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GOMEZ, TX

GOMEZ, TEXAS. Gomez is on U.S. highways 82 and 380 forty-five miles southwest of Lubbock in west central Terry County. In 1902 J. F. Blankenship, Sam P. Ford, and a Mr. Pool started the town, the first settlement in Terry County. Blankenship surveyed the townsite. The men were informed-incorrectly, it was later discovered-that the land they had bought was at the center of the county. A post office opened in 1903 with Mrs. Tom Bess as postmistress. The name of the town was suggested by Washington postal authorities in honor of Máximo Gómez, a Cuban general and patriot who had figured prominently in the recent Spanish-American War.

The first building in Gomez was a general merchandise store, Wolf and Ware. In 1903 J. T. Gainer gave up ranching to build a large general store in Gomez, W. Craig established the first saloon, and Vernon Seitz built the first public dance hall. That year T. J. Price, who owned the blacksmith shop, circulated the first petition for the organization of the county, feeling sure that Gomez would be the county seat. The founders boasted that Gomez was "the metropolis of the plains." A school was established in 1903 in a one-room building with a curtain between the two teachers' classes. The first teachers were W. P. Florence and Miss Lula Spinks. H. H. Longbrake drilled a public well in the town square that year, and by 1904 the square was surrounded by businesses, including the Terry County Voice, the first newspaper in the county. The first cotton gin in Gomez was built in 1904, marking the beginning of significant cotton production in the county.

When the election was held in 1904 to choose the county seat, the newly established Brownfield won by a margin of three votes. But Gomez continued to grow for a while. In 1907 the Gomez bank was established with J. T. Gainer as its first president, but in 1909 it was moved to Plains. Around 1910 Gomez residents and businesses began to move to Brownfield. A. P. Moore strongly believed that Gomez could be successful and built a general merchandise store in 1910 that did well until 1920, when it burned.

Moore might have rebuilt the store, except for the fact that in 1917 the South Plains and Santa Fe Railway was built to the east of Gomez through Brownfield. The old townsite of Gomez was abandoned in 1918 and reverted to farmland, and a new townsite was established less than a mile north of the old site, along the Brownfield-Roswell highway. All that is left of old Gomez is the cemetery, which dates back to 1900 and was used until 1918. The new Gomez has a gin and a school. In 1927 it had a population of seventy-five, and in 1984 the population was thirty. It was still listed as a community in 1990. In 2000 the population was twelve.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Kyle Martin Buckner, "The History of Brownfield, Texas," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 19 (1943). Oran Silas Buckner, History of Terry County (M.A. thesis, Texas Technological College, 1943). Terry County Historical Survey Committee, A History of Terry County, Texas (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1968).

Leoti A. Bennett

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Leoti A. Bennett, "GOMEZ, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrg22), accessed October 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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