County Seat: Seminole • County Population: 17,526
County Judge: Lance Celander
- Precinct 1 – Danny Yocom
- Precinct 2 – Craig Belt
- Precinct 3 – Blair Tharp
- Precinct 4 – Biz Houston
The 1922 Gaines County Courthouse designed by Sanguinet & Staats was extensively remodeled in 1955 resulting in a Modern county capitol fashioned of limestone and concrete with a box-like mien.
The county was named for James Gaines, a delegate at the Constitutional Convention and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Gaines County was created in August 1876, surveyed in 1879, and organized in 1905.
Named for local Indian watering holes, the county seat of Seminole grew rapidly once the railroad arrived in 1918.
Located on the southern edge of the South Plains of the Panhandle, the northern edge of the Permian Basin, and situated against the Texas/New Mexico state line, Gaines County is a mix of its Wild West and oil boom heritage and a future being built on cutting edge technology.
The two incorporated communities of Seminole and Seagraves house museums that provide colorful insight into the history of Gaines County, originally the homeland of the Comanche. The last great Comanche chief, Quanah Parker, was born near Cedar Lake in the northeast section of the county.
The Seminole Museum includes the following unique exhibits:
- collection of more than three dozen typewriters, tracing the instrument’s evolution over the past 118 years;
- century-old safe used in one of Seminole’s first banks;
- display focusing on the sensational 1923 murders in Seminole of two cattle inspectors by the notorious Tom Ross and his partner, Milt Good, and the trials that followed;
- special room representing an early 20th century Seminole home, complete with a wood-burning stove and kerosene-powered irons; and
- an exceptional collection of ranching and farming tools – many handmade – that range from the late 19th century to the present, and a selection of vintage cattle brands used on early ranches in the area.
Ranching and farming have always been mainstays of the economy. At one point, Seagraves was transshipping more cattle to the rest of the United States by rail than any other community in the state. While ranching has dropped off some, Gaines County is consistently ranked No. 1 in cotton and peanut production in Texas. In the mid-1930s a new industry came to Gaines County – petroleum – now a major player in the county’s economy.