Somervell County

Somervell County, Texas

Somervell County, Texas

The Somervell County Courthouse is located in the city of Glen Rose, the county seat. Photograph by Renelibrary.
Somervell County, Texas

Somervell County, Texas

Map of Somervell County, Texas. Map Credit: Robert Plocheck.

Somervell County is in north central Texas and is bisected by U.S. Highway 67 and State Highway 144. It comprises 188 square miles, the second-smallest area among Texas counties. Glen Rose, the principal town and county seat, is fifty-five miles southwest of Fort Worth. The county's center lies at 32°14' north latitude and 97°47' west longitude. The eastern half of the county is in the Grand Prairie region, while the western area is in the Cross Timbers. The primary soil type consists of very shallow, clayey soils in limestone. Other types include deep loamy and alluvial soils, especially along the river bottoms. Most of the land is used for range, though some is pasture and cropland. The only mineral resources are brick clay, limestone, road materials, and a small amount of natural gas. The overall terrain is generally rough with outcroppings of limestone. Native trees on the uplands include live oak, Spanish oak, mountain cedar, post oak, black jack, and mesquite. Cottonwood, pecan, bur oak, and black walnut can be found along the river bottoms. The elevation ranges from 600 to 1,200 feet. Three major streams traverse the county; the Brazos River winds through the eastern third, while the Paluxy River passes through the center and empties into the Brazos near its confluence with Squaw Creek. Temperatures range from a July average maximum of 98° F to a January average minimum of 32°. The average annual rainfall is 32.65 inches, and the growing season is 236 days long.

More than 100 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the area that is now Somervell County. The Paluxy River has some of the best-preserved tracks found in the continental United States. Much of the excavation on these tracks was done by Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. That museum, the University of Texas, the Smithsonian Institution, and several local museums retain samples. Local efforts to protect and preserve tracks imbedded along the river resulted in the foundation of Dinosaur Valley State Park, a 1,523-acre facility formally dedicated in 1970. Prior to European settlement of North America, the area was inhabited by American Indians, particularly members of the Caddo groups and Tonkawas. The southern edge of the Wichita Confederacy of Caddos extended into this area, although the Tonkawas were the major tribal group. Apaches and Comanches came into the area periodically. The first permanent Anglo settler was Charles E. Barnard, who established an Indian trading post in the late 1840s with his brother, George Barnard, for whom George's Creek was named. Charles's wife, Juana Cavasos Barnard, was the granddaughter of Don Narciso Cavasos, recipient of the largest Spanish land grant in Texas. She had been captured by Comanches in South Texas and ransomed by the Barnards. Barnard's Mill, built in 1860, was the first building at the site that is now Glen Rose. The mill is still standing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During most of the 1850s and early 1860s the Barnard's Mill settlement was a part of Johnson County. In 1866 the area was included in a new county, Hood, marked off entirely from Johnson County. Somervell County was established in 1875, when residents in southern Hood and northern Bosque counties petitioned for a new county because of their separation from markets and seats of government. The county, taken completely from Hood County, was named for Alexander Somervell, who led an expedition to Mexico under the Republic of Texas. The first and only county seat is Glen Rose, named in 1872. Other early communities included Wilcox, Rainbow, Nemo, and Glass. The census of 1880 indicated a population of 2,649, with only 132 in Glen Rose. At that time Somervell County had a black population of twenty-four.

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Richard Elam | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Currently Exists


Place type

Somervell County is classified as a County

Altitude Range

550 ft – 1310 ft


Land area does not include water surface area, whereas total area does

  • Land Area: 186.5 mi²
  • Total Area: 192.0 mi²


January mean minimum: 27.4°F
July mean maximum: 97.0°F

Rainfall, 2019

36.9 inches

Population Count, 2019


Civilian Labor Count, 2019


Unemployment, 2019


Property Values, 2019

$2,826,470,943 USD

Per-Capita Income, 2019

$45,756 USD

Retail Sales, 2019

$49,549,931 USD

Wages, 2019

$53,201,274 USD

Somervell County

  • Somervell County
Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
Town 24 (2009) Yes
Town 43 (2014) Yes
Town 2,848 (2021) Yes
Town 56 (2009) Yes
Town 121 (2009) Yes
Town 70 (2009) Yes
Lake Yes

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