BOOTLEG, TEXAS. Bootleg (Bootleg Corner) is in southwestern Deaf Smith County. There are two stories about the origin of its name. One associates the name with Moonshine Sheep Camp, where a moonshine still was once located; the campground was for cowboys and others traveling from La Plata to Endee, New Mexico. Another story has it that the community was named for a "bootleg school"–a small school building that was moved to various locations by agents selling land for the Capitol Syndicate (see XIT RANCH) so that prospective customers would believe there was a school near the land they were buying. The first real school in the area was probably that at Messenger, begun in 1909 by J. N. Messenger, a local farmer. It was near an old XIT Ranch campsite four miles west of Bootleg Corner and south of Garcia Lake. For that reason, the farming community around it is often called Garcia. During the 1930s Bootleg Corner experienced a boom of sorts after Louis Woodford converted the abandoned "bootleg school" building into a general store, which became a trading center for the western part of the county. In 1942 Woodford bought a rival store across the road that had been erected in 1936 by Phineas Short. Although these buildings were later torn down and hauled away, the Precinct 3 County Barn retains the name Bootleg Corner. In 1914 the Walcott school was built thirteen miles northwest of Hereford in the middle of the Walcott, Piatt, Arnold, and O'Brien ranches. It changed locations several times before 1950, when the original Walcott, Bippus, and Messenger districts were consolidated as the Walcott district and a modern brick school building was erected north of Bootleg Corner. The school is also used for various community functions, as is the Garcia community building, which is on the site of the old Messenger school.
Deaf Smith County: The Land and Its People (Hereford, Texas: Deaf Smith County Historical Society, 1982).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.H. Allen Anderson, "BOOTLEG, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrb79), accessed January 26, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.