Ochiltree County is located in the far northern Panhandle, bordered on the north by Oklahoma, on the east by Lipscomb County, on the south by Roberts County, and on the west by Hansford County. Perryton, the county seat, is 120 miles northeast of Amarillo.
Cities, Towns and Communities
In 1876 the Texas legislature established Ochiltree County from lands formerly assigned to the Bexar District. The availability of land in Ochiltree County coincided with the proximity of a new railroad. In 1887 the Southern Kansas Railway Company of Texas, a Santa Fe subsidiary, built a line from Kansas through Oklahoma into the Panhandle via Canadian and Panhandle. This line passed through Lipscomb County, thirty to forty miles east of Ochiltree. Thus the county was only one or two days’ travel from the railroad. Proximity to the railroad brought an influx of settlers into the county, especially after 1900, and the ranching economy evolved into a stock-farming system. Between 1890 and 1900 the number of ranches in the area increased from forty-seven to seventy-one. The sparse ranching population of the 1880s and 1890s revolved around the village of Ochiltree, in the central part of the county fifteen miles south of the site of present Perryton. Ochiltree, founded in 1885, became the county seat in 1889, when the local residents decided to organize the county. By 1915 the town had a population of 500, a courthouse, a jail, a school, a bank, and two churches. The population of the county as a whole grew to 1,602 by 1910 and to 2,331 by 1920. The construction of the North Texas and Santa Fe Railway, a Santa Fe subsidiary, from Shattuck, Oklahoma, to Spearman, Texas, in 1919 altered the county permanently. The population and economy grew, other changes occurred. Ochiltree, fifteen miles south of the railroad, found itself at a distinct disadvantage when a new town, Perryton, was laid out on the railroad in 1919; Perryton was immediately made the county seat. During the next year the entire town of Ochiltree was moved to Perryton, and by 1920 Ochiltree had disappeared completely. The new railroad also changed the location of Wawaka, which had been established in the west central part of the county by German immigrants in 1885. In 1919 and 1920 this tiny community moved three miles north to the railroad and shortened its name to Waka. Read More Ochiltree County History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>
This county, on the northern border of the Panhandle, was organized February 21, 1889. With the nearest railroad forty-five miles distant, its development has been hindered by lack of transportation. but in spite of this situation many thousands of acres are now in cultivation in the staple Panhandle crops and a substantial class of farmer settlers have located in this section since the beginning of the present century. The extension of the Santa Fe across the county has greatly improved conditions. The county in 1890 had a population of 198, in 1900 of 267, in 1910 of 1,602, and in 1920, 2,331. Continue Reading Ochiltree County History Written in 1922 >>
Wheatheart of the Plains: An Early History of Ochiltree County, 1969 by the Ochiltree County Historical Survey Committee.
The Perryton, Texas, Story, 1975 by F. Stanley Crocchiola.