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Parmer County History 1922

Parmer County History Written in 1922

Parmer County. All of Parmer County was included in the princely domain of the Capitol Syndicate Ranch, comprising 3,000,000 acres of land granted by the state in the early '80s as payment for the erection of the splendid State House at Austin. This ranch also included one-eighth of the area of Bailey County, and half of Lamb County. Only in recent years has there been a gradual breaking up of this vast tract, and its corporate ownership and management furnishes an obvious explanation for the late development of Parmer County as compared with other neighboring sections of the great Panhandle district. The Pecos & Northern Texas Railway, a branch of the Santa Fe, was constructed across the county from northeast to southwest during the year 1898. In other counties the advent of the railroad has been accompanied by an immediate influx of settlers and a rapid development of agricultural resources. However, Parmer County, which in 1890 was credited with a population of seventy, in 1900 had only thirty-four inhabitants enumerated by the census, and only within the present decade has there come any considerable number of settlers. Population in 1910 was 1,555, and in 1920, 1,699. Under such conditions no county government was instituted until 1907, and except as a great cattle range Parmer County has been unimproved until within the last decade.

The surface of the county is a level plain and absolutely treeless except where settlers have planted small groves of fruit and other varieties. In 1900 one corporation owned all the land, so that only one farm was enumerated. By 1910 the number of farm was 161. Along the railway the cattle syndicate established several railway stations, at Black, Friona, Parmerton, Bovina, which has enjoyed distinction as being one of the largest cattle shipping stations in the state, and at Farwell, just across the state line from Texico, and established as the county seat at the organization of the county.

The assessed valuation of property in Parmer County in 1912 was $4,792,839. The total area of the county is 577,280 acres, of which the last census reported 116,083 as included in farms, and about 38,000 acres as "improved land," compared with only 350 acres in cultivation in 1900. The census enumerated 2,904 cattle, about 950 horses and mules; and 8,716 sheep. In 1920, cattle was enumerated as 22,250, horses and mules, 14,450. The crops in 1909 were kaffir corn and milo maize, 4,907 acres ; hay and forage crops, 7,230 acres ; wheat. 1,948 acres ; and corn, 232 acres.

The assessed valuation of the county for 1920 was $6,500,000, while in the past five years the number of farms have increased 100 per cent and the wheat and corn acreage has been multiplied ten fold, so that Farwell is now one of the largest grain shipping points in extreme West Texas.

While the county seat has a population of less than 1,000 at the date of this writing, December, 1920, it is the business center of a very prosperous community, having a high school of the first class, several churches, one bank, with average deposits of $250,000, and a large factory for the manufacture of tires and casings, as well as the assembling of automobiles. It is the gateway to New Mexico from the east, and four great automobile highways converge at this point to carry the overland motor traffic to Western and Southwestern points.

- History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.


34° 23' 0.276" N, 103° 2' 16.8" W