Taylor County History 1922
These latter statements are particularly true, not only of Taylor County, but of many other counties, and the facts have been indicated in other county sketches. Taylor County, in 1882, had in round numbers 13,000 cattle, 11,000 sheep and goats, 2,300 horses and mules. and about 1,000 hogs. The Federal census in 1910 enumerated the livestock as follows: 18,199 cattle, 12,000 horses and mules, 6,837 hogs, 4,532 sheep, and 78,779 poultry. Numerically the sheep industry alone has declined since 1882.
Taylor County now has several railroads. All except the original Texas & Pacific have been constructed within the last ten years. About 1905 the Abilene & Northern was chartered to build from Abilene to Stamford, and a little later the Abilene & Southern Railroad was started at Abilene and constructed as far as Ballinger in 1909. During the present decade the Pecos & North Texas division of the Santa Fe system has been constructed through the county.
The population of Taylor County in 1880 was 1,736; in 1890, 6,957; in 1900, 10,499; in 1910, 26,293; in 1920, 24,081. In 1882 the assessed value of taxable property was $733,809, a third being represented by live stock; in 1903, $5,047,167; in 1913, $14,114,950, and in 1920, $14, 249,615.
For the past twenty years Taylor County has been the home of many prosperous farmers, and agricultural development has proceeded on diversified lines. The total area of the county is 581,120 acres, of which 468,377 acres were reported as included in farms or ranches in 1910. The amount of "improved land" at the last census was about 201,000 acres, a large increase during ten years, about 80,000 acres having been so classified in 1900. In 1910 the county had 2,404 farms, as compared with 1,152 in 1900, The stock interests have already been noted. Few counties in West Texas have a larger acreage in crops, and the figures for 1909 are as follows: Cotton, 101,075 acres; kafir corn and milo maize, 20,961 acres ; hay and forage crops, 19,778 acres; corn, 1,588 acres ; oats, 1,227 acres; wheat. 1,557 acres. About 58,000 trees were enumerated in orchard fruits.
Taylor County voted out saloons from its area in 1902. It has been progressive in many lines, has voted a large amount of money for the construction and improvement of roads, has many farmers' institutes organized, and another important expression of the charac ter of society is found in the fine public schools and colleges and the many beautiful churches in the county.
The chief city and county seat is Abilene, but the county has many other thriving small towns. The largest is Merkel, on the Texas & Pacific west of Abilene, with a population in 1910 or 2,008. Other towns on the Texas & Pacific are Trent, Tye and Elmdale. Along the line of the Abilene & Southern are located Tuscola, also a junction point for that road and the Pecos & Northern Texas, Ovalo, Guio, Iberis and Bradshaw. On the line of the Pecos & Northern Texas are Buffalo Gap, the oldest town in the county, and other stations are Blair, Lawn and View. Some of the rural villages are Hamby, Potosi, Moro and Inkum.
History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.