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Jeff Davis County History 1922

Jeff Davis County History Written in 1922

Jeff Davis County. This county was part of Presidio County until 1887. when it was created and organized, and the county seat established at old Fort Davis. The troops of old Fort Davis did a valuable service many years in patrolling the border and guarding life and property against Indians and outlaws, but the post was abandoned by the Government in 1890. In the meantime a considerable settlement had grown up around the old fort, it had been the county seat of Presidio County from 1875. and though isolated from railroads it still retains its honors as the place of local government and also as one of the noted resorts of West Texas. In the vicinity of Fort Davis are the Davis Mountains, and at different points across the county are some of the highest mountain peaks in the South, many of them ranging between 4,000 and 6.000 feet in elevation, and several being over 8.000 feet. To the lover of wild and rugged scenery, and the hunter of big game, Jeff Davis County has long presented unrivaled facilities, and while old Fort Davis is off the beaten path of the ordinary tourist it attracts an increasing number of sportsmen and travelers to whom primitive nature makes a strong appeal. The greater part of the lands of the county are held in large tracts and owned by the state or railroad companies, and while the live stock industry assumes large proportions, agriculture has as yet been little developed, and only by irrigation methods. Thus far irrigation has been applied largely to orchards and small fields of alfalfa. These farms lie mostly in the valleys, and the water is supplied from artesian wells.

The population of Jeff Davis County in 1890 was 1,394; in 1900, 1,150; in 1910, 1,678, including 600 Mexicans.

The total area of the county is 1,448,320 acres, with about two-thirds occupied in ranches, and the last census reported 5,800 acres as "improved land," as compared with 1,170 acres in 1900. The number of farms or ranches in 1910 was ninety-one. In that year the cattle enumerated were 74,961; about 2,700 horses and mules, 4,667 goats. The crops were chiefly hay and forage crops, kaffir corn and milo maize and corn, and about 2,300 orchard fruit trees were mentioned in the statistics.

The valuation of property in the county in 1903 was $1,630,370; in 1913, $4,193,766; and in 920, $4,600,488.

The only railroad in the county is the Southern Pacific, which crosses the western end, and the principal town along its route is Valentine. The Texas & Pacific just touches the north corner of the county. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.


30° 35' 17.556" N, 103° 53' 40.668" W