Hale County History 1922
Hale County History Written in 1922
Hale County. Hale County has been in the line of development in the Plains country of Northwest Texas for a long time. It received a considerable share of the population that peopled the Panhandle, and though remote from railways until recently, it sustained a larger population and had greater wealth than any of the adjoining counties. While the counties to the east and south had a mere handful of inhabitants up to the beginning of the present century, Hale County in 1890 had a population of 721; this increased by 1900 to 1,680. One of the chief reasons for the early development of Hale County is found in its topography. The following description, taken from a statistical report of 1903, explains the conditions which favored the early stockmen and farmers. The county is situated in the center of the Staked Plains, and is one level prairie from center to circumference, almost every acre of which can be cultivated. It has no rivers, creeks, hills, mountains or forests. The only watercourses of any kind are from slight depressions called 'draws,' which trend from northwest to southeast. The drainage consists of a succession of saucer-shaped basins. varying in size from 1 to 1,000 acres, and so situated as to form the most perfect drainage and yet retain every drop of the rainfall. On this account a small rain here does as much good as a large rain does in a country where most of the water is carried away by creeks. Many of these basins hold water the year round, and hence are called surface lakes. In any of these draws water can be had by digging to a depth varying from ten to twenty feet." The existence of an inexhaustible underground lake was understood a number of years ago, and this supply was formerly made available largely through windmill pumps. and the water stored in earthen tanks for stock and other use.
The soil of Hale County is notably fertile, and the level surface offers ideal conditions for irrigation. Aside from the watering of small garden patches and fruit orchards, irrigation made little progress until within the last four years, and agriculture was largely dependent upon the natural rainfall, supplemented by unusual favorable conditions for dry farming. In about 1910 was introduced a new phase in irrigation methods, the remarkable results of which can only be estimated, but which in the course of a few years must revolutionize agricultural productions in this county. In that year a deep well was sunk and by means of gasoline power and some centrifugal pumps water was brought to the surface in such abundance that the irrigation of a large field could be dependable and highly profitable. Since then many such wells have been put down without a single failure, and in some cases these flow to as much as 3,000 gallons per minute. While much private capital has since been invested in irrigation plants in Hale County, perhaps the best proof of confidence in its possibilities is found in the fact that the Pearson Syndicate of New York and London recently incorporated the Texas Land & Development Company, bought more than 60,000 acres of land in the vicinity of Plainview, and is now developing a large plant for irrigation, the total investment being estimated at more than $3,000,000. Where irrigation has been employed, some remarkable crops have been produced. Hale County is one of the chief centers for the growing of alfalfa, and wheat, oats and the staple forage crops of the northwestern counties also yield abundantly. Hale County is also coming into fame as one of the principal fruit sections of Northwest Texas. Hale County wheat has taken first premiums at the Dallas State Fair for three years, and in 1913 the county's products won seventy first and second premiums at the same fair, more than all other counties combined, in the competition in farm, garden and horticultural products.