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Howard County History 1922

Howard County History Written in 1922

Howard County. Howard County was created from the Bexar district during the '70s. but its county government was not organized until June 15, 1882,

The total population of the county at the census of 1880 was given as fifty. Cattlemen and buffalo hunters had taken temporary possession. and Big Springs, on account of abundance of water, had long been an oasis in these western plains. The map of Texas in 1874 indicates the springs as one of the conspicuous geographical points in the country.

During 1881 the great army of railroad builders passed through the county laying the tracks of the Texas & Pacific Railroad, and the springs were as useful to the railroad as they had been to the buffalo and cattle, With the railroad came permanent settlement, stock ranches and farms were established for miles along the right of way, and from that time civilization began to develop its various institutions and activities.

By 1890 the population of the county was 1,210; it doubled during the next decade, being 2,528 in 1900; in 1910 was 8,881, and in 1920, 8,962. In 1900 the population of Big Spring was 1,255, or approx­ imately half of the total population of the county, a proportion which was maintained through the next decade, since the population of the chief city in 1910 was 4,102. Other towns in the county are Coahoma, Morita, Soash and Vincent.

While the cattle industry is very prominent, as it has been for more than thirty years, the soil of Howard County is very fertile and is well adapted to the growth of cotton, milo maize, kaffir corn and all kinds of fruits. The agricultural interests are growing, and the figures of the last census indicate the truth of the assertion. In 1910 the census enumerators found 891 farms in Howard County as com­ pared with only 130 in 1900. The approximate total area of the county is 570,240 acres, and of this area about 85,000 acres were in "improved land" in 1910, as compared with less than 6,000 in the same classification ten years before. In 1909, 22,197 acres were planted in cotton, 13,458 acres in kaffir corn and milo maize, 917 acres in corn, 2,237 acres in hay and forage crops, while the fruit interests were indicated by the enumeration of about 28,000 orchard fruit trees. The live stock enumeration for the county in 1910 was: Cattle, 32,545; horses and mules, about 5,300; hogs, 2,594; and poultry, 32,244; in 1920, cattle, 8,422; horses and mules, 2,262.

Since the construction of the Texas & Pacific Railway Big Springs has been a division point on that road. A selection of the point was chiefly due to the existence of superior water supplies such as could not be found at any other place in West Texas along the route of the railway. The Big Spring proper are about a mile and a half south of the city, and as they constituted a great natural water supply to the early stockmen, the railway company found them equally useful, and for a number of years the city water supply was drawn from the same source. Finally the Big Spring Water Company was organized and sunk wells to tap an abundant underground supply near the same springs. In 1881 Big Spring was a village of tents and adobe huts. There was nothing to support the town at that time except the railway interests and scattering ranches, but as the railway company began to enlarge its machine shops and the ranches became more numerous the little village began a steady growth which has continued until the present time. The railway company in 1906 constructed new shops at a cost of half a million dollars, and that improvement came about the time the farmers made their greatest advance in the movement to crowd out the ranchmen. In April, 1907, the city was incorporated, and has acquired municipal improvements equal to any found in towns of similar size in all West Texas.

Howard County has made a substantial increase in material wealth in the past ten years, particularly during the first half of that decade. The amount of taxable property in the county in 1903 was $2,422,420; in 1909. $4.797,940; in 1910, $4.842.805; and in 1920. $5,295,000. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.

Location

32° 15' 1.44" N, 101° 28' 43.464" W