Location of Decatur, Texas
|• Total||8.78 sq mi (22.75 km2)|
|• Land||8.78 sq mi (22.75 km2)|
|• Water||0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)|
|Elevation||1,102 ft (336 m)|
|• Density||807.70/sq mi (311.85/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1373362|
Decatur is a city located in and the county seat of Wise County, Texas, United States.It is northwest of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex and is 25 miles north-northwest of Fort Worth and 45 miles northwest of Dallas. Its population was 6,042 at the 2010 census.
Wise County was established in 1856, and Taylorsville (in honor of Zachary Taylor) was made the county seat.
Absalom Bishop, an early settler and member of the Texas Legislature, opposed naming the town after a Whig Party member, and in 1858, arranged to have the name changed to Decatur, in honor of naval hero Stephen Decatur.
In 1857, a post office was opened, and the first school was established in 1857. In the early 1860s, a courthouse was erected.
Early settlers to northern Texas came from a variety of eastern states, and only about half came from the "Deep South". Most of the rest came from the Upper South, and a number sympathized with the Unionist side at the outset of the Civil War. Cooke County and others voted against secession in this part of the state. Violence against Unionists by Confederate troops and militia was common, especially after the Confederate legislature passed an unpopular conscription law.
In October 1862, several Unionist sympathizers from Decatur were arrested by Confederate troops and taken to nearby Gainesville, the Cooke County seat, for trial on charges of treason and insurrection. About 150-200 suspects were arrested by Confederate troops. A "Citizens Court" was pulled together by local colonels, although it had no standing in state law. It quickly convicted seven men, who were executed by hanging. Mob pressure against the court arose, and it turned over 14 suspects, who were lynched - executed by hanging without any judicial process. Nineteen men who had been acquitted were returned to the court, and a new jury convicted them without any new evidence, sentencing them to death. They were also hanged. Another two men were shot trying to escape. In all, 42 men were killed in Gainesville in these actions.
North Texas was in chaos, with dissenting citizens at risk from military forces. A few weeks later, more suspected Unionist supporters were hanged without trial in several North Texas communities. Five were lynched in Decatur, under the supervision of Confederate Capt. John Hale.The Great Hanging at Gainesville is believed to have been the largest single incident of vigilante violence in U.S. history.
By the late 1860s, several stores and a hotel had been established. In 1882, the Fort Worth and Denver Railway reached the town,and Decatur was added to the Butterfield Overland mail route.
In 1881, the Wise County Old Settlers Reunion held their first meeting. This has become an annual tradition in Decatur, and the reunion continues to take place during the last full week of July.
Decatur Baptist College (now Dallas Baptist University) was established in Decatur in 1898. It was the first two-year institution of higher education in Texas. In 1965, the college moved to Dallas to be in a larger population center. The former Administration Building now houses the Wise County Heritage Museum. It is one of five sites in Decatur listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Wise County Courthouse was designed by James Riely Gordon, the master architect of Texas courthouses. Completed in 1896, the building is an example of Gordon's Signature Plan. He used corner entrances (making for short halls) to draw in the breeze, which was pulled up through a central atrium like a chimney, providing excellent air circulation. The exterior is Texas red granite (like the Capitol) with terra cotta ornamentation. The almost pyramidal mass refers to 1,000-year-old churches in the south of France. The building has been praised, with its "sister" courthouse in Waxahachie, as "the zenith of Gordon's Richardsonian Romanesque work".It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1962, Eddie Wayne Hill, lead guitarist for Tommy & the Tom Toms, and drummer Joel Colbert, were killed when their convertible collided head-on with a gravel truck on State Highway 114 south of Decatur. Country singer Charley Pride was more fortunate, surviving a mid-air crash with another plane over Decatur in 1980, though two people died in the crash.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.5 square miles (22 km2), all land. The highest point of elevation in the county is the courthouse site. As with ancient hill towns in Europe, the frontier settlement was developed on high ground for defensive purposes, so European settlers could see and ward off attacks or raids, in this case by Native Americans.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification, Decatur has a humid subtropical climate, Cfa on climate maps.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of July 1, 2008, U.S. Census Bureau, the city had estimated population of 6,432.
As of the censusof 2000, 5,201 people lived in the city. The population density was 747.6 people per square mile (288.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.64% White, 1.98% African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 12.44% from other races, and 2.63% from two or more races. Latinos of any race were 22.53% of the population.
Of the 1,845 households, 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were not families. About 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the city, the population was distributed as 17.2% under the age of 18, 20.5% from 18 to 24, 38.1% from 25 to 44, 8.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,449, and for a family was $40,580. Males had a median income of $30,512 versus $21,213 for females.
In August 2008, Entegris acquired Poco Graphite, Inc. of Decatur, a supplier of specialized graphite and silicon carbide products for use in semiconductor, EDM, glass-bottling, biomedical, aerospace, and alternative-energy applications.
The City of Decatur is served by the Decatur Independent School District (DISD), the largest district in Wise County. Decatur ISD is centered in Decatur and has six campuses: Decatur High School, McCarroll Middle School, Carson Elementary School, Rann Elementary School, and Young Elementary. During the 2010–2011 school year, Decatur ISD had 3,011 students enrolled.
Weatherford College has a branch campus in Decatur.
Wise County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 59,127. Its county seat is Decatur. Wise County is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area. Its Wise Eyes crime-watch program, eventually adopted by mostly rural counties in several states, was started in 1993 by then-Sheriff Phil Ryan.
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