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BLEDSOE, TEXAS. Bledsoe is at the junction of Farm roads 595, 769, and 2182 and the terminus of a branch line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe tracks in west central Cochran County, 1½ miles from the Texas-New Mexico state line. The town was established by the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway when the line was built west from Lubbock in 1925; the community was named for Samuel T. Bledsoe, an official of the company, who later became president. The railroad's plans to extend from Bledsoe into New Mexico never materialized. The Panhandle and Santa Fe completed the rail line in 1925, and on December 1, 1925, the first scheduled train ran from Lubbock to Bledsoe. The community's first settlers were Mr. and Mrs. R. C. Strickland. Bledsoe was in a good location to serve as a shipping point for local ranchers, so it grew rapidly and quickly became a cattle-shipping center. The first school there opened in November 1925. The first business building was occupied by a firm that printed the Cochran County News, the county's first newspaper. In 1926 a post office was established, with James M. Lackey as postmaster; his wife taught at the first school in Bledsoe. By 1929 Bledsoe had a population of 400, several stores, four filling stations, three lumberyards, two hotels, a church, a cafe, an electric plant, an ice plant, a barbershop, a movie theater, and a dance hall. By 1936 the population had declined to 150, and only ten businesses remained. The primary reasons for this decline were the lack of water and the decreasing need for the railroad. By 1970 the population level at Bledsoe had stabilized at 125, where it remained in 2000, when three businesses were operating there.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Elvis Eugene Fleming, Texas' Last Frontier: A History of Cochran County (Morton, Texas: Cochran County Historical Society, 1965). James Marshall, Santa Fe: The Railroad That Built an Empire (New York: Random House, 1945). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Leoti A. Bennett, "BLEDSOE, TX," accessed August 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HLB35.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.