Reeves Co. History, Towns & Historical Markers



Reeves County is on Interstate Highway 20 in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas with the northern edge of its irregular shape touching New Mexico. On the northeast it borders the Pecos River, which separates it from Loving and Ward counties. It is bounded on the southeast by Pecos County, on the southwest by Jeff Davis County, and on the west by Culberson County. Pecos, the county seat, is seventy-four miles southwest of Odessa. The center of the county lies at 3120' north latitude and 10340' west longitude. Reeves County comprises 2,626 square miles of land with flat and undulating terrain in its northern part and mountainous topography in the extreme south. Altitudes, including those in the Davis Mountains, vary from 2,538 to 4,210 feet above sea level. The Barrilla Hills rise abruptly with steep slopes to a height of 150 to 200 feet above the surrounding plain. About 85 percent of the county is covered by a broad gently-sloping plain topped by outwash material from the mountains. Surface geology is mostly Quaternary, except for the extreme southeastern corner, which is Igneous, and the western and eastern edges, which are Cretaceous. Soils are light reddish-brown to brown sands, clay loams, clays, and rough stony lands. The average annual temperature is 64 F. The growing season extends 226 days. Rainfall, which averages ten inches per year, runs into several intermittent lakes in the west central area of the county. These shallow playas fill with water after downpours, but shrink and sometimes disappear through evaporation between rains. Toyah Lake is the largest playa in the county, with walls formed by cliffs of ten to forty feet in height. The entire county is drained by the Pecos River. The main tributaries are Salt and Toyah creeks and Four Mile, Horsehead, and Salt draws. Two lakes provide water for recreation and irrigation: Red Bluff Reservoir on the Pecos River in extreme northwestern Reeves County and Balmorhea Lake in the southwest. Vegetation consists of sparse grasses, scrub brush, creosote bush, cacti, oak, juniper, and mesquite, which provides the area's only timber. Natural resources include gypsum, limestone, salt, oil, gas, and volcanic ash. Other minerals include brine, sand, gravel, and recovered sulfur. Less than 1 percent of the land is considered prime farmland.

The first people to inhabit Reeves County lived in the rock shelters and caves around the edge of the Barrilla Hills and built permanent camps near Phantom Lake, San Solomon Spring, and Toyah Creek. These prehistoric people left behind artifacts and pictographs as evidence of their presence. The Jumano Indians irrigated crops of corn and peaches from San Solomon Spring, where Balmorhea State Recreation Area is now located. Three Jumanos met the expedition of Antonio de Espejo near Toyah Lake in 1583, and guided explorers to La Junta by a better route. Settlers of Mexican descent farmed in the county's Madera Valley from early times. In 1849 John S. Ford traveled along Toyah Creek and noted the productive land upon which the Mescalero Indians cultivated corn. Farmers of Mexican descent who irrigated from San Solomon Spring in the last half of the nineteenth century found a lucrative market for grains, vegetables, and beef at Fort Davis. The first Anglo farmers arrived in Toyah Valley in 1871, when George B. and Robert E. Lyle began irrigating crops from Toyah Creek. Open range ranching first attracted white settlers to the Davis Mountains in 1875.

By 1881 the Texas and Pacific Railway built tracks through Reeves County. At that time section houses were constructed at Pecos and Toyah, which opened a post office that year and later became a shipping point for local ranchers. Pecos was named the seat of government when Reeves County was separated from Pecos County in 1883 and organized in 1884. Pecos constructed a three-room school in 1883 and opened a post office in 1884. The county was named for Confederate colonel George R. Reeves. The name of the first community was Saragosa, which opened a post office in 1884. The name was changed to Lyles in 1891 and to Toyahvale in 1894. By 1885, when several ranchers herded cattle on the northern range of the county, Pecos reported 150 residents and Toyah had sixty. By 1890 the county population had expanded to 1,247, including seven African Americans, fifteen Chinese, and 351 foreign-born residents. In that year a second railroad, the Pecos River, constructed fifty-four miles of tracks from Pecos to the New Mexico line along the river, providing transportation for local agricultural products. In 1894 a post office was established at Brogado, nine miles southeast of Pecos, and Toyah built its first school. By 1899 Toyahvale had a public school district with three schools, and during the 1899-1900 school term the Pecos school had 111 students and three teachers. A second school was added for the 1900-01 term with 148 pupils and four teachers. A second community called Saragosa, located in the southernmost part of the county, was designated a post office in 1900. In that year the census reported a total of 1,847 county residents, including 474 foreign-born, twelve African Americans, and ten Chinese. In 1902 Toyah organized its first church. Reeves County reported five manufacturing establishments that employed sixteen workers at wages totaling $8,835 and made products worth $30,085 in 1900. Manufacturers increased to nine by 1920, with sixty-two employees earning just over $88,000 and producing $187,000 worth of goods. From 1940 to 1967 the number of manufacturers grew from five to seventeen, but that number declined to eleven in 1982. The values of production over those years increased from $165,807 in 1940 to $3.6 million by 1977, but manufacturing remained secondary to agriculture and petroleum in the county economy.

The census of 1900 showed sixty-three farms countywide, of which forty-one were operated by owners and twenty-two by tenants. Farms comprised nearly 900,000 acres and had 51,000 cattle. In that year the agricultural economy of Reeves County was affected when the state ended free use of its land. Agents were sent across West Texas to collect rents from ranchers on public land. Between 1901 and 1905, however, state law permitted sale of school lands in West Texas, allowing individuals to purchase four sections of land on generous credit terms. Reeves and other West Texas counties experienced a rush of new settlers, which continued even after the law was changed in 1905 to award land to the highest bidder. Between 1903 and 1913 several new communities developed, but most were ephemeral. Both Alamo, renamed Pera in 1905, and Dixieland opened post offices in 1903. Other towns receiving post offices included Panama in 1904, Orla in 1906, and Hermosa and Arno in 1907. Balmorhea began operation of both a school and a post office in 1908, and post offices were organized in 1910 at Pyle, Mont Clair, and Angeles; the latter moved to Orla some time later. Hoban received a post office in 1911 and Crystal Water in 1913. By the 1990s, however, only the post offices at Orla and Balmorhea were still in existence. The 1910 census reflects the effects of the school-land rush after 1901, showing the population more than doubled in a decade to 4,392, including 408 foreign-born, thirteen Chinese, and eighty-two African American residents. Though the value of farms in the same period doubled to reach $4.4 million, only twelve bales of cotton and small grain crops were harvested on more than 15,000 acres of farmland, as most Reeves County farmers continued to operate subsistence farms. Although the number of farms climbed to 225, and most were owner-operated, improved acres dropped below 600,000. Cattle herds were reduced to less than 7,000 head, and only milk cows and chickens increased in numbers.

In 1911 the Pecos Valley Southern Railway completed tracks from Pecos to Toyahvale, allowing improved transportation of agricultural products. A drought swept across the county in 1916, however, and many families who had come during the school-land rush gave up their farms and moved away. By 1920 the population had grown only slightly to 4,457, including seventeen African Americans, four Chinese, and 666 foreign-born residents. While farms decreased to only 206, operated by 140 owners and sixty-six tenants, farm value increased to $7.1 million. Numbers of range cattle increased to nearly 37,000, and sheep climbed to almost 2,500. Over 16,000 acres was farmed, and 1,846 bales of cotton and 16,000 tons of hay led production of a wide variety of grain and vegetable crops. In the early 1920s Pecos became the focus of Delaware Basin oil exploration and received substantial publicity, though little oil and gas were found in paying quantities. By 1930, however, oil excitement had brought a larger and more diversified population to the county. Of a total of 6,407 residents, 178 were African American and fifty-six foreign-born from fifteen countries.

Reeves County felt the impact of the Great Depression and the earlier drought, as cultivation of crops continued to decline into the 1930s. In 1930 the number of farms had risen slightly to 327, but farm tenancy increased. Only 114 farms were operated by owners, and 213 by tenants. Cotton remained a strong crop with 3,200 bales harvested, and over 7,000 tons of forage was produced on nearly 3,000 acres. Overall numbers of livestock decreased, and the value of livestock fell to half of its earlier total, though cattle numbers remained at nearly 24,000 head. By 1940 the county population climbed to 8,006. Farms fell to 277, and tenant farmers continued to outnumber owners. Livestock production, valued at over $1 million, dominated agriculture, with only $376,031 produced by crops. By 1950 the population increased sharply to 11,745, including 280 non-white residents. Educational levels in that year were reflected by 1,015 high school and 415 college graduates in the county's population. The Toyah field, a gas-producing area, was discovered in 1952, and the Geraldine-Ford field began production in 1956. Although neither field was a giant, both added to the economy of the county. In the 1950s crop values soared to $224 million, overtaking livestock production, which climbed to $2.5 million. By 1954 a total of 322 farms operated on 1.5 million acres, of which 81,000 was devoted to cropland. By 1959, however, agriculture had declined, and the number of farms dipped to 261. Livestock values fell to $2.48 million and crops to $19 million. In 1960 the Reeves County population reached an all-time high of 17,644, including 634 non-white residents. High school graduates represented 9 percent of the residents, and 669 were college graduates. The value of livestock rose over the decade, reaching $12 million by 1969, but the number of farms declined to only 231 in that year, with only 26 percent of operators living on their farms. By 1970 the population dropped to 16,526. High school graduates climbed to 37 percent, and college graduates included 5.5 percent of the population. In the 1970s Reeves County witnessed the development of three oilfields that added significantly to its economy: the Athens, Chapman Deep, and San Martine fields. Between 1939 and 1973 the county produced 37 million barrels of oil. The value of livestock soared to $83 million by 1978 but dropped to $68 million in 1982, by which time the number of farms had fallen to 149, and 34 percent of owners lived on their land.

Although by 1980 West Texas experienced a dramatic oil boom with greatly-increased drilling activity and an influx of new people to fill blue collar jobs, the population of Reeves County fell to 15,801 in that year, of which 3 percent were African American and 62 percent were Hispanic. In 1982 the county ranked twenty-seventh in the nation in highest percent of residents of Spanish origin. High school graduates increased to nearly 45 percent of the population, and college graduates to about 9 percent. As the 1980s continued, the oil industry declined due to the falling price of crude oil. Primary crops in the decade included barley, along with cotton, hay, and wheat; farmers also raised significant numbers of onions, bell peppers, peaches, and pecans. Business establishments in the county numbered 341, and most workers were employed in tourism, oil and gas extraction, sulfur mining, cottonseed oil mills, or agribusiness. By 1990 the population was 15,852, of which 347 were African American, thirty-six Native American, thirty-six Asian, and 11,545 Hispanic. The county was served by two school districts, consisting of seven elementary, two junior high, two senior high, and one ungraded school. Thirty-seven churches reported a combined membership of nearly 12,000. The largest denominations were Catholic and Southern Baptist. In the early 1990s the Reeves County economy continued to be based on oil and agriculture, supplemented by tourism. Incorporated cities included Balmorhea (population 765), Pecos (12,069); and Toyah (115); unincorporated communities included Brogado (122), Orla (183), Red Bluff (40), Saragosa (185), Toyahvale (60), and Verhalen (52). The county faced problems of declining oil prices and crude reserves. Overgrazing, which occurred when its arid pasturelands were first pioneered, had improved under management, and reduction in irrigated agriculture and the use of underground water supplies had improved the level and availability of water. Prospects for the future included a fluctuating population, higher levels of high school education, and continued support for Democratic party candidates. In the presidential election of 1888 residents of Reeves County had given Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland 308 votes and Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison only fourteen. Voting for the Democratic party became a trend that continued through the 1948 election. However, when the nation voted the Republican war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower into the presidency in the 1950s, Reeves County twice gave him a majority. By 1960 voters returned to the Democratic column, giving an edge of almost 700 votes to Democrat John F. Kennedy. Fellow Texan and Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson won the county by a 2-to-1 lead in 1964, and the Democrats took the county again in 1968. The Democratic party swayed too far to the left for residents in 1972, however, and a majority of county voters supported Republican Richard M. Nixon. Thereafter, the county voted Democratic from 1976 until 1992, when Bill Clinton received 2,569 votes, George Bush 1,244, and Ross Perot 734. Reeves County is noted for its West of the Pecos Museum at Pecos and for Balmorhea State Recreation Area and Lake. The county celebrates a Rodeo Week, June Fest, Golden Girl of the West Pageant, Night in Old Pecos, and an 1800s Parade at Pecos in June; a Fourth of July Parade, Old Fiddlers Contest, and West of the Pecos Rodeo at Pecos in July; a Frijole Cook off at Balmorhea and cantaloupe festival in August; and Fall Fair Festival at Pecos in October.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alton Hughes, Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1978). Susan D. Navarro, "Creation of Reeves County," Permian Historical Annual 8 (1968). Frederick W. Rathjen, The Texas Panhandle Frontier (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1973). Toyah Historic and Centennial Committee, Toyah Taproots: A Memory Book of Those Who Put Down Their Roots in Toyah (Austin: Nortex Press, 1984).

Julia Cauble Smith

Source: The Handbook of Texas Online



Towns - Past & Present - in Reeves County

Alamo (Pera)






Crystal Water





Mont Clair




Pera (Alamo)

Pueblo Victoria


Red Bluff







Reeves Co. Historical Markers

22 Records
1 Courthouse
20 Historical Markers
1 Museum


Camp Hospital, Old   Marker # 3699  Marker Title: Old Camp Hospital  Address: 1703 W. 4th Street  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1966  Designation: Recorded Texas Historical Landmark  Marker Location: Corner of 4th & Ross Streets  Marker Size: Medallion & Plate  Marker Inscription: First permanent hospital in the Trans-Pecos area. Erected 1929 by pioneer physician and surgeon, Jim Camp, M.D. --"Texas Doctor of the Year" for 1950. "Dr. Jim" came to Pecos in 1900. In early days, he performed many operations using kitchen tables and other makeshift equipment. During 64 years of service, he strove to improve facilities, one of his goals being to build and to equip a modern hospital. Converted to office use 1954. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.

Cole, Mrs. Lillie   Marker #: 2512  Marker Title: Mrs. Lillie W. Cole  Address: Cedar & 1st Street City: Pecos  County: Reeves   Year Marker Erected: 1968  Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Street (West of Pecos Museum)  Marker Size: 14" by 24"  Marker inscription:  Outstanding and dedicated teacher; public benefactor. Born in Lavernia, Texas. Came to Pecos, 1906, with husband Wylie Moffitt Cole. They had two daughters. Widowed in 1912, started teaching career which lasted for 27 years. (1968)

Emigrant's Crossing   Marker #: 1473  Marker Title: Emigrant's Crossing  Address: Cedar & 1st Streets  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1972 Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Streets (West of the Pecos Museum)  Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Inscription: One of the few spots where pioneer travelers could cross the Pecos River by fording. At Emigrants' Crossing, the deep, treacherous river flows over exposed rock. It is one of only three fords in a 60-mile segment of the stream, and was the one favored by parties migrating in 1849 from the eastern United States to west coast gold fields. Often called the California Emigrants' Crossing, or the Red River Trail crossing, it was also the one used in 1858 by coaches of Butterfield Overland Mail, which had an adobe station and a high-walled adobe corral there. (1972)

First Baptist Church of Pecos City  Marker #: 1662   Marker Title: First Baptist Church of Pecos City  Address: 5th & Hickory Street  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1985 Marker Location: Fifth & Hickory Street, Pecos  Marker size: 27" by 42"   Marker Text:  The Rev. Sumner Battle Callaway (1852-1952) led the organization of this Baptist church in 1885 and served as its first pastor. Callaway had come to Texas from Georgia and had been Rev. Richard Hubbard's private secretary and a lawyer before entering the ministry. The eight charter members included Callaway, A. M. and Sallie Harris Walthall, and Mrs. Colvin. The congregation's first church building was completed in 1887. A larger sanctuary was built in 1910, during the pastorate of the Rev. J. B. Cole (1858-1947). The First Baptist Church of Pecos City was member of the Sweetwater Baptist Association from 1886 until 1902, when the El Paso association was organized here. It later became part of the Pecos Valley association. Over the years, the fellowship has been served by a number of prominent pastors, including the Rev. L.. R. Millican who preached on the west Texas frontier for more than 50 years. The First Baptist Church of Pecos City has been active in home and foreign missionary work and has placed a great emphasis on community service.

First Christian Church   Marker #: 1701  Marker Title:   First Christian Church  Address: Elm & 5th Street  City: Pecos   County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1975  Marker Location: Elm & 5th Street - Pecos  Marker Size: 27" by 42"  Marker Text: This congregation grew out of a community Sunday School begun by Mrs. Peyton Parker in the Parker Hotel in 1881. One participant, pharmacist B. P. Van Horn (1852-1932), arranged a revival in 1891 that resulted in formation of the First Christian Church, the first church to be organized in Pecos. Van Horn acted as lay leader-since there was no minister. When he left in 1895, the church disbanded until Mer. Ed Vicker (1870-1950 and Mrs. R. D. Gage started a Ladies Aid Society in 1898. The society planned another revival which reactivated the fellowship. In 1899 lawyer R. D. Gage donated land for construction of a small sanctuary. One new member who joined the congregation during this period was Dr. Jim Camp (1870-1921), who served Pecos as a physician for over 60 years. In 1905 the Rev. Homer Magee (1882-1921) became full-time pastor. That same year, the church building was moved to this site. Plans for the present structure was made in 1908, after a revival led by the Rev. J. L. Haddock. In 1909 the contractor E. B. Kisser completed this edifice, the oldest brick church building in Pecos. Educational facilities were added during pastorates of the Rev. Dr. Oliver Harrison, 1934-41, and the Rev. Earl Bissex, 1952. Recent remodeling was completed in 1974, under the leadership of the Rev. Clark  Ford.  (1975)

Mentone  Marker #: 3339  Marker Title: Mentone  Address: Us 285 & SH 302, about 21 miles south of Orla  City: Orla  County: Reeves   Year Marker Erected: 1967  Marker Location: On Us 285 at intersection with SH 302, 21 miles south of Orla  Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Repairs Needed: None - needs replacing   Marker Text:  Only town in Loving County, last organized, most sparsely populated (both in total and per square mile) county in Texas. Established 1931 and named for an earlier town (10 miles north) which legend says was named by a French surveyor-prospector after his home on the Riviera. With population of 42, Mentone has no water system, (water is hauled in). Nor does it have a bank, doctor, hospital, newspaper, lawyer, civic club or cemetery. There are only two recorded graves in the county. Some Indian skeletons, artifacts are found. Oil, farming, cattle county. (1967)

Neighbors - Ford Trail, Vicinity of Significance Marker #: 5648   Marker Title: Vicinity of Significant Neighbors Ford Trail  Address: US 285 N side of Pecos  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1966   Marker Location: In Roadside Park on US 285, Northern City Limits of Pecos   Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text:  First wagon road to El Paso from Austin. Opened 1849 by Maj. Robert S. Neighbors and Dr. John S. "Rip" Ford, Texas Rangers and leading statesmen. With Indian guides Jim Shaw (a Delaware) and Guadeloupe (a Comanche), they left the Pecos, followed Toyah Creek to Davis Mountains, then went west to the Rio Grande. On the return past Guadalupe Peak, Pecos River and Horsehead Crossing, rations gave out and the ate roasted mescal roots, panther and horse meat. Their route had water and wood and became a great stage, military and emigrant road. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

Orient Hotel  Marker #: 3868  Marker Title: Orient Hotel   Address: Cedar & 1st Street  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1964  Designation: Recorded Texas Historical Landmark  Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Street (West of the Pecos Museum)  Marker Size: Medallion and Plate  Marker Text: Front "Ft. Worth to El Paso" Saloon built 1896 of Pecos Valley red sandstone. Hotel opened 1907 by R. S. Johnson, owner Headquarters of land promoters, salesmen, families of settlers in early years of Pecos Valley development. Restored to House West of the Pecos Museum. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1964.

Orla Marker #: 3876  Marker Title: Orla  Address: US 285  City: Orla  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1965  Marker Location: On US 285, in front of Old Store in Orla  Marker Size: 14" by 24"   Marker Text: Gateway to Red Bluff Lake, Guadalupe Mountains, Carlsbad Caverns recreational areas. Established 1890 on Pecos Valley Railroad. Developed during land promotions. Had school, general stores, hotel, livery stabile. In 1931 remaining merchant and postmaster Hal Old moved 1/4 west to new highway. (1965)

Pecos Cantaloupe  Marker #: 5397  Marker Title: The Pecos Cantaloupe   Address: Cedar & 1st Street  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1970  Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Street (West of the Pecos Museum)  Marker Size: 27" by 42"  Marker Text: Nationally famed melon, originated in this city. Residents from 1880s grew melons in gardens, noting sun and soil imparted a distinctive flavor. Madison L. Todd (March 22, 1975-Sept. 10/ 1967) and wife Julia (Jan. 30, 1880-Feb. 5, 1969) came here from east Texas and New Mexico. In 1917 Todd and partner, D. T. McKee, grew eight acres of melons, selling part of crop to dining cars of Texas & Pacific Railway, where Pecos cantaloupes first became popular and in wide demand. McKee soon quit business, but Todd remained a leader for 41 years. Famed lecturer Helen Keller, Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson and many other distinguished persons have ordered and appreciated Pecos cantaloupes. Exclusive clubs in New York, Chicago, St. Louis and other cities are regular clients of Pecos growers. Genuine Pecos cantaloupes begin ripening in July and continue on the market until late October. The varieties are the same as those grown in other areas. Climate, soil and special cultivation methods account for the distinctiveness of Pecos melons. 2,000 acres are now planted annually. M. L. Todd was known in his later years as father of the industry. He and his wife and family were leaders in civic and religious enterprises. (1970)

Pioneers Graveyard   Marker #4029  Marker Title: Pioneer Graveyard  Address: E. A Street  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1966  Marker Location: East A Street (Co. Rd. 401) 2 blks. east of intersection of A Street & Locust  Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text: Earliest Pecos landmark. Started with burial of men in hazardous work of building Texas & Pacific Railroad, 1881. Used over 30 years by settlers in the Pecos Valley. First markers, of native red stone or wood, have how been lost or effaced in sandstorms and floods. (1966)

Pope's Crossing  Marker #: 4071  Marker Title: Pope's Crossing   Address: US 285, about 6 miles NW of Orla  City: Orla  County: Reeves   Year Marker Erected: 1964  Marker Location: On US 285, about 6 miles NW or Orla  Marker Size: 36" Centennial - Subject Marker (gray)  Marker Text: Crossing site was 4.9 miles northeast, in Loving County. Now under Red Bluff Lake (1964)

Red Bluff Dam  Marker #: 4216  Marker Title: Red Bluff Dam   Address: About 3 miles north of Orla  City: Orla  County: Reeves   Year Marker Erected: 1972  Marker Location: About 3 miles north of Orla   Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text: Construction for irrigation and electrical power purposes during 1934--36, dam is located on Pecos River 8 miles south of Texas-New Mexico state line. It impounds an 11,700-acre lake occupying parts of Reeves and Loving counties, Texas and Eddy County, N. M. Floods first filled the reservoir in June 1937. Capacity is 310,000 acre feet of water. Main embankment - - 9, 230 feet long - - rises 105 feet above stream bed at highest point. Dam has top width of 25 feet. These waters irrigate about 140,000 acres, which extend for 100 miles along the Pecos River. (1972)

Reeves County  Marker #: 4227  Marker Title: Reeves Co. - Pecos, Texas   Address: Cedar & 1st Streets  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1967  Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Street (West of Pecos Museum), Pecos  Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text: Flat and grassy land with a moderate water supply from the Pecos River and springs in Toyah Valley. Yuma Indians are thought to have done irrigated farming here in 16th century. Mexicans later raised vegetables, grain.l Cattlemen moved in during the 1870's. Texas & Pacific Railway opened route to El  Paso in 1882. Farmers, merchants, mechanics settled in Pecos City and Toyah. County with  irrigated agriculture began about 1900. Only dam on Pecos River in Texas was built in this county 1935. Privately owned deep wells are also used. (1967)

Reeves, George R.   Marker #: 2158  Marker Title: George R. Reeves  Address: 4th & Oak Streets  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1963  Marker Location: Courthouse Lawn, Corner of 4th & Oak Streets.  Marker Size: Civil War Marker - pink granite  Marker Text:  Organized,  captained company in 11th Texas Cavalry at start of Civil War. Served in Arkansas, Indian Territory, Kentucky invasion of 1862. Assigned to Wheeler's Cavalry in Tennessee. Promoted colonel and command of 11th Cavalry, 1863. Led regiment Chickamauga. In 1864 fought in 100-day Atlanta campaign, guerilla warfare against Sherman's march to the sea, in battle at Savannah. In 1865 participated Carolinas campaign. A memorial to Texans who served  the Confederacy. Erected by the state of Texas. 1963

San Salomon Springs   Marker #: 4557  Marker Title: San Solomon Spring  Address: SH 117off I H -10 at Balmorhea State Park  City: Balmorhea  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1964  Marker Location: SH 17, 4 miles south of 1-10  Marker size: 14" by 24"  Marker Text: Called "Mescalero Spring" in 1849, when watering corn and peaches of the Mescalero Apaches. To Ft. Davis soldiers, 1856, was "Head Spring". Present name given by first permanent settlers, Mexican farmer. Miller, Lyles and Murphy in 1871 began large-scale commercial irrigation. Murphy built first canals. (1964)

Spanish Explorers   Marker #: 4998  Marker Title: Spanish Explorers  Address: Cedar & 1st Streets  City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1966  Marker Location: Cedar & 1st Streets (West of the Pecos Museum), Pecos  Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text: Antonio De Espejo in 1583, after exploring among pueblos in New Mexico, reached the Pecos River southeast of Santa Fe. He named it Rio de Las Vaca (river of cows), for the abundance of buffalo. On his return route to Mexico he went down the river to near the present town of Pecos. Jumano Indians led his party to their camp on Toyah Lake. He then went down Toyah Creek and through the Big Bend. While Espejo was first to explore the Pecos, Castano de Sosa, on his way into New Mexico in 1590, was the first European to travel its full length. (1966)

Toyah  Marker #: 5548  Marker Title: Toyah  Address: I-20 & FM 2903  City: Toyah  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1964   Marker Location: At intersection of I-20 & FM 2903(behind Big Cactus State Park) Toyah  Marker Size: 14" by 24"  Marker Text: Began as division point, 1881, on T. & P. Railway, with shops, roundhouse, hotel, cafe. Water was hauled from Monahans and sold by the barrel. Stage took passengers and mail to Brogado. 1882 cattle shipping brought cowboy-detective Charles Siringo here to look for rustlers. (1964)

West of the Pecos Museum   Marker #: 327  Date of last survey: 1994  Museum Name: West of the Pecos Museum  Mailing Address: P O Box 784   City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Zip Code: 79772  Street Address: 1st & Highway 285 Phone: 432- 445-5076  Annual Attendance: 19,000  Director: General B. Prewitt  Museum Classification: General, History, Historic Site, Non-Historic Structure, Historic Designation: Recorded Texas Historical Landmark

World's First Rodeo   Marker #: 5909  Marker Title: World's First Rodeo  Address:; Rodeo grounds at US 285 & Walthall Street   City: Pecos  County: Reeves  Year Marker Erected: 1965  Marker Location:  In front of the rodeo grounds at US 285 & Walthall Street, Pecos   Marker Size: 18" by 28"  Marker Text: Helt a block south of Pecos Courthouse, July 4, 1883. Started with claims of cattle outfits Lazy  Y, N and W Ranch - - that each had fastest steer ropers. Settlers in town for Fourth of July picnic were spectators. The prizes were blue ribbons cut by pocket knife from new dress of a 4 year old girl in crowd. Best roper was Morg Livingston, of the Na. Trav Windham, Lazy Y was second. Other contestants: Fate Beard, Geo. Brookshire, John Chald, Jeff Chisum, Howard Collier, Jim Livingston, Jim Mannin, Henry Miller, Brawley Oates, Jim and Henry Slack, E. P. Stuckler (1965) 

Source: Texas Historic Sites Atlas



Updated April 4, 2004