Estacado, the first white agricultural settlement on the South Plains, was established by Paris Cox in 1879. Looking for a suitable location to establish a Quaker colony, Cox had secured railroad land in western Crosby and eastern Lubbock counties in the late 1870s in exchange for his sawmill business in Indiana. In the fall of 1879 the first families (Cox, Stubbs, Spray, and Hayworth) arrived in the area in time to face a severe winter. Cox built a sod house for his family, but the other settlers spent the ordeal in tents and quit the colony the following spring, leaving only the Cox family in residence. After a successful crop was achieved, however, interest in the colony was renewed, and by 1882 ten families had been recruited. The community was named Marietta (or Maryetta) for Cox's wife Mary, but was renamed Estacado, from Llano Estacado, when the post office was established in 1884 with William Hunt as postmaster.
In 1886 Estacado became the county seat of Crosby County. The community provided some of the first organized education on the South Plains when Emma Hunt began teaching in a dugout classroom in 1882; by 1884 classes were being held in the Quaker meetinghouse. The Central Plains Academy, the first college on the Llano Estacado, was established in the community in 1890 and operated for two years. The town flourished for some years, and by 1890 the population was reported at 200. But in 1891 Emma became the county seat and Estacado began to decline. The town lacked leadership after Cox's death in 1888, and a grasshopper invasion and drought in 1892-93 all but finished it.
Favorable growing conditions attracted settlers to the region after 1900, however, and Estacado continued to exist, although the original Quaker colony had dissolved. The post office was closed in 1918, after which mail came through Petersburg. The population increased from sixty-eight in 1930 to eighty-five in 1940; it remained stable at eighty from 1970 through 2000. In the mid-1980s the town had a cotton gin and a few scattered residences. Source: Handbook of Texas Online
Estacado Historical Marker Photo from Wikimedia Commons.