Potter County, Texas

Potter County is located on the High Plains of the Panhandle, is bordered by Moore County to the north, Carson County to the east, Randall County to the south, and Oldham County to the west. Amarillo, the county seat, is on the county’s southern border, about 110 miles due north of Lubbock.

Cities, Towns and Communities

Ady | Amarillo – county seat | Aqua (Bennie) | Bishop Hills | Boden | Bushland | Chunky | Cliffside | Excel | Folsom | Gentry | Gluck | James | Julliard | Marsh | Masterson | Mayer | Nagiller | Noble | North Heights | Oneida | Pleasant Valley | Puente | Pullman | Rolling Hills | Saint Francis | Soncy | Tascosa Hills | Walnut Hills | Wheeler


In 1876 the Texas legislature formed Potter County from the Bexar District, and ranchers soon found their way into the area. Settlement of Potter County increased dramatically with the construction of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway across the Panhandle in 1887. A construction camp grew overnight into a tent and buffalo-hut settlement known as Ragtown. When Oldham County officials ordered an election held on August 30 for the purpose of organizing Potter County, several townsites vied to be county seat. William B. Plemons, the first county judge, had a prospective townsite near the head of Amarillo Creek. Two miles southeast was J. T. Berry’s townsite of Oneida, in which Plemons soon merged his interest. Frank Lester, backed by Henry Sanborn, dubbed a third site Plains City, while Jesse Jenkins, a Tascosa saloon owner, promoted Ragtown under a new name, Odessa. The election returns favored Berry’s townsite, which was renamed Amarillo. The railroad was completed into the town in October 1887, soon after the elections, and a post office was established there the next month. People from surrounding townsites began to move to the new county seat. The county’s first newspaper, the Amarillo Champion, began publication in May 1888, and that same year a school was established in the town. Partly because of the efforts of Henry Sanborn, who had been establishing another townsite east of “Old Town” Amarillo, and partly because of flood dangers, most of the town was moved to a new, higher site by 1890. By 1900 there were seventy-nine ranches in the county, and the population had increased to 1,820.

Potter County 1922. The chief city and business metropolis of the Panhandle is Amarillo, the county seat of Potter County. The Fort Worth and Denver City Railway was completed across the Panhandle in 1888, with a station at Amarillo. During 1887 the Southern Kansas Division of the Santa Fe had been built into the Panhandle from another direction, with its temporary terminus at Panhandle City, thirty miles northeast of Amarillo. A little later this road was extended to Amarillo, and in 1901 on to the southwest through the purchase of the Pecos Valley & Northeastern Railway. Within ten years following the Santa Fe had extended its lines southward from Amarillo through Western Texas and had completed its line westward to a connection with its main line in New Mexico, near Albuquerque. In 1903 the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railway from Memphis, Tennessee, crossed the eastern boundary of the Panhandle and gave a third railway line to Amarillo. This line was immediately made a part of the Rock Island system and in 1910 was continued westward to a connection with the transcontinental line of the Rock Island through New Mexico. These railroads, which have been such prominent factors in the development of all the Panhandle country, have been of especial benefit to the development of Amarillo, giving that city a location on several transcontinental lines and making all the Panhandle country and Eastern New Mexico tributary to this distributing and market point, in a territory of 60,000 square miles.

County Histories

In the Cattle Country: History of Potter County 1887-1966, by Della Tyler Key, 1961, 1972


Amarillo, TX 35° 13′ 19.1892″ N, 101° 49′ 52.6692″ W

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