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Welcome to Sutton County!
Sutton County was created from Crockett County by an act of the Texas legislature in 1887, and was organized three years later. It was named for Col. John S. Sutton, a confederate officer who lost his life during the Sibley’s Civil War Expedition. Sonora, the only town in the county was laid out in 1888 and was selected as the county seat in1889. The city was officially incorporated in 1917. Sonora is located 66 miles south of San Angelo, 91 miles north of Del Rio on the Mexican border and 175 miles west of San Antonio.
Sutton County is on the rolling to hilly western edge of the Edwards Plateau region of Texas. It is on the drainage divide of the Edwards Plateau with its northward slope draining to the Colorado River through the San Saba and Llano Rivers and its southwest slope draining to the Rio Grande through the Devil’s River. Due to its semi-arid climate and the rocky hilly topography land uses of Sutton County are for ranching sheep, goats and cattle. Hunting of indigenous white tailed deer and the Rio Grande turkey as well as several exotic species of wildlife are very important to the agricultural economy of Sutton County. Tourism is an important industry with the top attraction being the Caverns of Sonora. The primary revenue source and chief influence on the tax base is the petroleum industry and related activities.
Demographically, the county population in 2010 was estimated at 4128. The 2000 population was 4077 which ranked the county 208th in the state. The population change from 2000 to 2010 was a positive 1.3%. The gender makeup of the population is 49.2% male and 50.8% female. The population is 59.6% Hispanic, 39.7 % Anglo, 0.4% Black and 0.3% other.
Agricultural production in the county has undergone a dramatic change in the past ten years because of the drought conditions and the decrease in profitability of traditional enterprises which primarily included finewool sheep and Angora goats. Sheep numbers have followed a national trend in decreasing because of the decrease in the wool industry. The collapse of the mohair industry has diminished the number of Angora goats in the county over the past twenty years from approximately 85,000 head to less than 15,000 head. Meat goat numbers, however, have increased dramatically in the same time period because the topography and climate lend itself to goat production of some type. Cattle production remains fairly stable depending on weather conditions. Many long time cattle, sheep and goat ranchers are turning to a serious involvement in the hunting enterprise.