Motley County, Texas

Motley County, located in the Rolling Plains region of Northwest Texas, is surrounded on the east by Cottle County, on the south by Dickens County, on the west by Floyd County, and on the northwest by Briscoe County and on the north by Hall County. The center of the county is about eighty miles northeast of Lubbock.

Cities, Towns & Communities

Flomot | Four Corners (Frog Hollow) | Matador – county seat | Northfield | Roaring Springs | Tee Pee City | White Star | Whiteflat


Motley County. Formed from Young and Bexar territories; created August 21, 1876, organized February 5, 1891. Named in honor of Dr. Junius William Motley, 1812-1836, signer of the Texas declaration of Independence, aide to General Rusk at the Battle of San Jacinto where he was mortally wounded. Matador, the county seat. – Historical Marker Text.

Motley County. Settlers began to move to the county in greater numbers in the early 1890s; an incomplete 1891 tax roll listed 317 taxpayers. That same year the county was organized, with Matador as county seat. Since the General Land Office required a county seat to have twenty businesses, Matador Ranch employees had opened temporary stores stocked with ranch supplies. During the 1890s the county was disturbed by friction between settlers and the managers of the Matador Ranch, who attempted to control the county government. In elections held in 1894 the Matador candidates won their usual offices, but in 1896 the settlers were numerous enough to elect their own favorites. The struggle went on until 1900, when the settlers’ majority became substantial. By that year there were 209 ranches and farms in the county, and though the area continued to be dominated by ranching, crop farming was becoming established. The agricultural census reported 85,497 cattle that year, while corn culture occupied 944 acres and cotton was grown on ninety-five acres. The census counted a population of 1,257 that year.

Motley County History 1922. The western portion of Motley County lies in the Staked Plains region of Texas, and in many portions its undulating surface is broken and mountainous. Live stock raising is the principal occupation of the people, although there is considerable acreage under cultivation. Cotton, alfalfa, and the usual Panhandle staples are grown. Some small orchards and vineyards have demonstrated the possibilities of horticulture.

Motley County Jail. This 2-story jail was erected in 1891, the year Motley County was organized, after County Judge H. H. Campbell and commissioners Dan Browning, A. B. Cooper, J. J. John and W. E. Power awarded a construction contract to local builders J. F. Aiken and J. T. Cornett. Cells were on the top floor of the structure and jailer’s living quarters on the lower level. The first courthouse, also built in 1891, later burned, but this jail remains as a symbol of Motley County’s frontier heritage. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1976

County Histories

The Early History of Motley County, 1958; 2nd edition, 1971, by Harry H. Campbell.

Of Such as These: A History of Motley County and Its Families, 1973, by Eleanor Traweek.


Motley County’s first courthouse was built in 1891. It burned in 1893.

The 1904 Motley County Courthouse, was similar in design to the 1903 Dallam County Courthouse built by J. A. White, but where the Dallam Courthouse was make of brick, Motley County’s Courthouse was built of stone. The two courthouses share many other details in common. The Courthouse burned in September 1944. No records were lost, but many received water damage.

Motley County’s current courthouse is a modern building built in 1948. Two story courthouse is clad in brick, with the central portion of the building longer and slightly taller than the flanking bays.


Matador, TX 34° 0′ 43.2756″ N, 100° 49′ 19.4844″ W

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