties to the south, and Johnson County to the west. The center point of the county is at 32°21' north latitude and 96°48' west longitude. Ellis County comprises 939 square miles of the Blackland Prairie. Away from the streams it is almost treeless except for scattered mesquite, cacti, and shrubs. Native vegetation consists mainly of bunch and short grasses, including Indian, buffalo, grama, big and little bluestems, and three-awn. Such native trees as ash, cottonwood, pecan, hackberry, bois d'arc, oak, and elm grow along watercourses. The terrain is level to rolling, with an elevation ranging from 300 to 700 feet above sea level. The area lies in a southeastward-sloping plain and is well drained by many streams that flow into the Trinity River, which forms the eastern boundary of the county. Red Oak, Waxahachie, Mill, and Chambers creeks drain most of the county. The Austin Escarpment, a high chalk ridge, extends in a northeast-southwest direction and cuts off drainage to the southeast. Mountain Creek flows northeast and drains the northwestern part of the county. The soils—predominantly calcareous, marly and variegated clays and clay loams—have average to good moisture retention and are underlain by a water supply sufficient for livestock, irrigation, and domestic purposes. The alluvial soils are mainly clay. Mineral resources include gas, oil, stone, and clays valuable for brickmaking. Chalk and shale provide material for the manufacture of cement. Temperatures range from an average low of 35° F in January to an average high of 96° in July, rainfall averages slightly less than thirty-six inches a year, and the growing season extends for 245 days.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.