Scurry County Courthouse

Scurry County Courthouse

Scurry County is located below the caprock in the cross-hairs of the Panhandle and West Texas. Snyder, Texas is the county seat of Scurry County. The town is located in west central Texas, about 80 miles southeast of Lubbock and about 85 miles northwest of Abilene. It is primarily a farming and ranching area that was established about the time the �Big Ranches� began to move onto the Caprock. The Caprock is the name given to the area of Texas where the Staked Plains begin. Below the Caprock , the vegetation varies from lush to scrub, above the Caprock, the land is almost totally arid tending toward desert.

The town-site of Snyder was laid out in 1882 and the county organized two years later, and is the present seat of Scurry County. In 1950 the city grew from 4,000 population to more than 12,000 after the discovery of Canyon Reef Oil Field. Now the center of the largest unitized (operated by a single operator) oil field in the world. Industries include petroleum processing, cottonseed breeding, farming and ranching, and other diversified industries.

Demographically, the total county population in 1990 was 18,634 with a projected increase in the year 2000 estimating a change to 20,120 residents. Gender population in 1990 showed a higher percentage of males with small increase by the year 2000. The majority of the population is Anglo. Population by race in 1990 showed Anglo at 12, 223, Black 867, Hispanic 4,449, and Other 95. The projected population by race in the year 2000 show 13,220 Anglo, 970 Black, 5,820 Hispanic, and 100 Other. The largest age group is 18-64, not unlike many counties throughout Texas.

Scurry County Per Capita Personal Income(PCPI) in 1996 was $17,043.00. This PCPI ranked 148th in the State, and was 76 percent of the State average, $22,324.00 and 70 percent of the national average. In 1986, the PCPI of Scurry County was $12,185.00 and ranked 100th in the State. The average annual growth rate for the State was 4.8 percent and for the nation was 4.9 percent.

Scurry County, like other small Texas counties, is concentrating on growing a strong educational system and developing a strong economy that will prepare its citizens and its children for the 21st century.

Scurry County was established by the Texas legislature in 1876 from lands formerly assigned to Bexar County; in 1880 there were 102 residents living in the area. The county was attached to Mitchell County for judicial purposes until 1884, when it was organized. Snyder, the growing trading post, became a townsite in 1882 and the county seat in 1884. A. C. Wilmeth began publishing the county’s first newspaper, the Scurry County Citizen, in the 1880s. By 1890 there were 184 farms and ranches, encompassing almost 142,000 acres, in the county, and its population had increased to 1,415. Ranching dominated the local economy; that year almost 23,000 cattle and 17,000 sheep were reported in the county. Crop farming was also beginning to be established by that time, as 822 acres were planted in corn and 246 acres were planted in wheat. The “Block 97 Controversy” kept ranchers and homesteaders aroused for years before the dispute was ettled by the legislature in 1899.

Scurry County (E�19) is at the base of the Llano Estacado qv in West Texas, bordered on the east by Fisher County, on the south by Mitchell County, on the west by Borden County, and on the north by Garza and Kent counties. The center of the county lies at 32�45′ north latitude and 100�55′ west longitude, ninety miles northwest of Abilene. Snyder, the county seat, is just south of the center of the county and sixty-three air miles northwest of Abilene. The area was named for William R. Scurry, a Confederate general.

Indian artifacts found in the area indicate that humans have lived there since as early as 1,000 B.C. In more modern times the Apaches dominated the area until the early eighteenth century, when they were displaced by Comanches and other groups. The Comanche war trail to Old Mexico crossed the county from its northeast to its northwest corner.

Buffalo hunter J. Wright Mooarqv began making excursions into the region in 1874, and by 1877 Mooar was said to have killed 20,000 buffalo on the plains. That year William H. Snyder opened a trading post to sell supplies to buffalo hunters in the area, and soon a small settlement of dugouts and tents grew around Snyder’s place. The first large ranch in the area was established in 1877 by Tom and Jim Nunn, who drove longhorns from South Texas to land along tributaries of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. Ranching soon became the major industry in the area……”