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Fraudulent petition seeks organization of Loving County

June
13
1893

On this day in 1893, the organizers of the Loving Canal and Irrigation Company filed a petition with the Reeves County Commissioners Court requesting separate organization for Loving County. In 1887 the Texas legislature had separated Loving County from Tom Green County, but it remained attached to Reeves County for judicial purposes. Loving County is the only Texas county to be organized twice. The first organization appears to have been a scheme to defraud on the part of the organizers. Although the 1890 United States census reported a population of only three in Loving County, the petition filed with the Reeves County Commissioners Court three years later was signed by 150 allegedly qualified voters. In the ensuing county election eighty-three votes were reported, and county organization was approved. In the spring of 1894, however, only three people were found to be living in Mentone, the county seat. Loving County reportedly held a second election of county officials in November 1894, but there is evidence that neither election was legitimate. The legislature deorganized Loving County in 1897, reattaching it to Reeves County. After Mentone was abandoned in 1897, no town existed in Loving County. The 1900 census reported a county population of eleven females and twenty-two males, all white. With the discovery of oil in the county in the 1920s, the population grew, and the county was organized a second time in 1931. The oil town of Ramsey was renamed Mentone and became the county seat.

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