Haskell, the county seat of Haskell County, is at the junction of U.S. Highways 277 and 380 in the central part of the county. It was once on the Fort Worth and Denver Railway. The townsite was at one time known as Willow Pond Springs, a watering place for Indians, explorers, and buffalo hunters. A member of Randolph B. Marcy's 1849 expedition encouraged his brother, Thomas F. Tucker, to settle at the site in 1879. J. L. Jones and W. R. Standefer moved to the area in 1883. Tucker built a pole shack and called the place Rice Springs for Rice Durrett, an employee of the Reynolds and Matthews Cattle Company. Tucker became the first county judge when Haskell County was organized in 1885; that same year a post office was established, and the developing community was renamed Haskell, after Charles Ready Haskell, a soldier in the Texas Revolution who died at Goliad. Mrs. R. A. Standefer was the community's first postmistress. As the county seat, Haskell dominated regional trade and culture. Barbecues and dances were annual events, as were visits of the Mollie Bailey show, and later, the Harley Sadler tent show. A saloon known as the Road to Ruin was also used for church services. The Haskell Free Press began publication in 1886. Haskell prospered until the panic of 1893 and the drought of 1896; it recovered from these adversities after 1900, the year the Texas Central Railroad reached Stamford. Haskell acquired a rail line and organized a volunteer fire department in 1906; the community was incorporated in 1907. The town's population was reported as 2,611 in 1930, as 3,051 in 1940, and as 3,832 in 1950. In 1946 Haskell reported 114 businesses, including gins, creameries, canneries, and cottonseed oil mills (see COTTONSEED INDUSTRY). Discovery just before World War II of the Lawson oilfield, six miles east of Haskell, had a stabilizing influence on the local economy and population. Lake Stamford, twelve miles southeast, was built in the early 1950s to provide water for municipal and industrial use, as well as for boating, fishing, and swimming. By 1967 Haskell had an airport, a bank, a hospital, and eighteen churches. Its population reached a peak of 4,166 in 1970 and was reported as 3,782 in 1980, when the town had ninety-eight businesses. Haskell's population in 1990 was reported as 3,362. In 2000 the population was 3,106.