TOYAH, TEXAS. Toyah is on Billingslea Draw, Interstate Highway 20, U.S. Highway 80, Farm Road 2903, and the Missouri Pacific line in central Reeves County. It is the oldest townsite in Reeves County, and its name is from an Indian word that means flowing water. The community began as a trading post for the large area ranches. In the early 1880s, before the railroad reached Reeves County, W. T. Youngblood and his family moved to the area in a covered wagon with a stock of general merchandise. Youngblood began his business by visiting each ranch as a peddler. At the time he was also building a one-room store of adobe. In 1881 the first train arrived in Toyah, and that year a post office was established. By October 20, 1881, Toyah was described as a town of tents, saloons, and restaurants. At the end of the year the Overland Transportation Company announced stagecoach service from Toyah to Fort Stockton and Fort Davis-six times each way weekly. By 1886 the community also included the A. M. Fields Hotel. The first public school in Toyah was established in 1894 with one teacher and five grades in a one-room building. By the 1899–1900 term the school had forty-two students and two teachers; the next year the student population increased to fifty-five, though there was only one teacher. Toyah reported a population of 771 in 1910, and the town became a major cattle-shipping point on the railroad. Sometime later, however, Toyah lost its shipping business to a new point on the line called Toyahvale, which was closer to the ranches. By 1914 the population of Toyah had increased to 1,062, and it remained above 1,000 until the Great Depression hit in 1929. In 1931 Toyah reported a population of 553, with seventeen businesses, including a bank. At one time or another in its history, Toyah had four churches, four stores, two banks, two hotels, two lumberyards, and a drugstore. Toyah was incorporated in 1933, and the number of businesses rose to twenty. In the 1940s the population was reported as 464, and in the 1950s, as 409. During the 1960s the number of residents was around 280, dropping to 196 by the early 1970s but rising again to 286 by 1980. From 1982 through the late 1980s it was reported as around 165, and by 1990 the population had dropped to 142. The population dropped again to 100 by 2000.
Alton Hughes, Pecos: A History of the Pioneer West (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1978).