Hartley County

Hartley County, Texas

Hartley County, Texas

View of the Hartley County Courthouse in Channing, the seat of Hartley County, Texas. Photograph by Aualliso.
Hartley County, Texas

Hartley County, Texas

Map of Hartley County, Texas. Map Credit: Robert Plocheck.

Hartley County, in the northwestern part of the Panhandle, is bordered on the west by New Mexico, on the north by Dallam County, on the east by Moore County, and on the south by Oldham County. The county seat, Channing, is about fifty miles northwest of Amarillo and about thirty miles south of Dalhart, which straddles the Hartley-Dallam county line. The center point of the county is at 35°50' north latitude and 102°35' west longitude. The county was named for Rufus K. and Oliver C. Hartley. It comprises 1,488 square miles of level to rolling grasslands. The terrain is marked by jagged, dry arroyos and by the intermittent Punta de Agua and Rita Blanca creeks, which join in Hartley County and drain into the Canadian River in Oldham County. The elevation ranges between 3,400 and 4,200 feet above sea level. The soils in the county vary from deep sandy loam to loose sand. Many varieties of grasses and other plants provide plentiful grazing for the county's cattle. In 1938 a flood-control dam was begun three miles south of Dalhart on Rita Blanca Creek. By 1941 the impoundment, named Rita Blanca Lake, had filled with water. Large natural-gas formations discovered in the late 1930s underlie parts of the county and bolster the economy. The annual rainfall averages eighteen inches, and the temperature ranges from an average high of 92° F in July to an average low of 20° in January. The growing season averages 180 days per year.

Until the frontier reached the Hartley County region in the 1870s, the area was just a small part of the huge, vacant High Plains, which stretch from Texas to Canada. An Apachean culture occupied the Panhandle-Plains area in prehistoric times; the modern Apaches emerged then but were pushed out of the region about 1700 by the Comanches, who ruled the area until they were defeated in the Red River War of 1873–74 and subsequently removed to Indian Territory. In 1876 the Texas legislature marked off Hartley County from land formerly assigned to Bexar and Young counties. Due to its proximity to both the Canadian River and New Mexico, Hartley County undoubtedly witnessed the comings and goings of Comancheros, ciboleros, and pastores as they ventured eastward from New Mexico into Comanchería on the Great Plains. The pastores, in fact, continued to migrate yearly after the Indian era and made up a large part of the regional population and economy into the early 1880s.

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Donald R. Abbe | © 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.

Currently Exists


Place type

Hartley County is classified as a County

Altitude Range

3340 ft – 4465 ft


Land area does not include water surface area, whereas total area does

  • Land Area: 1,462.0 mi²
  • Total Area: 1,463.2 mi²


January mean minimum: 21.4°F
July mean maximum: 91.6°F

Rainfall, 2019

21.0 inches

Population Count, 2019


Civilian Labor Count, 2019


Unemployment, 2019


Property Values, 2019

$1,325,247,585 USD

Per-Capita Income, 2019

$62,463 USD

Retail Sales, 2019

$57,483,347 USD

Wages, 2019

$30,377,300 USD

Hartley County

  • Hartley County
Place Type Population (Year/Source) Currently Exists
Town 266 (2021) Yes
Town 8,347 (2021) Yes
Town 368 (2021) Yes
Lake Yes

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