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Mount Blanco, Texas

Mount Blanco is on the Caprock escarpment off Farm Road 193 fifty-five miles northeast of Lubbock in northern Crosby County.

History

Mount Blanco Community. Named for tall white mesa that was a landmark on Mackenzie Trail, surveyed in 1871 by U.S. Cavalry scouting for Indians on the frontier. Near the mesa in 1877, frontiersman Henry Clay Smith (1836-1912) built a two-story stone house for speculators Charles Tasker of Philadelphia and Lord Jamison of Ireland. This was the first permanent homestead in South Plains Region. Smith also brought in cattle for Tasker, and had to accept house as his compensation when Tasker failed in business. In the fall of 1877, Smith moved his family here; nearest neighbor was 50 miles east. The home became a way-station for prospectors, and Smith encouraged many settlers such as Paris Cox, the Quaker founder of Estacado (22 miles West). Mount Blanco Post Office opened in September 1879, with Mrs. Smith (Elizabeth Boyle, 1848-1925) as postmaster. In 1886, Smith led in organizing Crosby County. This area prospered, and by 1890 had a school. Farming largely replaced ranching after 1900. Post office closed in 1916. School consolidated with Crosbyton in 1949. Smith's stone house (1 mile North) burned in 1952. Village of Mount Blanco (4 miles northeast) lost its last store about 1956, its church in 1965. Only a cotton gin and clubhouse now (1975) remain as public buildings in Mount Blanco. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1975. Location: From Crosbytown, take FM 651 about 12 miles north to intersection with FM 193.

Mount Blanco. Mount Blanco was named for a nearby mesa, which in turn derived its name from Blanco Canyon to the west. The community was the site of the first permanent settlement on the West Texas plains. In an 1872 expedition designed to drive the Comanche Indians onto a reservation in Oklahoma Territory, the Fourth United States Cavalry under Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie mapped a trail running through the Mount Blanco site, thereby opening the way for adventurers to move in.In the fall of 1877 Smith moved his family to a cattle ranch on a location he had selected, where they set up residence as the first permanent settlers in Crosby County. The rock house was on the military trail, at that time the only road across the Llano Estacado. The nearest post office was at Fort Griffin, 175 miles away, and to remedy this situation, Hank Smith had his house designated the Mount Blanco post office in 1879. Mrs. Smith (Elizabeth Boyle), the first postmistress, served for thirty-seven years, until 1916.

In the early period school districts were not given names, but it is believed that Mount Blanco was Crosby County's District No. Two, whose boundaries were defined on June 14, 1877. In 1913 the one-room school at Blanco Canyon was moved to a location eight miles northeast of the rock house. A new school, which was built in 1916 and later enlarged, also served as a community center and church meetinghouse. After the school district voted on September 27, 1949, to consolidate with Crosbyton, the Mount Blanco community began to decline sharply. It was finally dissolved in 1965, when members of the Missionary Baptist Church, established at Mount Blanco in 1918, voted to disband. In 1989 the only business remaining on the site was the gin, which began operation in 1957. For years the West Texas Pioneers' and Old Settlers' Reunion was held at the rock house in what is now known as the Hank Smith Memorial Park. The house, however, burned in 1952, and only the walls remain standing. Read Mount Blanco History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>

Location

33° 47' 57.768" N, 101° 14' 6.432" W