Howard County

Howard County, on the High Plains of West Texas eighty miles west of Abilene, is bordered by Glasscock, Martin, Dawson, Borden, Scurry, and Sterling counties. Big Spring is the county seat and largest community. Interstate Highway 20 bisects the county from east to west, and U.S. Highway 87 runs northwest to southeast. State highways 33, 176, and 350 are other important roads.

Cities, Towns & Communities

Big Spring (Big Springs) – county seat | Coahoma | Elbow | Forsan | Knott | Morita | Sand Springs | Soash | Vincent


Howard County was formed from Bexar County on August 21, 1876, and named for Volney Erskine Howard, a United States congressman from Texas in the 1840s and 1850s. It was attached to Mitchell County in 1881 for legal administration, then organized in 1882. Big Spring was designated as county seat. For a time Howard County was responsible for the legal administration of Lynn, Terry, Yoakum, Dawson, Cochran, Gaines, Andrews, Borden, and Martin counties. Construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881 benefited Howard County and particularly Big Spring, where a railroad-maintenance shop provided a stable payroll. The arrival of the railroad also spurred the growth of Big Spring into a major trading center. The town became an important shipping point for livestock and produce, and a supply point for an area extending from Lovington, New Mexico, to the Big Lake country in Reagan County and northward to ranches in the Post and Lubbock area. 

Howard County History 1922. 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. 

County Histories

Howard County in the Making, 1938, by John R. Hutto.

Gettin’ Started: Howard County’s First 25 Years, 1980, by Joe Pickle


Big Spring, TX 32° 15′ 1.4328″ N, 101° 28′ 43.4496″ W

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