County Seat: Sweetwater
Year Organized: 1876
Square Miles: 912
100 East Third
Philip Nolan, a mustanger who was killed by Spanish troops in 1801 while on a mission into Texas for uncertain reasons
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Nolan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. Its seat is Sweetwater. The county is named for Phillip Nolan, one of the first American traders to visit Texas.
The area of Nolan County had no Anglo settlers until after the Civil War,qv when buffaloqv hunters came to the plains. The county was carved from the Young-Bexar territory by the Texas legislature in 1876 and attached to Shackelford County for administrative purposes. Knight's store on Sweetwater Creek was started in a dugout in 1877 to serve buffalo hunters operating in the area. The county's first post office was opened in 1879 in the village of Sweet Water, which was two words until the spelling was officially changed in 1918. The original name of the post office was Blue Goose, derived from a story that the first postmaster ate a blue crane that cowboys told him was a blue goose. By 1880 there were fifty-two ranches in the area, and the economy was dominated by the cattle industry. The agricultural census that year reported 24,515 cattle, 1,300 sheep, and only sixty-four acres devoted to growing corn, the county's most important crop at that time. The 1880 census reported 640 people living in the county. The county was organized after an election held on January 20, 1881, and in April the Nolan County Court declared that Sweetwater was to be the new permanent county seat. The townsite was on the Texas and Pacific Railway, which had built into the area that March. The first newspaper in Nolan County, the Sweetwater Advocate, was published in 1881. Though a blizzard in February 1885 destroyed much of the livestock in the area, settlers continued to move into Nolan County. By 1890 there were 144 ranches and farms, and the population had increased to 1,573. Ranching still dominated the local economy at that time, though sheep had come to outnumber cattle in the area, 38,000 to 13,000. Meanwhile, 563 acres were planted in corn, 900 acres in oats, and 490 acres in wheat. Hundreds of new settlers moved into the area during the 1890s and early 1900s, establishing towns as they arrived. Roscoe, which grew on the site of a proposed Texas and Pacific station called Vista, was incorporated in 1890, and the town's first newspaper, the Enterprise, was published in 1893. Blackwell, originally named Jamestown, was built around a station on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway about 1906, and Maryneal was established about the same time. Further settlement was encouraged in 1908, when the Roscoe, Snyder and Pacific Shortline Railway was built to run fifty miles from Roscoe to Fluvanna. Between 1897 and 1908 fifteen post offices were established in Nolan County. Reflecting these trends, the population of the county rose to 2,611 by 1900 and to 11,999 by 1910
More at Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/NN/hcn4.html (accessed November 7, 2008).
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 914 square miles (2,367 km2), of which, 912
square miles (2,362 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (5 km2) of it (0.21%) is water.
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