SEYMOUR, TEXAS. Seymour, the county seat of Baylor County, is at the intersection of U.S. highways 82, 183, 283, and 277 and Farm roads 422 and 1919, near the center of the county. Earlier, Seymour was situated where the Western Trail crossed the Brazos River. It was settled by pioneers from Oregon who called the place Oregon City. When its post office was established in 1879, the name was changed to Seymour, reportedly for Seymour Munday, a local cowboy. George Jones opened the first store at the community in 1879, and that same year the first newspaper, the Cressett, began publication. A stone hotel was built in 1880, and a courthouse followed four years later. The early days were lively because of conflicts between cowboys and settlers, which culminated in the killing of county judge G. R. Morris in 1880. Seymour boomed after citizens raised $50,000 to encourage construction of the Wichita Valley line through the area in 1890; when the railroad built through, most residents of nearby Round Timbers moved to Seymour. Seymour grew again after the discovery of oil in the county in 1906. The 1890 railroad boom had been short-lived, and the town corporation, organized in 1890, was dissolved in 1892 because of its inability to meet obligations. With its economic revival in 1906, Seymour once again incorporated. Its population increased from 500 in 1884 to 1,900 in 1892, but by 1904 it had declined to 1,475. It rose to 3,778 by 1950 and stayed at around that level for some time thereafter: 3,754 residents were reported in the mid-1980s. In 1990 the population was estimated at 3,185. At that time Seymour was primarily an agribusiness and legal center, rather than an oil industry center; the town also drew some tourists who visited nearby Lake Kemp. Clothing and metalworks were manufactured in Seymour, and cotton, grains, and cattle were the most important local products. Fish Day in May has been an important local event since the 1920s. The Old Settlers Reunion and Rodeo held each July originated in 1896 as the Cowboy Reunion. In 2000 the population was 2,908.
Baylor County Historical Society, Salt Pork to Sirloin, Vol. 1: The History of Baylor County, Texas, from 1879 to 1930 (Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1972); Vol. 2: The History of Baylor County, Texas, from 1878 to Present (1977). Ray Miller, Eyes of Texas Travel Guide: Fort Worth-Brazos Valley Edition (Houston: Cordovan, 1981). Deane B. Valentine, Brief History of Baylor County (Seymour, Texas, 1965). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.