Ochiltree County Texas

Ochiltree County is in the northeast Texas Panhandle with a local economy that is based on agriculture, oil, and gas. Population is 10,747. The County seat is Perryton, Texas.

Ochiltree County Beginnings

Ochiltree County was mostly a ranching community in the 1880s and 1890s. The town of Ochiltree, named after ex-confederate officer and Texas politician William B. Ochiltree, was founded in 1885 and became the county seat in 1889.

Close to the turn of the century an interest in farming brought many of the early family’s to the area. An early cadastral map from 1889 shows the county and the sections that were purchased. A lack of rail service in and out of Ochiltree made it necessary for farmers and ranchers to travel long distances to market their product. In 1909, the Enid, Ochiltree and Western Railroad attempted to connect the town of Ochiltree with the town of Dalhart Texas (see map), but less than fourteen miles of track was laid before several factors, including a drought brought the project to an end. In 1910 the county reported 9,000 acres planted in wheat, 7,400 acres were planted to sorghum and 2,075 acres were planted in corn. By 1919 the town of Ochiltree had increased in size and population and was thriving as North Ochiltree and South Ochiltree.  

On July 25, 1916 the North Texas & Santa Fe Railway Company was chartered by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway to build a railroad from Shattuck Oklahoma to Spearman Texas. The east to west line was laid out through Ochiltree County about 8 miles north of the town of Ochiltree in 1919. Realizing that their town would not survive without the railroad the decision is made to move the town to the railroad. Most of the buildings were pulled to their new location with steam powered tractors. The February 1920 issue of Popular Mechanics featured the move in their cover story. The new town was named Perryton and became the new county seat.


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