How Muleshoe Got Its Name

Bailey County was organized in 1913, and the city of Muleshoe was incorporated in 1926. The county was named for Lt. Bailey, hero of the Battle of the Alamo. The land was a part of the famed XIT Ranch which was a part of the program to build the State Capitol in Austin.

The Muleshoe Ranch used an inverted U over a bar. The resemblance to a mule shoe soon gained the brand a new name, and the city took the name Muleshoe. The old Muleshoe Ranch cook house still stands west of town - at the Muleshoe Heritage Center - and is marked with a historical medallion. Muleshoe today is an agricultural trading center, and is known throughout the world as the HOME OF THE MULE MEMORIAL.

History of the Area
The area was found when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway laid tracks acrows the agrarian expanse. The nearby ranch was founded in 1877 by Civil War veteran Henry Black. The town became the county seat and quickly entered into a period of expansion. By 1930, it had grown to nearly 800 residents. It topped 1,300 residents over the next 10 years. In 1960, Muleshoe had tripled in size to a population of 3,871. When the town reached more than 5,000 people in 1970, it boasted 200 businesses, two hospitals, two banks, a library, a community center, a newspaper and a radio station.

More About Muleshoe Ranch
Henry Black began using the Muleshoe brand in Fannin County in 1856 and registered it on November 12, 1860. Black fought for the Confederate Army, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. He returned after the Civil War to find that his home had burned and his wife had died; his children, however, were still alive. On August 17, 1865, he married Sarah Adalia Braley, and subsequently he began fording herds across the Red River and selling clothing items made by his wife. Mostly they were paid in cattle and horses. By 1877 their herd had outgrown their property, so the family moved to Stephens County, taking with them 1,000 cattle and 500 horses. Black purchased land—which already had three houses on it—and established the Muleshoe Ranch. He dug a well, built a large ranchhouse and built a log schoolhouse. Gradually, Black purchased more land, and by the time of his death in 1906, the Muleshoe Ranch covered 10,000 acres. Black owned another 20,000 acres, much of which was rented to tenant farmers (see FARM TENANCY). After his death the land was divided among his wife and children, and the Muleshoe Ranch was the inheritance for his sons William and Jack. They established on the ranch the first dipping vat in the county. William continued to buy land around the ranch; he raised cattle, horses, cotton, and grain. From 1940 to 1965 William's daughter Sybil and her husband, B. H. Trammell, operated William's portion of the Muleshoe Ranch. On July 20, 1944, the original brand was officially transferred to their daughter, Patricia (Trammell) Swanson. In 1978 the Muleshoe Ranch covered some 6,000 acres and was known as the Trammell-Swanson Muleshoe Ranch.