AYR, TEXAS. Ayr, in Deaf Smith County, was established in January 1890 when the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway sent a party of fifteen surveyors under Robert E. Montgomery and H. H. Granger to survey a projected spur from Washburn southwest through the center of the county. The purpose of the spur was to transport to northern markets the cattle of the ranching region between Roswell, New Mexico, and Big Spring. Since the railroad hoped to take away cattle shipments from the rival Southern Kansas (Santa Fe) line, details of the expedition were kept as secret as possible. On January 26 the surveyors had chosen a place five miles from the center of the county and laid out a townsite, which they named for the city of Ayr in Scotland (although Montgomery reportedly called it "Air" because of the wind). The surveying crew wintered at the site, and by early spring settlers began to come in and file on sections of land for three dollars an acre at 5 percent interest. A few houses were built, and the town grew rapidly as several families settled in the vicinity. By May, W. D. Dulaney had established a general store, and a post office had been granted with James M. Campbell, an elderly Scotsman, as postmaster. The XIT Ranch, however, had developed a rival town called Grenada (later La Plata), which vied with Ayr to be county seat. During the heated controversy that ensued, Texas Rangersqv were stationed at Ayr to prevent trouble. On October 3, 1890, La Plata won the election by ninety-seven to seven votes. Despite rumors that certain XIT cowboys had voted twice, the election was declared valid. Consequently, the projected railroad was never built. By 1895 the post office was discontinued and the townsite of Ayr was abandoned.
Amarillo Sunday News-Globe, August 14, 1938. Deaf Smith County: The Land and Its People (Hereford, Texas: Deaf Smith County Historical Society, 1982). Bessie Patterson, A History of Deaf Smith County (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1964).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.H. Allen Anderson, "AYR, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hva35), accessed February 10, 2016. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history everyday,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles