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The county is named for Junius William Mottley, who died in the battle of San Jacinto (a spelling error was made when the county was named.) This sparsely settled county comprises 959 square miles of rough and broken terrain drained by the North Pease, Middle Pease, and South Pease rivers and their tributaries.
Comanches of the Wanderers, Liver-Eaters, and Downstream bands hunted buffalo and other game in the area before white settlement, but were displaced by the army's Indian campaigns of the 1870s. In 1876 the Texas legislature formed Motley County from lands formerly assigned to the Bexar District and attached the area to Crosby County for judicial purposes.

Sometime in the 1870s a buffalo hunter named Ballard established a supply station at the springs that now bear his name. In the mid-1870s Frank Collinson was commissioned by Samuel R. Coggin to bring 8,000 of John S. Chisum's cattle to establish the first ranch in the area.

In 1890 the county had thirteen ranches, encompassing 30,225 acres, and the local economy was almost entirely devoted to cattle ranching.  Settlers began to move to the county in greater numbers in the early 1890s; an incomplete 1891 tax roll listed 317 taxpayers. That same year the county was organized, with Matador as county seat. Since the General Land Office required a county seat to have twenty businesses, Matador Ranch employees had opened temporary stores stocked with ranch supplies. During the 1890s the county was disturbed by friction between settlers and the managers of the Matador Ranch, who attempted to control the county government.

Cities and Towns

Matador

Roaring Springs

Tee Pee City

ONLINE DATA

      


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Surrounding Counties

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Hall County (north)
Cottle County (east)
Dickens County (south)
Floyd County (west)
Briscoe County (northwest)

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