Monday, February 11, 2019

Origins of Floyd County, Texas

In May of 1875, Quanah Parker, a respected figure among the Quahadi Comanches, led more than 400 men, women, and children out of the Texas panhandle and into Oklahoma Territory. At the end of the somber trek of some 200 miles, having traveled for nearly a month, the group arrived at a place called Signal Station just west of Fort Sill. Standing before U.S. military authorities, the Indians surrendered themselves, their fifteen hundred horses, and their weapons.[1] The Red River War of the previous year had come to an end, and the region known as the Panhandle-Plains was now open land just waiting for white settlement.

The very next year, in 1876, the Texas legislature created Floyd County, which covers 992 square miles and includes approximately 500,000 acres of arable land. Already by that time, ranchers had moved their free-range cattle operations to the region. But the first settlers did not begin to arrive until the mid-1880s. By 1889, there were at least two communities in the county: Della Plain and its brand new rival, a town that was named for the father of one of the recently-arrived settlers, a Mr. J. F. Lockney.[2] During the 1890s, in spite of hardships brought on by drought, grasshopper plagues, and the financial downturn known as the Panic of 1893, Floyd County grew from 529 residents to more than 2,000, a growth rate for the decade of more than 280 percent.[3]

In 1910, the Santa Fe Railroad added to the excitement when the company built a branch line from Plainview, Texas, to Lockney and Floydada, the county seat. Around that same time, the future of agriculture in the region began to look brighter when local farmers began digging irrigation wells.[4]


[1] S. C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon (New York: Scribner, 2010), 286.

[2] Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson and Christopher Long, "FLOYD COUNTY," accessed February 11, 2019,; and Kline A. Nall, "LOCKNEY, TX," accessed February 11, 2019,

[3] Anderson and Long, "FLOYD COUNTY." See also, Wikipedia contributors, "Floyd County, Texas," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,,_Texas&oldid=851509818 (accessed February 11, 2019).

[4] Anderson and Long, "FLOYD COUNTY," and Nall, "LOCKNEY, TX."

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