Afton is on Farm Road 193 seventy miles east of Lubbock in north central Dickens County. Before 1891 a hunter named Patton camped near springs in the area that became known as Patton Springs. Soon after, a settlement developed south of the springs. The community's first post office, which opened in 1891, was named Beckton after the first postmaster, Francis E. Beck. In 1895 it closed, but by 1900 a new post office had opened. Although the town had by this time become known as Cottonwood, the postal authorities rejected this name since another Texas town was already using it. At this time Myra Kelly, applying the sentiments of the song "Flow Gently, Sweet Afton" to a local stream, named the settlement Afton. In 1900 Afton had a population of only ten, and the tent grocery store operated by R. L. Sitton was its only business. Ed Chambers evidently built the first gin in 1904, and Uncle Wash Robertson started a blacksmith shop in 1906. During the late teens and early twenties Afton thrived and was referred to as "Little Fort Worth." The town had an estimated population of 100 in 1970 and 1990. It still maintained a post office, a Baptist church, and a consolidated school in 1980, but the only businesses remaining were a gin and a grocery store. In 2000 the population dropped to fifteen with three businesses.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
Edloe A. Jenkins | © Texas State Historical Association
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