Wichita County, Texas
Wichita County, located in the extreme north central Texas, on the Oklahoma border, is surrounded by Clay County to the east, Archer County to the south, Wilbarger County to the west and Oklahoma to the north and northeast. Wichita Falls, the largest city and county seat, is 144 miles northwest of Dallas.
CIties, Towns and Communities
Wichita County 1922. Wichita County has come into special fame in recent years as one of the chief centers of oil and gas production. The gas field at Petrolia in Clay County had been opened in 1907. In June, 1911, the bringing in of a 1,000-barrel well at Electra in the western part of Wichita County inaugurated the development of a field which at the beginning of 1913 had over 300 producing wells, and is now regarded as the chief center of oil production in the state. During 1911 the production of the Electra field was nearly 900,000 barrels. In July, 1912, at the north side of the county and three miles from the town of Burkburnett, near the Red River, another successful well was brought in. The development of these fields has brought a wealth to Wichita County which excels that of other productive industries, but so recent as to furnish no reliable statistics to measure their results. Gas and oil have contributed to the making of Wichita Falls, already a flourishing railroad and commercial center, one of the most attractive cities for manufacturing enterprises in North Texas. Wichita County was created in 1858, but was not permanently organized until June, 1882, Practically all of its history has been written within the last thirty years. Continue Reading Wichita County History Written in 1922 >>
Wichita County was established by act of the Texas legislature on February 1, 1858, from the Cooke Land District, and was attached to Clay County for judicial purposes. The new county was named for the Wichita Indians, and settlement was hindered by Indian attacks. Most of the area's Anglo-American pioneers arrived after 1870, when school lands were purchased to become cattle ranches, which have remained an important part of the economy.
Wichita County remained unorganized and sparsely inhabited until after 1880, when its population reached 433. Wichita County's population increased relatively rapidly during the decade after its organization, rising to 4,831 in 1890. The population was predominantly Anglo-American. The extension of the tracks of a number of rail lines into the county greatly facilitated growth. The Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad reached the tiny settlement of Wichita Falls from Fort Worth in September 1882. This connection ensured the existence of Wichita Falls, which adopted the date of the arrival of the first train, September 26, 1882, as its birthday. Additional railroad-building activity resulted, in large measure, from the efforts of two Wichita Falls businessmen, Joseph A. Kemp and Frank Kell. Between 1884 and 1911 these men, acting independently and in concert, organized and promoted three rail lines out of Wichita Falls: the Wichita Falls and Northwestern, the Wichita Falls and Southern, and the Wichita Falls and Wellington. The construction of these roads, all of which were purchased by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line in 1911, established Wichita Falls as a regional transportation and distribution center. Its population increased from 2,480 at the turn of the century to 8,200 by 1910. Continue Reading Wichita County History at the Handbook of Texas Online >>
Wichita County Beginnings, 1982, by Louise Kelly