Dawson County, Texas

Dawson County, located on the Texas high plains, is surrounded by Lynn County to the north, Borden County to the east, Martin County to the south, Gaines County to the west and Terry County to the northwest. Lamesa, the county seat, is 62 miles south of Lubbock.

Cities, Towns & Communities

Ackerly (partly in Martin County) | Klondike | Lamesa – county seat | Los Ybanez | O’Donnell (mostly in Lynn County) | Patricia | Welch


Dawson County History 1922. Perhaps no county in the Plains country of West Texas has developed more rapidly since the beginning of the present century than Dawson. The county boundaries were assigned in 1858, but the county received only scant attention even from the stockmen, and its population did not justify a county government until 1905. In 1880 only twenty-four per­sons were enumerated in the county ; in 1890 the population remained about the same, twenty-nine inhabitants being reported ; in 1909 the population was thirty-seven, but by 1910, 2,320 inhabitants were found in the county, and in 1920 there were 4,309. 

The first decade of the twentieth century was a time of dramatic growth for Dawson County, as the population jumped from thirty-seven people in 1900 to 2,320 in 1910, and the number of ranches and farms increased from four to 330. Between 1902 and 1905, as the grazing leases expired, Dawson County lands were filed on for settlement. Prospective settlers waited in line in Big Spring for as long as six weeks when choice pieces of land were released. In 1907 the first railroad land was sold at from three to five dollars an acre. One large ranch was not opened for settlers until 1946, when it sold for sixty-five dollars an acre. The first school in Dawson County began in one room of the Mullins ranchhouse in 1902. The first church was organized by the Baptists in Chicago in 1904, but the Methodists built the first church building in Lamesa in 1907; it was used alternately by four communions on successive Sundays. The first post office was north of Lamesa at the Bartow ranch headquarters, where residents produced a wagonload of mail to prove to postal authorities that a post office was needed. They were so impressed by the amount of their own handiwork that they humorously named their post office Chicago. That same year, the Dawson County News was begun by J. E. Garrison and the Dawson County Bank was organized.

Dawson County, named for Nicholas Mosby Dawson, had been formed on August 21, 1876, but was attached to Howard County for judicial purposes until February 13, 1905, when separate organization was authorized. Dawson County’s first election to choose officials and select the county seat was held on March 20, 1905. The contesting towns, Lamesa and Chicago, were only two miles apart. Lamesa won by five votes, but a movement was already afoot to consolidate the towns and all businesses and residences in Chicago were moved into Lamesa. After six years of effort to secure a railroad, the Santa Fe was built into Lamesa in 1911.

County Histories

The Trail of Years in Dawson County, 1958, by Matthew Clay Lindsey.

Dawson County History, 1981, by Dawson County Historical Commission.


Lamesa, TX 32° 44′ 15.36″ N, 101° 57′ 3.5712″ W

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