County Seat: Farwell * County Population: 9,877 (Texas Almanac 2004-2005)
The Parmer County capitol was erected in 1916 in a Texas Renaissance style as designed by C. Risser. Built of brick, the courthouse includes a Roman arched entrance and is located on the town square in the county seat of Farwell.
The Texas Legislature established Parmer County in 1876 from lands that formerly were assigned to the Bexar District. The county was named for Martin Parmer, chairman of the committee that drafted the Constitution of the Republic of Texas and one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Farwell was named after brothers Charles B. and John V. Farwell, who worked with two partners to obtain a contract to build a new Texas Capitol in exchange for 3,000,000 acres of land in the Texas Panhandle, which became the XIT Ranch.
At the time of its establishment, all of the land within Parmer County – except for some school land – was part of the XIT Ranch.
The county’s first seat was Parmerton, which sits in the geographic center of the county. However, the establishment of Farwell in 1904 led to the eventual demise of Parmerton; Farwell was officially named the county capital in 1908.
In 1904 a campaign was launched to sell holdings of the XIT Ranch to farmers, smaller ranchers and land speculators. Consequently, over the next six years farmers began arriving to establish their own operations. By 1910, the county was home to some 160 farms and ranches.
As the farm economy continued to expand, a transportation network developed to move crops and connect the county with the rest of the country. In 1913, the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway constructed a branch line from Farwell to Lubbock, which complemented its earlier line to Amarillo.
In the 1950s the county experienced a surge of growth thanks to a significant increase in irrigated farming, once irrigation wells were drilled into the Ogallala aquifer. Additional growth was experienced in the 1960s during the development of a large cattle feedlot industry.
Today, Parmer County is among the leading counties in total farm income, with an agriculture market value of $574 million. Crops include corn, grain, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, sorghums, cotton, hay, soybeans, alfalfa, apples and potatoes.
Parmer County has been described as “small in size, but big in heart.” The county, which sits on the western border of the Panhandle, offers a small-town atmosphere, yet also provides easy access to major cities. The county seat is located about 90 miles from Lubbock and Amarillo and 10 miles from Clovis, N.M.
The county celebrates several annual events including the Parmer County Jr. Livestock Show in January, Border Town Days in July, and the Arts and Crafts Fair in November.
Texas Almanac 2004-2005