Oldham County History 1922
Oldham County History Written in 1922
Oldham County. About three-fourths of the entire area of Oldham County was set aside and granted as a portion of the 3,000,000 acres given to the syndicate of capitalists who furnished the money for the building of the state capitol at Austin. As late as ten years ago it was stated that three-fifths of the county was held in immense pastures, and the process of breaking up the large ranch holdings into farms has gone forward more slowly in Oldham County than in many other sections of Northwest Texas. For this reason, largely, the county, though in area one of the largest, has a very meager population, farming is practiced in only a limited way, and the agricultural settler has made less inroad against the ranchers than in other parts of the Panhandle. On account of these general conditions, the amount of "improved land" at the last census was only about 12,600 acres, and in 1900 the census reported about 11,500 acres of such land. The number of farms increased from 23 to 87 between 1900 and 1910. The total area of the county is 987,520 acres, of which 513,855 acres were occupied in farms and ranches in 1910. As a stock range Oldham County has furnished immense numbers of cattle and other live stock to the Texas aggregate. More than thirty years ago the number of cattle was reported at about 33,000 and about 25,000 sheep. The last enumeration showed 43,005 cattle and 1,595 horses and mules. The limited acreage in crops is indicated by the report for 1909, showing 2,709 acres in hay and forage crops, 1,401 acres in wheat, and 693 acres in kafir corn and milo maize. In 1882 the assessed value of taxable property in the county was $443,875, of which more than three-fourths was represented by live stock ; in 1903 the property valuation was $900,247; in 1913, $3,616,758; and in 1920, $4,126,876, indicating that the greatest progress economically has been made within the last 10 or 15 years.
Oldham had one of the first county organizations in the Panhandle. a local government having been organized, with Tascosa as the county seat, in December, 1880. The population of the county at the Federal census of that year was 287, and at the election in the fall of the same year 187 votes were polled, which indicates that practically all the residents were males and of voting age and other qualifications. At the census of 1890 the county had a population of 270, a decrease ; in 1900, 349; in 1910, 812, and in 1920, 709. After the construction of the Fort Worth & Denver City Railway across the northern corner of the county in 1888, a railway station was established called Tascosa, but was several miles from the county seat town of Tascosa, which was on the north side of the Canadian River. During the present century the Rock Island Railroad was constructed across the southern border of the county. There are several other towns besides the county seat, including Adrian, Vega and Wildorado.
During the years before the railroad came Tascosa was one of the most notorious towns in Texas, a supply point for the various cattle outfits operating in the Panhandle, and a center for periodical revelry and dissipation for the cowboys. Among all the old-timers who followed the trail across the Panhandle during the '70s and '80s Tascosa has associations so as to classify it with such larger and more notorious cattle towns as Fort Dodge, Abilene and Fort Worth. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.