Dawn, TX

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: December 1, 1994

Dawn, on U.S. Highway 60 in eastern Deaf Smith County, originated in 1887 when Jim Moore, ranch boss for the T Anchor Ranch, built a dugout about six miles southwest of what is now the townsite. Two years later J. H. Parrish purchased the dugout and the filing rights for the surrounding lands and eventually opened a general store for area ranchers. The story goes that he labeled it "Dawn of a New Country," or "Dawn of Civilization"; when he applied for a post office, the first word of the phrase was chosen for its name. Another story relates that Parrish, upon seeing the land for the first time, exclaimed, "This is the dawn of a new day." James N. Askren, who had a broom factory in a barn at Dawn, opened the first school in the area in 1891. By the time Parrish sold his land holdings and moved to Oklahoma in 1893, the community of Dawn was thriving. Its survival was assured by the arrival of the Pecos Valley and Northeastern Railway, which established a depot at the site in 1898. During the next several years Dawn prospered as a shipping point for area ranchers, and several immigrant farmers were attracted to the area. By 1917 the town had a lumber company, a community church (later a Baptist church), and a hotel, in which a small band played. The advent of irrigation wells made wheat the town's economic mainstay. During the 1920s modern school facilities, among them the county's first school cafeteria, were built at the community. Henry Turner started a stone-ground grain industry, and in the 1940s David Rodgers began marketing from his elevator at Dawn his Deaf Smith corn meal, wheat berries, and stone-ground whole wheat flour. By then the town reported four stores and a population of 100. Paved roads and better transportation later took from Dawn some of its older businesses, including its hotel, bank, railroad depot, lumberyard, and flour mill. Its school district was consolidated with that of Hereford in 1963. Nevertheless several clubs built a new community center there in 1973. In 1984 Dawn reported a store, a post office, three elevators, and a population of ninety-four. In 1990 its population was still reported as ninety-four, but by 2000 it had dropped to fifty-two.

Deaf Smith County: The Land and Its People (Hereford, Texas: Deaf Smith County Historical Society, 1982). Fred Tarpley, 1001 Texas Place Names (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980).


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

H. Allen Anderson, “Dawn, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dawn-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994