THE TOWNS & COMMUNITIES OF TAYLOR COUNTY
Taylor County has remained a primarily rural county with most of the towns remaining relatively small. Here are the stories of the towns in Taylor County. These features were written by members of our historical commission in 2020-2021.
Map image shown at left: Texas & Pacific Railway. Map of Taylor County, Texas. [Marshall, Tex.: Texas & Pacific Railway Co., 189-?]
TAYLOR COUNTY TOWNS
This is not yet a complete listing of all towns and communities that exist or might have existed in Taylor County. These histories were created by Taylor County Historical Commission members in 2021.
Abilene, Abilene, prettiest town I’ve ever seen…
Many people who’ve never visited Abilene know at least the opening line of Abilene, a singable tune made popular in 1963 by George Hamilton IV. Local collector of Western music, Joe Specht, published a book in 2006 titled, Abilene in Song: The Women There Don’t Treat You Mean, detailing more than 100 songs in which Abilene, Texas, plays a role or is mentioned.
County Judge John Watts Murray cast the deciding vote in 1883 that cost Buffalo Gap its status as county seat of Taylor County. And his vote cost Murray his chickens.
There was an election Oct. 23, 1883, in the county to determine the county seat. Buffalo Gap, the only town in the county when it was organized in 1878, had been the county seat since 1874, but residents of the new railroad town of Abilene, 13 miles to the northeast, wanted to move the seat of government. They presented a petition, and Murray called an election.
Lawn, located 24 miles south of Abilene on U.S. Highway 84 at Farm Road 604 (the Atlas ICBM Highway), is a community existing as a result of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
The town was settled in the 1890s as Jim Ned and transitioned, with a new post office, to Lawn. With the arrival of the railroad to the town’s southeast in 1909, the original community became "Old Lawn" as "New" Lawn was incorporated in 1925 to support essential rail services.
Merkel, in northwestern Taylor County, was founded in the early 1880s as the Texas & Pacific Railway pushed west, and was first known as Windmill Town. The community was a shipping point for the surrounding area, and in 1881, was renamed for its first settler, S. M. Merkel.
Nubia, pronounced "Nuby" by locals, was in western Taylor County, 10 miles south of Merkel on Nubia Creek. Farm Road 126 crosses County Road 353 at what was the center of Nubia, the only community in Mulberry Canyon.
Trent, on Interstate Highway 20 twenty-three miles west of Abilene in northwestern Taylor County, was established in 1881 and served as a halfway station on the Texas and Pacific Railway between Texarkana and El Paso.