Santa Fe Railroad wanted to follow a
straight line from Plainview to Lubbock. A straight-line survey was
run and it went east of the present site of Abernathy. This route
did not please the residents of Hale Center, which had been
established since the 1890's. They influenced Santa Fe to come
southwest out of Plainview to serve them and from there the Santa Fe
followed an approximate straight line into Lubbock.
The developers of the town sites along the
new railroad wanted to organize a town on a section four miles north
of the present town of Abernathy. The owners, who lived in
Wisconsin, were contacted. They thought there might be gold on the
land and refused to sell. Therefore, the last section south in Hale
County was chosen as the town site.
Originally owned by John Y. Ligon, J.C.
Roberds had purchased the section that was to become the Abernathy
town site from E.S. and W.L. Stanfield. When the South Plains
Investment Company was formed by J.C. Roberds, Dr. M.C. Overton, and
Monroe Abernathy, Mr. Roberds deeded the section to the firm and
became the president of the firm. Dr. Overton was secretary and Mr.
Abernathy was treasurer.
On June 18, 1909, the official survey of the
town site was recognized by Gov. T.M. Campbell. The town site was
platted on July 8, 1909, and was named for M.C. Abernathy. Mr. Monk
was the resident agent for the company and a small frame office
building was built. Lots and blocks were sold from there.
Since there were already several buildings
in Bartonsite and none in Abernathy, the founding fathers here
contracted with J.J. Barton to move some of the buildings to
Abernathy. In the late summer of 1909 the move began. Buildings were
placed on rollers. The latest equipment-steam driven tractors-
hooked on. The exodus began to huff and puff toward the new town.
The tractors did not move but about three or four miles per hour, so
it was a long trip. A two-story yellow hotel, a lumberyard,
blacksmith shop, and three or four residences were some of the
approximately ten buildings moved.
The first train came to Abernathy in the
early fall of 1909. This was not a regular train, but some cars
added to the work train. It was a great day for all the settlers in
The depot was constructed in 1909. C.E.
Stout was the first local agent for the Santa Fe.
The section where the town of Abernathy was
being developed was fenced and gates had to be opened when entering
and leaving town. The streets and block corners were layed off with
2 x 4 stubs. These stubs denoted streets for the next few years,
until a grader finally came in to run ditches.
Town residents had free range on the section
and their milk cows and horses and mules were turned loose to graze.
The stock would stray out of the section and range cattle would come
into town when someone happened to leave the gates open. The ladies
had to stand guard at their clotheslines to keep the livestock from
ruining their laundry. When a load of feed was brought to town, the
cattle and horses had to be chased away until it was unloaded in
stack lots or barns. Trains running through the town section
frequently hit the livestock.
Behind most of the houses were outhouses,
barns, and windmills. Nearly every home had its own windmill,
although a few families hauled water. Generally, gardens and cow
lots were integral parts of each household.
Although the City of Abernathy was founded
in 1909, it was not incorporated until 1924.