BOLL WEEVILS NOT WELCOME
In Cochran County’s bid to transform an early ranching empire into a more equitable agricultural community in the early 1900s, a flier was sent out to prospective farmers touting Cochran County land, offered at $20 per acre, as ideal cotton growing soil. It’s most attractive attribute according to the pamphlet? “No boll weevils”. The irony, lost on many, was that land absent cotton (the boll weevil’s preferred crop) is also land absent the agricultural pest. By 1924, Cochran County had its farmers and was well on its way to having boll weevils as well. But, in the meantime, Morton (Cochran County seat) had a land boom on its hands. In 1926, the Texas Telephone Company moved the county’s first telephone office to Morton, connecting the county seat to the modern age. The building outgrew company use in 1949 and now houses the county’s Texas’ Last Frontier Historical Museum.
The Dust Bowl descended on Morton and Cochran County just as it did the rest of the Great Plains. Relief came, in part, courtesy of the Civil Conservation Corps who moved a camp of 175 young men from nearby Littlefield to Morton in 1941. The crew battled wind and water erosion with efforts like fence-building and tree-planting. Today, Morton continues to serve the agricultural industry, providing a center for farming supplies as well as financing.