Vernon is the county seat of Wilbarger County, which was officially organized in October of 1881. The county's history, however, dates back much farther and includes a rich legacy of the Old West. The first settlers in Wilbarger County were members of the Doan family, who came to the area in 1878. They settled on the Red River north of Vernon near a spot where the Western Trail of the famous Chisholm Trail crossed the river going north to cattle markets in Kansas. Millions of cattle were driven out of Texas to northern markets over this route - many of them likely coming from the huge Waggoner Ranch, which was established in the area in the mid 1800's. Today, the 525,000-acre Waggoner operation, with approximately 250,000 acres in Wilbarger County, is the largest ranch in Texas operated by a single management. Judge J. Doan and C.F. Doan established a trading post at the site of the river crossing and the old building still remains as the oldest structure in the county. The original adobe owned by C.F. Doan was renovated under direction of the Wilbarger Historical Commission for a permanent historical attraction. In 1879 a mail line was established from Wichita Falls to points north through Doans. A mail route was also established south to Seymour in 1880 and settlers began to move rapidly into the county. Shortly after the Doans settled in the north part of the county, a trading post was located at Condon Springs, which is now the site of Hillcrest Country Club, and a community was established there as Eagle Flat, in recognition of the many eagles nesting in the area. The name was changed by U.S. Postal authorities to Vernon after several other names were given consideration. The origional townsite was laid out on a half-section of land in 1880. The city was incorporated in an election on April 3, 1889.


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