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Texas Counties

Texas is divided into two hundred and fifty-four counties, more than any other state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. The most recent county to be created was Kenedy County in 1921. The most recent county to be organized was Loving County in 1931

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Motley County, Texas

Motley County Education, Geography, and History

Motley County, Texas Courthouse

Motley County is a county located in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, its population was 1,210, making it the tenth-least populous county in Texas. Its county seat is Matador. The county was created in 1876 and organized in 1891. It is named for Junius William Mottley, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Mottley's name is spelled incorrectly because the bill establishing the county misspelled his name.

Etymology - Origin of Motley County Name

Junius William Mottley, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence who was killed at the Battle of San Jacinto (spelling differs due to an error in the bill creating the county)


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Motley County History

Motley County was created on August 21, 1876, from Young and Bexar counties. It was organized on February 5, 1891.

It is named for Junius William Mottley, who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, who died in the Battle of San Jacinto; its name is spelled differently than his because the bill establishing the county misspelled Mottley's name. Its seat is Matador.

The large Matador Ranch, established in 1882 by a syndicate from Scotland and still operational after it was liquidated in 1951, is located in Motley and five adjoning counties.

The first white child in Motley County, Nora Cooper, was born in 1882 near what is the now ghost town of Tee Pee City, a camp operated by buffalo hunters and later the headquarters of the Texas Rangers under Captain G.W. Arrington from 1879 to 1881

Handbook of Texas Online
In 1890 the county had thirteen ranches, encompassing 30,225 acres, and the local economy was almost entirely devoted to cattle ranching. The agricultural census conducted that year reported 42,781 cattle, but only twenty-nine acres planted in corn and forty in wheat, the county's most important crops at that time. The first school was established near Whiteflat in 1890 with W. B. Clark as teacher. 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 More at
John Leffler, "MOTLEY COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 990 square miles (2,564 km2), of which, 989 square miles (2,562 km2) of it is land and 1 square miles (2 km2) of it (0.04%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

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