Tolbert, on U.S. Highway 287 and the Burlington Northern line in northwestern Wilbarger County, was originally established in the late 1880s as a shipping point by the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway. It was first named Wheatland for the abundance of wheat in the area, but in 1890 the postal department rejected the name Wheatland, and the town became Tolbert instead, in honor of county judge J. R. Tolbert. The new post office was granted on June 30 of that year. Between 1910 and 1930 the town grew to comprise as many as 1,000 people and numerous businesses, including a theater, a telephone office, and three churches. By 1930, however, it had greatly declined, due largely to the lack of an adequate water source. The post office was discontinued in the early 1930s, and by 1940 the population was only seventy-five. Between the 1950s and the 1980s it fell to thirty. The population remained at thirty in 2000. The Tolbert school, first established about 1893, consolidated with the Vernon and Odell schools in 1954. By 1986 only a few families and the cemetery were left. Tolbert was the home of state treasurer John W. Robbins, who served from 1899 to 1907.
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