Hedley, on U.S. Highway 287 in southeastern Donley County, had its beginning in controversy. It was said that Isaac (Nat) Smith, who owned a large parcel of land and had given the land for the townsite of Rowe, had stipulated the kind of house that should be built when someone bought a few acres for a homestead. This, plus the gyp water and sandy soil, may have prompted the populace in 1906 to propose moving the townsite a mile southeast, despite the fact that a depot, a church, a school, a bank, a gin, and several stores had already been erected. By 1907 the move had begun; houses and stores were mounted on blocks and tackle and hauled by horse and mule teams. That same year a post office opened, and the new settlement was incorporated and named for J. E. M. Hedley, who was influential in getting the Fort Worth and Denver Railway to move its depot and loading pens from Rowe to the new location around 1909. Rowe subsequently was abandoned. In 1908 Thomas Durham started the Hedley Herald, which later became the Hedley Informer, the only hand-set weekly newspaper surviving in Texas in the 1980s. The community's first school building was erected in 1910. Three churches were also built there. Fraternities and civic clubs were organized, and several doctors opened practice in the town. By 1935 Hedley reported a bank and some seventeen other businesses. It also emerged as a cotton-producing center. The West Texas Cotton Oil Company built a new gin complex there during the 1950s. Improved highways and economic changes influenced Hedley's population decrease from 807 in 1930 to 380 in 1980, and its number of businesses dropped to seven by 1984. Hedley, however, in the 1980s continued to host a Cotton Festival every October. In 1990 the town's population was 391, and in 2000 it was 379.