Cities, Towns & Communities
Briscoe County, 1922. Briscoe County, created in 1876 and organized March 15. 1892, lies on the southern border of the Panhandle and is one of the few counties in that section of the state not yet penetrated by railways. The Altus, Roswell & El Paso Railroad has for several years been under construction, and some miles have been graded in Briscoe County, but that line is not yet in operation. The chief town and county seat is Silverton, with a population of about 650. Another town is Quitaque, with a population of 200.
Topographically the county is divided in two distinct areas, and the development of the natural resources is closely dependent upon the physiography. The Western and Central portions are on the staked plains, with one running stream and without hills, though the surface is gently undulating. The edge of the plains is an irregular and precipitous bluff from four hundred to eight hundred feet in height. About 50 per cent of the county not on the plains is in Palo Duro Canyon. The country below the plains and outside of the canyons is undulating prairie. A large portion of the plains is underlaid by the shallow water supply of Northwest Texas, and while irrigation has been limited chiefly to small gardens and orchards, it will undoubtedly be an important factor in the near future. At the census of 1880 twelve inhabitants were credited to Briscoe County, but no separate enumeration was made in the county in 1890. In 1900 the population was 1,253 ; in 1910, 2,162 ; in 1920, 2,948. In 1903 the value of property in the county was $1,146,656 ; in 1913, $2,581,837 ; and in 1920, $3,569,544.
A few years ago the county was divided among large pastures, and the one outfit controlled several hundred sections of land. Stock raising has naturally been the chief industry for nearly forty years. The development of the water resources, together with improved methods of cultivation, is making diversified farming an important and interesting feature. Practically seventy-five per cent of the county is tillable. For many years the ranchers have had small orchards of apples, peaches and other fruits, and these have demonstrated that both soil and climate are adapted to horticulture. The total area of the county is 577,920 acres, of which 480,078 acres were included in farms in 1910. At that date there were 307 farms and ranches, as compared with 170 in 1900. The amount of “improved land” increased from 9,434 acres in 1900 to about 92,000 acres in 1920. Statistics on livestock and crops prepared by the last census are as follows : Cattle, 48,749 ; horses and mules, 5,374. – History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.