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Dawson County, Texas
Dawson County, named for Nicholas Mosby Dawson was formed on August 21, 1876, but was attached to Howard County for judicial purposes until February 13, 1905, when separate organization was authorized. Dawson County's first election to choose officials and select the county seat was held on March 20, 1905. The contesting towns, Lamesa and Chicago, were only two miles apart. Lamesa won by five votes, but a movement was already afoot to consolidate the towns and all businesses
and residences in Chicago were moved into Lamesa. After six years of effort to secure a railroad, the Santa Fe was built into Lamesa in 1911.
Dawson County is crossed by Sulphur Springs Draw, a natural trail used by the Indians since prehistoric times and by the first white men who entered the South Plains. The area was the summer home of Comanches and Kiowas, who moved from waterhole to waterhole in a region that white men supposed waterless. A portion of the future county was included in a Mexican grant issued to Dr. John Cameron on May 21, 1827. Cameron contracted to settle 100 families, but there is no record of any attempt to carry out the contract.
In the fall of 1875 the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, commanded by Col. William Rufus Shafter, visited the area to prepare a report on the local Indians. On October 18, 1875, the company discovered an Indian encampment at Laguna Sabinas or Cedar Lake, the legendary birthplace of Quanah Parker. Buffalo hunters, more than soldiers, were probably responsible for driving the Indians from the area. A surveying party for Texas and Pacific Railway lands in 1875
reported the presence of thousands of buffalo, and hunters moved in. As cattlemen learned that the grass on the Plains would produce fat cattle.
[Excerpted from Leona M. Gelin and Mark Odintz, "DAWSON COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online; Published by the Texas State Historical Association]
Cities, Towns and Other Populated Areas