Crockett County is located in southwestern Texas on the western edge of the Edwards Plateau. It is bounded on the west by the Pecos River, which separates it from Terrell and Pecos counties. Its northern border is formed by Crane, Upton, Reagan, and Irion counties, while Schleicher and Sutton counties border it on the east and Val Verde County on the south. Ozona, the county seat and only town, is located eighty-two miles southwest of San Angelo. The center point of the county is at 30°41' north latitude and 101°21' west longitude. Crockett County comprises 2,806 square miles. The terrain consists of deep, narrow, steep-walled canyons and flat mesas in the southern and western areas. Broad valleys and flat divides characterize the northern part. The northeastern part is a large flat divide separating the Colorado River and Rio Grande basins. The surface geology is Cretaceous. The soils are dark, calcareous, stony clays and clay loams. The western half of the county is desert shrub savanna, and the eastern half is juniper, oak, and mesquite savanna. Altitudes vary from 1,500 feet above sea level in the southwest to 2,800 feet above sea level in the northwest. Temperatures vary from an average low of 32° F in January to an average high of 96° in July. The average rainfall is eighteen inches per year. The growing season extends across 233 days. Numerous draws, dry most of the year, drain the county during floods and empty into the Devils and Pecos rivers. Johnsons Run and Howard Draw bisect the central area before reaching the Devils and the Pecos, respectively, in Val Verde County. Live Oak Creek runs to the south from the northwest and enters the Pecos at Lancaster Hill. The dry bed of Spring Creek originates in the northeastern corner of the county and extends northeast to the Middle Concho River.
Early important sources of water for prehistoric people and early travelers were Live Oak Spring and Cedar Springs, which once provided strong flows in western Crockett County. Among the first people to take water from the springs were the early inhabitants of Gobbler Shelter, located on a small tributary canyon of Live Oak Creek. Prehistoric people lived over long periods of time in the shelter, where they left artifacts. Spaniards first passed through the area of Crockett County in 1590, when Gaspar Castaño de Sosa brought the first Europeans through the isolated canyonland. Castaño led a mining expedition from Monclova, Chihuahua, to the northern New Mexico pueblo of Santo Domingo. His party of 170 men, women, and children is thought to have traveled up Johnsons Run and crossed the western section of the future Crockett County to reach the Pecos River. On May 22, 1684, Juan Domínguez de Mendoza and his expedition crossed the Pecos River and camped at a site Domínguez called San Pantaleón now in Crockett County. At that time several Indian tribes lived in the area, among them Lipan Apaches and Tonkawas. Comanches drifted into the area during the eighteenth century, displacing earlier inhabitants.
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