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VERNON, TEXAS

Wilbarger County Seat, Texas Panhandle / North Central Texas

50 miles W of Wichita Falls on Hwy 287
16 miles S of Oklahoma
Population: 10,970 (2010) 11,660 (2000) 12,001 (1990)

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Vernon, Texas Topics:

Vernon History
Vernon Landmarks / Attractions - Photo Gallery
Vernon Chronicles
Vernon Forum - Naming of Vernon
Wilbarger County Towns & Ghost Towns
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Vernon Hotels
Vernon TX 1910s street scene with horse drawn wagons
Vernon Vintage Images
1910s postcard courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection
History in a Pecan Shell

The name Vernon was their second choice after the Post Office refused the requested Eagle Flat. (For more on naming of Vernon, see Forum below.) The county's name, however has a more hair-raising story attached to it:

Josiah Wilbarger was an early settler who was scalped by Comanches down around Austin, where a creek under Highway 71 still bears his name.

Josiah had the presence of mind to cover the wound with a sock (the only clothing the Comanches left him) before slipping into unconsciousness. He crawled for two days and was mistaken for a Comanche and nearly killed by rescuers. He lived for many years after the incident, although his skull decayed and his brain was eventually exposed, resulting in coma and eventual death.Vernon lent its name to a struggling opera singer who combined it with Dalhart and became Vernon Dalhart. Armed with this impressive name, he sold hundreds of thousands of early "western" records.


Fargo and Doan's Crossing

Vernon's 19th Century history is closely bound to the Red River crossing some 15 miles north. Corwin Doan operated a store at this point and supplied cowboys with all they needed to survive the trip. This is where an estimated six million Longhorn cattle crossed on their way to the railheads in Dodge City, Kansas.

The fencing of the west and the invention of barbed wire put an end to the cattle drives that brought Texas back from the economic collapse brought upon by the Civil War.

Ironically Vernon had often played host to The International Barbed Wire and Antique Show.

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Vernon Landmarks / Attractions
Touring Vernon

Vernon Tx - Red River Valley Museum
Red River Valley Museum
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
1928 Wilbarger County Courthouse , Vernon , Texas,
Wilbarger County Courthouse
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, April, 2006
Vernon Tx - Courthouse War Memorial
War Memorials on courthouse ground
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx - First Baptist Church
Vernon Churches
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx - Former Wilbarger County Jail
Former Wilbarger County Jail
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx W. D. Berry Home
Vernon Historic Homes
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx - Municipal Building
Vernon Municipal Building
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon POP. 11660
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx - Plaza Theater
Plaza Theatre. More Texas Theatres
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Tx - W.T. Dickey Building
W.T. Dickey Building
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
Vernon Chronicles
  • Carnegie Library (sort of)
    Just past Main St on the Northside of Wilbarger is the City-County Library. Although the 1915 structure was razed in the late 1970s, they continue to use the name of the original library's benefactor. The cost of the original building according to Carnegie Libraries Across America was $12,500. It might've been 12,501.
  • Sullivan Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
    Ex-Ranger W.S.J. Sullivan, and the hanging of condemned preacher Morrison, the last man ever legally hanged in Wilbarger County.
  • Entertaining the Rotary Club in Mount Vernon by Robert Cowser
  • Roy Orbison was born in April 23, 1936 in Vernon

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  •  
    Vernon Tx - TEXAS Marker
    TEXAS Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
     
    Vernon Texas sign
     
    Population 12,001 (1990)

    We checked four references for Vernon's population and they all say 12,001. We asked eight different Vernonians if they happened to know whom the last person counted was, and seven of the eight said it was they.

    The eighth person told us that the citizens of Vernon were called Vernonites, and that the twelve thousand and first inhabitant was probably a rare example of Census Bureau humor.
    Vernon Tourist Information
    Vernon Chamber of Commerce
    On the NE side of the square on Main Street (Hwy 283).
    1-800-687-3137 or 940-552-2564.
    Website: www.vernontx.com

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    Vernon Tx  - Fina, No Parking Sign
    "No Parking"
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
    Vernon Tx - Closed Gas Sation
    Closed Gas Sation. More Texas Gas Stations
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, April 2009
    Vernon Forum - Naming of Vernon
  • Subject: Name of Vernon, Texas
    There is no historical proof of the Mt. Vernon theory as to the reason for Vernon's name. I agree completely with Joyce Ashley. And I was born and raised in Vernon. - Lee Probst, May 27, 2008

  • No Vernonites in Vernon
    Dear TE, Just a couple of comments on your Vernon information. There are several incorrect statements. For instance, Carnegie City-County Library still exists. It simply moved to a new and more modern location at 2810 Wilbarger Street before the old building on Cumberland Street was torn down.

    Vernon was not necessarily named for Mount Vernon, although that is certainly one theory. However, according to the Wilbarger County history book (page 578), "After the name Eagle Flat was not accepted by the postal authorities due to other offices with "Eagle" in the name, the name Vernon was chosen but history has not recorded a substantiated reason for the selection." The book goes on to say that another (and more colorful) version of the origin of the name was that it was named after Vernon Brown, a whisky drummer, the first to call on the new townsite, promised free samples of his wares if the then-new town was named after him. Actually, no one knows for sure how the town got its name.

    Also, I have lived in Vernon for 57 years now and have NEVER heard anyone called a "Vernonite."... - Joyce Ashley, Vernon, Texas, January 7, 2007
  • Subject: Kramer's studio
    I found numerous old, old photos left by my Grandmother, they were developed at Kramer Studio in Vernon, Texas. Can you tell me if, by some miracle, it's still in business or what may have happened to it? Thanks, Margie Foster, OKC, January 05, 2006
  • Vernon, Texas Area Destinations:
    Wichita Falls
    See Wilbarger County
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