Loving County, Texas

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Loving County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas that is the least populous county in the entire United States.[1][2] With no incorporated municipalities, its seat and only community is Mentone. The nearest sizable towns are Pecos, Texas, and Carlsbad, New Mexico. In 2000, its population was 67. By 2006, the population had crept up to 71.[3]

Part of the Haley Ranch, founded by the father of Texas historian J. Evetts Haley, is in Loving County, with another portion in neighboring Winkler County.



Exploration and incorporation

Prehistorically, the area had many springs with potable water that supported wildlife and nomadic hunters. Antonio de Espejo visited the area in 1583 and crossed the Pecos River. Having surveyed the area in 1854 for a railroad company, John Pope returned in 1855 to start a camp in northwestern Loving County and establish artesian wells in the area, but the venture was unsuccessful and was abandoned in 1861.

From 1837 to 1874, the area of modern Loving County was part of the Bexar land district. In 1874 it was separated from Bexar County, becoming a part of Tom Green County.

Loving County is named for Oliver Loving, a cattle rancher and pioneer of the cattle drive who, along with Charles Goodnight, developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail. He was mortally wounded by Comanches while on a cattle drive in 1867 in the vicinity of the county.

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