Potter County History 1922
The landseekers of that time were largely a drifting population, without the anchor of property or provident industry, and a single crop failure or any difficulty caused them to pull away from their temporary moorings and drift, oftentimes in a starving condition, back to the more settled communities from which they had come. It has been well said that the first wave of population in a new country is speculative, and therefore less stable than those that succeed. Evidence of this is found in the fact that in spite of the dry conditions that have prevailed in Northwest Texas for several years, the county as a whole has made progress, has increased in population and wealth, and there has been nothing resembling the general exodus which occurred during the '90s. This region in the past ten or fifteen years has developed from the "Cow Country" of former years into one of the greatest wheat and grain raising sections in the United States, producing in 1919 and 1920 about 25,000,000 bushels of wheat annually, with a production of other grains equal in value. The estimated production of the Panhandle from agricultural sources in 1920 was about $300,000,000. Being the distributing and financial center of this territory, Amarillo has reaped a large benefit from these conditions.
Outside of Amarillo and its suburban territory Potter County has had the same general characteristics of development as other adjacent counties. The northern part of the county is traversed by the Canadian River, and most of this consists of the broken grazing land characteristic of the Canadian brakes. At this time there are numerous farms in this section of the county, but a large part of it is given over to large ranches. It is in this section of Potter County, north of the Canadian River, that an immense field of natural gas has been developed. At this writing the gas production is about 400,000,000 cubic feet per day. This gas has been piped to the city of Amarillo and forms the basis of great expectations in the way of industrial development for the city. Fully four-fifths of the entire population of the county is concentrated in Amarillo. Population of the county in 1880 was only 28 ; in 1890, 849 ; in 1900, 1,820; in 1910, 12,424 ; and in 1920, 16,910. The valuation of the property in the county in 1903 was $1,615,559 ; in 1913. $12,577,135; and in 1920, $17,557,716.
Owing to the fact that less than one-half of Potter County is classed as agricultural land, and as evidenced by the fact that outside of the city of Amarillo there are only about 1,500 people in the county, this county does not rank high in agricultural production. At the present time (1920) there are only about 150 farms in the county, although a very considerable portion of the large ranches is devoted to raising feed crops. The total acreage of Potter County is 597,760. In 1910 there were 29,000 acres of land in cultivation. In 1920 there are 50,000 acres in cultivation. The 1920 census shows in the county 1,460 horses and mules, 15,200 head of cattle, and other live stock, including hogs and sheep, 1,200. The last assessor's reports shows in Potter County 25,000 acres in wheat, 5,000 acres in oats and barley, 5,000 acres in forage crops and 15,000 acres in kaffir and maize.
- History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.