The cattle industry played a significant role in the development of Texas, with cowboys driving cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Wilbarger County, located in north-central Texas, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Comanche and Wichita, who relied on the fertile land for hunting and gathering. In the mid-1800s, European settlers began to move into the region, attracted by the abundant water supply provided by the Red River.

The county was officially established in 1858 and named after Josiah Pugh Wilbarger, a well-known scout and explorer. During the Civil War, the area saw significant conflict as it was situated on the Great Western Trail, a route used by Confederate forces. After the war, Wilbarger County gradually became an agricultural hub, with cotton becoming the primary crop. This led to a period of prosperity for the county as cotton production boomed.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wilbarger County faced numerous challenges, including droughts, floods, and economic downturns. However, the discovery of oil in the region in the 1920s brought a new era of prosperity. Oil drilling and production became a major industry, bringing wealth and economic growth to the county. The population also experienced a significant increase during this time, with people moving into the area to take advantage of employment opportunities.

As the county grew, infrastructure development became a priority. The construction of highways and the expansion of railroads improved transportation and facilitated trade in the area. Today, Wilbarger County continues to rely on agriculture and oil production as its primary industries, while also diversifying into other sectors such as healthcare and education. The county's rich history is celebrated and preserved through various historical markers, museums, and events, providing a glimpse into its past for future generations.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Wilbarger County, Texas.

  • 1858: Wilbarger County is formally established by the Texas legislature.
  • 1879: The county's first courthouse is constructed in the town of Vernon.
  • 1890: The first railroad, the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway, is completed in the county.
  • 1929-1933: Wilbarger County is severely affected by the Great Depression.
  • 1955: The first oil well is drilled in the county, leading to an oil boom.
  • 1960s-1970s: The cotton industry declines in Wilbarger County.
  • 1982: The Wilbarger County Historical Museum is opened in Vernon.
  • 1995: The Texas State Legislature designates Hardeman-Wilbarger Counties as a scenic drive.
  • 2000s: Wind energy becomes an increasingly important industry in the county.