History in a Pecan
ShellThe town (Cochran
County’s first) was built by C. C. Slaughter in anticipation of the railroad’s
arrival. The town was originally named after Slaughter’s daughter-in-law’s family
name (Ligon). It wasn’t until 1923 when the town was platted.
have been many county seat rivalries in Texas history, but the fight for the Cochran
County seat of government was more personal than most. It was between mega-rancher
C.C. Slaughter and his former land agent Morton Smith. Slaughter had the site
of Ligon while Smith had founded his own town of Morton,
only four miles north.
(See 1940s Cochran
County Vintage Map)
won the election held in March of 1923, but it wasn’t as simple as that. Slaughter
had the clout to challenge the vote and demand a new election conducted ten months
later. Morton was again
declared the winner.
When the railroad (the South Plains and Santa Fe)
finally arrived, it bypassed both Ligon and Morton. It went four miles south of
Ligon – near enough to consider moving the town – which was done. The new town
didn’t see the need to honor anyone’s daughter-in-law, so they named it Lehman
after one of their own – general manager Frank A. Lehman.
The Ligon school
was one of the buildings moved, however it was only used while a larger brick
school was constructed.
In the mid 1930s, Lehman only had a few businesses,
the school and the post office – and a mere 10 residents. It grew to an estimated
100 by 1940.
In 1945 a federal program called The Lehman Project settled
veterans onto subdivided properties that the government had bought. Although the
project was deemed a success – it didn’t last. Despite two major investments in
a gasoline plant and a sulphur plant, the community declined. An estimated population
in the early 1980s was 15 which has since declined to only eight – making Lehman
a ghost town, but a populated ghost town.
Cochran County map showing Lehman|
(Under "R" in "C-O-C-H-R-A-N")
Texas General Land Office