Concho County History 1922
Concho County History Written in 1922
Until very recent years Concho County has been regarded as included in the great Western Texas cattle range, a typical stock country, its undulating surface of hills and valleys, with scant growth of timber, furnishing a country whose primary usefulness is as pas ture land. It was during the decade of the '70s that the pioneer stock men made their first determined advance into the country, which they disputed with the buffalo and the Indian, and since then many thousand head of cattle, sheep and horses have grazed on the rich grasses of Concho County's land and have been driven out to market. Since the beginning of the present century agriculture has made important strides, and there are sufficient statistics to prove a great development in that line in that time.
Concho County was one of the county divisions created before the war by the Legislature in 1858, its territory having been taken from the original Bexar district. As was true of McCulloch County on the East, the stockmen had little interest in a permanent county organization, and the first county government was organized March 11, 1879.
The latter date indicates about the beginning of consecutive improvement and development in the county. The statistics of population indicate quite accurately other facts of progress. Population in 1880 was 100 ; in 1890. 1,065 ; in 1900. 1.427 ; in 1910. 6.654, and in 1920. 5,847. In 1881 the value of taxable property in Concho County was $445,185, to which live stock contributed values amounting to about $165,000.
In 1888 the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway, which for several years had been building westward from Lampasas, was completed to San Angelo, and, passing close to the northwest corner of Concho County, furnished the most accessible railway conveniences for that county during the next twenty years. About 1910 a short line of railway was constructed from the Santa Fe at Miles into Concho County to Paint Rock. A year or so later branches of the Santa Fe through San Saba and McCulloch County, and of the Fort Worth & Rio Grande from Brady, penetrated the southeast corner of Concho County.
The county seat from the time of organization has been Paint Rock at the north end of the county and in the valley of the Concho River The other chief settlements concentrated in the southeastern part of the county, where the older town was Eden, while Eola and Millersview were country communities between these two first mentioned places. Eden is now the western terminus of the line of the Santa Fe from Brady, and one or two other villages have sprung up with the railway.
In 1903 the valuation of property in Concho County was $1,935, 689. Development during the next ten-year period is indicated by the rise of taxable values to $4,471,897 by 1913 ; and in 1920, $5.105,401. The last Federal census enumerated 865 farms in Concho County, as compared with 119 in 1900. The area of the county is 617,377 acres, and while the census reported a part of this land in farms, only about 80,000 acres was classified as "improved land," which figures in themselves indicate much progress during the preceding decade. since the amount of improved land in 1900 was only 6,184 acres. The live stock interests in 1920 were : Cattle, 24,376; horses and mules, 5.017; sheep. 37,019; hogs, 1,661.
The County of Concho has a good system of schools and the last session of the law makers gave it several independent districts. During the last three years most of the smaller rural schools have been made a part of the larger rural schools and many small schools have made one good one.
The county seat took its name from the painted rocks along the Concho River near the town. These paintings were discovered with the country and have been preserved all these years. It is believed that the aborigines painted these rocks, as they are drawings of the hunt. Some will be the man shooting antelope and buffalo with a bow and arrow. Paintings of this kind are to be found in the south western part of Texas, but these are the best and have been better cared for than any in the surrounding country. The owner of these rocks takes great pride in their being on his ranch and sometimes says that if the state will take the Painted Bluff he will deed it for a park to be preserved for the future generations. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.