Vernon

Vernon, Texas

Vernon, Texas

View of the City Hall of Vernon, Texas. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Vernon, the county seat of Wilbarger County, is just south of the Pease River on U.S. highways 70, 183, 283, 287, and the Burlington and Northern Railroad, fifty miles northwest of Wichita Falls and sixty miles southeast of Childress in the north central part of the county. The site was called Eagle Springs by the Tonkawa Indians as early as 1858 for the unusual abundance of nesting eagles. Substantial numbers of settlers came into the area after the Civil War, and Robert Franklin Jones, an early resident, gave a half section of land for a new townsite in 1880. Application was made for a post office to be called Eagle Flat, but the postal department complained that too many Texas towns already had the word eagle as part of their name. The second-choice name of Vernon was accepted, and a post office was granted to the community in 1880. Though sources disagree, Vernon was probably named either for George Washington's Mount Vernon or for a traveling whiskey salesman named Vernon Brown. Wilbarger County was organized on October 10, 1881, and Vernon, with a population of twenty-five, was chosen as the county seat. Within two years the Vernon Guard had been established there as the first newspaper, and by 1892 the Vernon Texan and the Vernon Call were also being published. By 1885 the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway had reached the town, and the next year the courthouse was completed. Settlers poured into the new trading center, and Vernon was incorporated on February 12, 1889. By 1892 it had 3,500 residents, who were served by a street railway, a fire department, electric lighting, three newspapers, two flour mills, and two ice factories. By 1900 more than eight church denominations had been organized there. The St. Louis, San Francisco and Texas Railway joined the Fort Worth and Denver at Vernon about 1901. The town population was estimated at 9,137 in 1936 and at 10,500 by the 1940s. Beginning in 1950 the population generally averaged more than 12,000. In 1990 Vernon was a center for agriculture-related products and for oil. At that time the city was the home of Vernon Regional Junior College and reported 12,001 residents. In 2000 the population was 11,660.

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.

Belongs to

Vernon is part of or belongs to the following places.

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Currently Exists

Yes

Place type

Vernon is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Eagle Flat)

Locations

  • Latitude
    34.14798380
    Longitude
    -99.29997600

Has Post Office

Yes

Is Incorporated

Yes

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Vernon by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Vernon
Pop. Year Source
10,188 2019 Texas Demographic Center
11,002 2010 Texas Demographic Center
11,660 2000 Texas Demographic Center
12,001 1990 Texas Demographic Center
12,695 1980 Texas Demographic Center
11,454 1970 Texas Demographic Center
12,141 1960 Texas Demographic Center
12,651 1950 Texas Demographic Center
9,277 1940 Texas Demographic Center
9,137 1930 Texas Demographic Center
5,142 1920 Texas Demographic Center
3,195 1910 Texas Demographic Center
1,993 1900 Texas Demographic Center
2,857 1890 Texas Demographic Center