Sterling County History Written in 1922
Sterling County occupies a district situated about midway between San Angelo, on the Santa Fe, and Big Springs, on the Texas & Pacific, and was originally a part of Tom Green County. It was created March 4, 1891, and organized in June of the same year. The chief stream is the North Concho River, and a tributary is Sterling Creek, named after a frontiersman and Indian fighter. A few stockmen began running their herds in what is now Sterling County during the ’70s, and their number increased with the opening up of the western country by the construction of the Texas & Pacific Railway in 1881. In 1910 a branch of the Santa Fe Railroad was constructed a distance of forty-two miles northwest from San Angelo to Sterling City. following the general course of the valley of the North Concho, and during the past four years there has been a notable migration into Sterling County, with consequent development for which there are few statistics available. In 1903 the valuation of property as returned by the assessors was $1,276,225; in 1909, $1,640,300; in 1913, $2,070,764; and in 1920, $2,335,302. The only important town is the county seat, Sterling City. In 1900, at the first census after county organization, the population was 1,127; in 1910, 1,493; and in 1920, 1,059.
Permanent development of the county’s resources began with the present century, and most of the lands are still open pastures with stock raising the primary industry. In 1910 there were enumerated 135 farms, while the number in 1900 was 86. The area of the county is 606,720 acres, of which a little more than “half was occupied in farms at the last census, and about 8,000 acres were “improved land,” as compared with about 3,400 acres so classified in 1900. The last enumeration reported 14,752 cattle, 2,142 horses and mules, and 33,786 sheep. The acreage planted to hay and forage crops in 1909 was 2,315 ; to cotton, 1,626 ; and to kafir corn and milo maize, 927 acres. There are a number of pecan trees bordering the Concho River, and the last census enumerated about 9,000 of those nut-producing trees. – History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.