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Kent County TX
Kent County
Hotels

CLAIREMONT, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Former Kent County Seat, Texas Panhandle

33° 9' 59" N, 100° 45' 9" W (33.166389, -100.7525)
Highway 380 and 208
14 miles SW of Jayton
43 miles E of Post
32 miles N of Snyder
61 miles NW of Sweetwater
85 miles SE of Lubbock
Population: 15 (1990, 2000)

Clairemont, Texas Area Hotels:
Post Hotels | Snyder Hotels
Remains of the former Kent County Courthouse in Clairemont, Texas
The former Kent County Courthouse is the community center today.
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, Nov. 2003
History in a baking soda tin:

Clairemont was the county seat in 1892 when Kent County was organized. A red sandstone courthouse and jail were constructed three years later. Kent County’s initial map was one of the ones drawn by draftsman William Porter (later O. Henry) when he was working at the Texas General Land Office.
Kent County map by O. Henry
Kent County’s initial map drawn by draftsman William Porter (later O. Henry) when he was working at the Texas General Land Office
Photo courtesy Texas General Land Office
R. L. Rhomberg owned the land that became Clairemont therefore had a say in the naming of the town. He named it after a relative named Claire Becker.

A post office was granted by postal authorities in December 1892.

In 1909 the Stamford and Northwestern Railroad bypassed Clairemont, but surprisingly the town didn’t shrivel and die as did most bypassed towns.

The population, like most of West Texas, had always been slight. The 30s and 40s had about 150 people calling the town home. It had doubled by the 1950s. As the county seat, and with five businesses thriving, Claiemont’s future looked bright.

But water was scarce and oil companies moved to richer fields. Then came a lengthy court battle over an election where Jayton (who had more water) became county seat in 1954.

The courthouse burned shortly after the county records were moved. To add insult to injury, a school consolidation finished the town for good. Without the county offices and the school, there was nothing for the town to do but head directly toward ghost town status.

The post office closed in 1970 when there were still thirty-five residents. Although several families lived near town, only Margie (Ma) Hart lived in the city proper – running the last business.
Former Kent County Courthouse, Clairemont, Texas
"The Courthouse burned on April 12, 1955, at about 9:00pm - 9:30pm." - J. J. Montgomery.
The second floor was destroyed by the fire.

1939 photo courtesy TXDoT
Clairemont Texas Kent County Jail
Photo courtesy Noel Kerns, September 2007
The Old Kent County Jail
Clairmont Jail

by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)

"...Named after Alamo defender Andrew Kent, the county was organized in 1892. A land dealer named R.L. Rhomberg donated a town site for a county seat named in honor of a young family member, Claire Becker. A two-story courthouse with an attic and cupola became the hub of a new community that soon featured all the amenities, from general store to post office to livery stable.... more"
A building in Clairemont, Texas
A building across the street from the old courthouse
Photo courtesy Erik Whetstone, Nov 2003

Clairemont Texas Forum
  • Subject: Clairemont, Texas
    In the early '60's, my Grandpa was living in the Sun Oil Camp in Clairemont, Texas, and we would go to visit. The camp was located just down a dirt road from Brady's store, and had five houses together for the pumpers to live in with their families. Each house had a small central yard that was free of grass burrs so that we little kids could run around, and a huge outer yard that was kept mowed, but was really just short weeds. Each house had a cattle guard in front and an elevated trash burning barrel in back. Grandma would often forget and burn a hairspray can, which would explode as high as 10 feet into the air. It was fun, but being West Texas, you had to watch for turtles, snakes and wasps. In 2003, I drove out to where I believed the camp was located. There was nothing left except for a single pump jack, but I knew that was where the camp had been... I remembered sleeping to the putt putt putt sound. Its all gone... the camp... Brady's Store...Grandpa... I miss them all. - Jim Scott Smith, Odessa, Texas, November 06, 2006

  • Subject: Clairemont, Texas
    Seeing a spot about Clairemont in the Forum brought to mind something that happened there back in the great drought of the '50s. Clairemont was, like many towns, running out of water. There was, however, a river nearby, and it was full of water. The city fathers decided to take advantage of that, and began pumping water for the town from the river. It seems they forgot which river it was. It was the Salt Fork of the Brazos. The Salt Fork lived up to its name. Within a year, nearly every house in Clairemont had to have its piping replaced. - C. F. Eckhardt, June 14, 2006

  • Subject: Clairemont, Texas
    No story about Clairemont would be complete without mentioning the County Jail that still stands (2006). It was probably one of the first jails that allowed the jailers to unlock or lock several cells at once from a single mechanical lever. During the 1960's my family use to go to Clairemont to have a picnic so we could play in the old jail. There was also a fire engine in a building beside the jail that was used by the county to fight grass fires. We lived 38 miles away in Snyder. Of course Ma Hart ran the store up until the late 1980's or early 1990's. The store served as a place for the oil workers, ranchers and occasional tourist to stop and have a cold Coke and buy gas. She was a sweet lady, that always met you with a smile. The store also served as a bus stop for a short while. - Richard Chambers, Snyder, Texas, June 11, 2006

  • I have a history book that was written about Kent County and its people. It states that first Commissioner's Court was held out in the open on November 16,1892. - Dale McFadin, August 19, 2003

  • TX Kent  County 1920s map
    1920s Kent County map showing Clairement and Jayton
    From Texas state map #10749
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

    Take a road trip

    Clairemont, Texas Nearby Towns:
    Jayton | Lubbock | Post | Snyder | Sweetwater
    See Kent County | Texas Panhandle

    Book Hotel Here:
    Post Hotels | Snyder Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

     


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