Nolan County is in west central Texas, bounded on the east by Taylor County, on the south by Coke and Runnels counties, on the west by Mitchell County, and on the north by Fisher County. Sweetwater, the county seat and largest population center, is 42 miles west of Abilene, 125 miles southeast of Lubbock, and 130 miles northeast of Odessa.
Cities Towns & Communities
Nolan County History 1922. In 1876 the Legislature defined the boundaries of Nolan County as far out on the West Texas plains and occupied chiefly by the roving herds of buffalo, then being rapidly decimated, and by a few pioneer stockmen. Five years later, in 1881, the Texas & Pacific Railroad was built through the northern edge of the county, and until ten years ago was the only railway line in the county. In 1881 the county government was organized, and the county seat was placed at Sweetwater, one of the three railway stations in the county. No farming was attempted at that time, and in 1882 the live stock interests were estimated at about 11,000 cattle, 21,000 sheep and goats, and about 2,500 horses, mules and hogs. Continue Reading Nolan County History Written in 1922 >>
Nolan County was organized after an election held on January 20, 1881, and in April the Nolan County Court declared that Sweetwater was to be the new permanent county seat. The townsite was on the Texas and Pacific Railway, which had built into the area that March. The first newspaper in Nolan County, the Sweetwater Advocate, was published in 1881. Though a blizzard in February 1885 destroyed much of the livestock in the area, settlers continued to move into Nolan County. By 1890 there were 144 ranches and farms, and the population had increased to 1,573. Ranching still dominated the local economy at that time, though sheep had come to outnumber cattle in the area, 38,000 to 13,000. Meanwhile, 563 acres were planted in corn, 900 acres in oats, and 490 acres in wheat. Hundreds of new settlers moved into the area during the 1890s and early 1900s, establishing towns as they arrived. Roscoe, which grew on the site of a proposed Texas and Pacific station called Vista, was incorporated in 1890, and the town’s first newspaper, the Enterprise, was published in 1893. Blackwell, originally named Jamestown, was built around a station on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway about 1906, and Maryneal was established about the same time. Further settlement was encouraged in 1908, when the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Shortline Railway was built to run fifty miles from Roscoe to Fluvanna. Between 1897 and 1908 fifteen post offices were established in Nolan County. Reflecting these trends, the population of the county rose to 2,611 by 1900 and to 11,999 by 1910. Read Nolan County History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>
History of Nolan County, 1975, by E. L. Yeats and Hooper Shelton.