Potter County is one of 254 counties in the state of Texas. It was organized in 1876 when the area was still uninhabited and before H.B. Sanborn and Joseph Glidden fenced 250,000 acres for the Frying Pan ranch. The county seat was formed in 1887 when about sixty cowboys were given lots in Oneida (Amarillo) where the Fort Worth & Denver and the Santa Fe Railways met, thereby making them property owners and partisans in the county seat election.
Potter County was named for a fugitive cardshark named Robert Potter because of his service to the Republic of Texas. Before coming to Texas he had served as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy; he had become a lawyer; and he had served in the North Carolina legislature and the U.S. House of Representatives. He wrote poems too.
County Courthouse, 1916
In 1831 he was fined and jailed for assaulting two men he suspected were
too friendly with his wife. He conducted his election campaign for the
North Carolina Legislature while in jail. He won but was thrown out of
office for "playing a game of cards unfairly". His expulsion from public
office propelled him westward--to Texas.
The quality of life in the county is characterized by a strong sense of
community that is strengthened by a rural lifestyle. Assets of the
county identified by residents include: peace and quiet; friendliness of
the people; wonderful local produce and foods; terrific weather; and
rural setting where you can still see the stars.
County Library, 1923
In 1900 the county was an agriculturally based society. Rapid population growth has occurred in and around the city of Amarillo, and in the southern part of the county. Amarillo is also the home of Amarillo College as well as Canyon the home of West Texas A&M University.
The primary areas of growth will be in the Amarillo metropolitan area and the southern part of Potter County.