Irion County is on U.S. Highway 67 and State Highway 163 in southwest central Texas, bounded on the west by Reagan County, on the south by Crockett and Schleicher counties, and on the north and east by Tom Green County. It was named for Robert Anderson Irion. The center of the county is at 31°18′ north latitude and 100°35′ west longitude, forty miles southwest of San Angelo.
Cities, Towns and Communities
Irion County. Created March 7,1889 Organized April 16,1889 Named in honor of Robert Anderson Irion, 1806-1860. Came to Texas in 1833 and located at Nacogdoches. Member of the first Texas Congress. Secretary of State in the cabinet of President Houston, 1837-1838. Sherwood, the county seat. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1936. Marker located on US 67,2 mi. N of Mertzon.
Irion County embraces 1,051 square miles of rolling prairie, grass, mesquite, and, in some sections, exposed rock. Elevations range from 2,100 to 2,600 feet above sea level… Though ranching continued to dominate the local economy well into the twentieth century, crop farming became more important after a number of homesteaders settled on state lands between 1901 and 1904. By 1910 there were ninety-four farms and ranches in the county, and the population had increased to 1,283. Further immigration into the area was encouraged when the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway slowly extended its tracks through the county between 1907 and 1911. Thanks in part to the new railroad connection, the county continued to grow between 1910 and the late 1920s. The number of farms and ranches increased to 136 by 1920 and 160 by 1930. By the latter year crop farming had expanded to 5,000 acres, 1,975 planted in cotton; sorghum was the most important other crop…. The census bureau counted 1,610 county residents in 1920 and 2,049 in 1930. The arrival of the railroad also shaped the political geography of the area. Sherwood, the county seat, began to decline when it was bypassed by the railroad, while Mertzon-which was on the line-grew and began to challenge Sherwood for the role of county seat. In a 1927 election held to determine which town should be county seat, voters chose Mertzon over Sherwood by 286 to 231. Sherwood retained its status, however, because a two-thirds plurality was required for a change. After another election in 1936 Mertzon was chosen county seat by a vote of 453 to 222. Continue reading Irion County History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>
History of Irion County 1922. This county for a number of years was under the jurisdiction and a part of original Tom Green County, and was detached and created a separate county in 1888 and a local government organized in April, 1889. It is a country in the Western Plains district, with limited rainfall, meager timber resources, and while there has been some development in the direction of agriculture, the chief interest for years has been live stock. Ten years ago it was said that half the total area of the county was held in two big pastures, but recent years have witnessed a tendency toward the breaking up of such holdings and the introduction of better live stock, better methods, and some real agriculture.
In 1890, at the first census after the county was organized, its population was 870, and in 1900 there was a slight decrease from this small figure to 848; at the last census the population was 1,610. In 1910 the census reported ninety-four farms, as compared with fifty-two in 1900. In a total area of 638,720 acres, about 155,000 acres were occupied as farms. The total area of “improved land” in 1910 was 5,257 acres, as compared with 1,226 acres in 1900. Though a stock raising county, numerically the statistics are disappointing as compared with other counties in eastern sections where live stock is much less pronounced as a feature of economic wealth. In 1920 there were 18,648 cattle, 1,961 horses and mules, and 30,837 sheep. The chief crop acreage in 1909 was : Hay and forage crops, 1,374 acres including about 400 acres in alfalfa ; corn, 536 acres ; kaffir corn and milo maize, 717 acres ; cotton, 707 acres ; and oats, 322 acres.
One great improvement has come since 1910 in the extension of the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railroad from San Angelo through the county, and through the influence of this transportation system a large number of new settlers have come in and the other familiar developments following improved transportation have occurred. The chief town of the county is the county seat, Sherwood, while Mertzon, Monument and Suggs are other railway towns.
The increase of taxable wealth during the past ten years is illustrated by the following figures : In 1903, $1,246,100; in 1909, $1,665.730 ; in 1913, $2,312,611 ; in 1920, $2,991,077. – History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.
A History of Irion County, Texas 1966, by Leta Crawford.
Irion County Maps from the Portal to Texas History