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Ayr, in Deaf Smith County, was established in January 1890 when the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway sent a party of fifteen surveyors under Robert E. Montgomery and H. H. Granger to survey a projected spur from Washburn southwest through the center of the county. The purpose of the spur was to transport to northern markets the cattle of the ranching region between Roswell, New Mexico, and Big Spring. Since the railroad hoped to take away cattle shipments from the rival Southern Kansas (Santa Fe) line, details of the expedition were kept as secret as possible. On January 26 the surveyors had chosen a place five miles from the center of the county and laid out a townsite, which they named for the city of Ayr in Scotland (although Montgomery reportedly called it "Air" because of the wind). The surveying crew wintered at the site, and by early spring settlers began to come in and file on sections of land for three dollars an acre at 5 percent interest. A few houses were built, and the town grew rapidly as several families settled in the vicinity. By May, W. D. Dulaney had established a general store, and a post office had been granted with James M. Campbell, an elderly Scotsman, as postmaster. The XIT Ranch, however, had developed a rival town called Grenada (later La Plata), which vied with Ayr to be county seat. During the heated controversy that ensued, Texas Rangers were stationed at Ayr to prevent trouble. On October 3, 1890, La Plata won the election by ninety-seven to seven votes. Despite rumors that certain XIT cowboys had voted twice, the election was declared valid. Consequently, the projected railroad was never built. By 1895 the post office was discontinued and the townsite of Ayr was abandoned.

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H. Allen Anderson | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Ayr is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Ayr is classified as a Town

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated