City of Wellington, Texas

City of Wellington, Texas

Historic Ritz Theather in Wellington, Texas, located in Collingsworth County. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

Wellington, the county seat of Collingsworth County, is on U.S. Highway 83 in the south central part of the county. When Collingsworth County was organized in September 1890, Pearl City, two miles to the north of Wellington, was expected to be chosen county seat. However, land promoters from Childress County favored Wellington over Pearl City. They persuaded J. John Drew and Henry J. Nesper, manager and foreman, respectively, of the Rocking Chair Ranch in the northeastern part of the county, to urge the Rocking Chair cowboys to vote for Wellington. In addition, they offered the voters in the county five town lots each if they would choose Wellington. Wellington won the election by a vote of fifty-six to thirty-two. The legislature validated the election, despite the fact that Wellington had not received the two-thirds majority necessary for a county seat to be located more than five miles from the center of the county. The townsite of Wellington was the product of three promoters: E. T. O'Neil, John S. McConnell, and John W. Swearingen. They named it for the duke of Wellington because a relative of the earl of Aberdeen, who was one of the Rocking Chair's owners, had been with the duke at Waterloo. The first permanent building was a saloon moved by A. F. Swafford from Pearl City in 1891. A post office, with Mrs. Carrie Barton as postmistress, was granted at the same time. Mail was delivered by hack from Memphis. Two general merchandise stores were established. J. W. Koons taught the first school on the second floor of one of the stores. In 1893 a permanent county courthouse was completed. It was built of bricks baked at a kiln on Buck Creek, seven miles west of town near the homesite of the county's first resident, I. N. Bowers, who had settled there in 1876. By 1893 Wellington had five businesses, including O'Neil's two-story hotel, a church, and a separate schoolhouse. In 1898 Swafford's saloon was closed when the county voted dry.

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.

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Wellington by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,896 2020 United States Census Bureau
2,044 2019 Texas Demographic Center
2,189 2010 United States Census Bureau
2,275 2000 United States Census Bureau
2,456 1990 United States Census Bureau
3,043 1980 United States Census Bureau
2,884 1970 United States Census Bureau
3,137 1960 United States Census Bureau
3,676 1950 United States Census Bureau
3,308 1940 United States Census Bureau
3,570 1930 United States Census Bureau
1,968 1920 United States Census Bureau
576 1910 United States Census Bureau