RAINS COUNTY. Rains County is in northeast Texas on
the upper reaches of the Sabine River. It is bordered by Hunt,
Hopkins, Wood, and Van Zandt counties. The county seat and largest
town, Emory, is centrally located in the county at 32°50' north
latitude and 95°50' west longitude and is sixty-four miles east of
Dallas. The altitude of Rains County varies from 406 to 491 feet above
sea level. The average maximum temperature is 95° F in July, and the
average minimum is 31° in January. The county receives an average of
42.2 inches of rain per year and has a growing season of 242 days.
With a total area of only 258.8 square miles, Rains County is one of
the smallest counties in the state, and more than 10 percent of it has
been under water since the construction of Lake Tawakoni andLake
Fork Reservoir. The soils are primarily a mixture of sand and
clay. The Sabine River forms the southern border of the county, but
most of the creeks drain northeast into the Lake Fork of the Sabine.
Other watercourses in Rains County are Elm, Cedar, Garrett, Woodbury,
Brushy, Sandy, Turkey, Bull, and Bear creeks. There are also numerous
springs. The largest group, Springville Springs, are the source of a
stream that flows through the city park in Emory. The rate of flow
from these and other springs has slackened in recent years because the
water table has been lowered by well pumping.
The dominant trees in the county are post oak, blackjack oak, walnut,
cedar elm, and black hickory, as well as winged elm, chinaberry,
redbud, and dogwood. The western Blackland Prairie has primarily tall
grasses and mesquites, and post oak, elm, and pecan trees are found
along streams. The number of wild animals is relatively low, but a
considerable diversity is represented. Many of the species are at the
extreme western or eastern extension of their natural range. The most
common mammals are the opossum, cottontail, swamp rabbit, several
species of squirrel, and the plains pocket gopher. Less abundant, but
also native to the area, are the beaver, coyote, gray fox, raccoon,
weasel, mink, river otter, skunk, bobcat, and white-tailed deer. Thearmadilloestablished
itself in Rains County within the last century. Species which have
been exterminated or driven away include the black bear, mountain
lion, red wolf, alligator,buffalo,
and wild turkey.
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