Quanah, on U.S. Highway 287 between the Red and Pease rivers in central Hardeman County, was named for Comanche chief Quanah Parker. W. J. Jones, who arrived in 1884, was the first settler. The Fort Worth and Denver City Railway surveyed the townsite in 1884 and began selling lots a year later. The post office was established in 1886 with J. A. Johnson as postmaster, and the community developed slowly until the railroad reached it in 1887. Edith McCann taught the first school, which opened in 1886; Baptist and Methodist churches were organized in 1888. In 1890 the first rock buildings housing businesses were constructed. The county seat was originally Margaret, but Quanah won the county seat election in 1890. A flood on June 4 of the next year, caused by fourteen inches of rain within four hours, wrecked the town and local farmers' wheat crops. Less than three months later, disaster struck again with a fire that destroyed many business houses. Quanah recovered and rebuilt to maintain its place as Hardeman County's market center. The town's first newspaper, the Eagle, was published in a dugout by W. W. West. The Chief began in 1890 and in 1894 merged with the Tribune, first published by Harry Koch in 1890. For some time the town had three railroads, including the Quanah, Acme and Pacific and the St. Louis and San Francisco. The population of Quanah was 1,477 in 1890, 3,127 in 1910, 4,464 in 1930, a record 4,589 in 1950, and 3,890 in 1980. Manufacturers in 1980 included a gypsum plant for wallboard, a cottonseed oil mill, and a sheet metal works. Quanah's economic position as a shipping center for cattle, cotton, wheat, oats, and barley was improved with the discovery of the Conley oilfield southwest of town in 1959. Some eighty businesses, numerous churches, schools, a museum, a library, the Quanah Tribune-Chief, and hospitals served the community in the 1980s. In 1991 the population was 3, 721. The population was 3,022 in 2000.