LOCKNEY, TEXAS. Lockney, at the junction of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads, U.S. Highway 70, and Farm roads 97 and 378, in west central Floyd County, was founded in 1889 by settlers from Della Plain seeking a better water source. A post office was granted in 1890. The community was named for J. H. Lockney, the father of settler J. F. Lockney, by H. C. Knight, the district surveyor. In 1894 J. A. Baker donated land for a new townsite and school one mile to the west. Lockney, which had existed as a store and post office, began to grow. Ranching and grain farming at first formed the economic backbone. A school, Lockney Christian College, founded in 1894 by members of the Church of Christ, encouraged settlers, although the school closed around 1918. The town incorporated in 1908.
Lockney thrived as a center for trade and education in its early years. The Practical Business School was started by A. F. Reagan in 1906. A newspaper, variously named, was published from before 1900 until 1972. By 1911 Judge William McGehee had pioneered an irrigation well, and by the end of the 1940s irrigation made cotton the principal crop of this area. Lockney also became a grain-shipping center and retail point with eighty-five businesses and a population of 1,231 by 1940. By 1950 the population had increased to 1,698. A large elementary school was built in 1964, and other new buildings included a hospital, churches, a city hall, and a fire station. The population was 2,141 in 1960; 2,094 in 1970, when the town had seventy-five businesses; and 2,334 in 1980, when citizens supported seventy-two businesses, five schools, many churches, and a rest home. Plants include a birdhouse manufacturing company and several agricultural implements and oilfield equipment companies, including the only factory for wooden sucker rods in Texas. In 1990 the population was 2,207. The population dropped to 2,056 in 2000.
Floyd County Historical Museum, History of Floyd County, 1876–1979 (Dallas: Taylor, 1979). Claude V. Hall, Early History of Floyd County (Canyon, Texas: Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1947). Alma N. Holmes, Favorite Stories about Floyd County (Dallas: Vanguard Visuals, 1973). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).