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The county was named for Peter James BAILEY, a young lawyer
from Tennessee who was killed during the Battle of the Alamo.
The western area of Texas was long a hunting ground for the tribes of the Plains Indians who, as late as the 1870's, hunted buffalo and camped in this area. The main watering and camping areas were along the Blackwater Draw which was spring fed.
The Texas Constitution of 1876 set aside three million acres of land to erect a new State Capitol. In 1879, Texas made a contract exchanging the three million acres, including Bailey County, for the construction of the present Capitol in Austin. The three million acres eventually became part of the sprawling XIT Ranch from which the Y-L and Muleshoe Ranches of Bailey County were formed in 1902. The first recorded cattle drive took place in 1882 when Tom Lynch drove his cattle from New Mexico to Spring Lake.
Muleshoe wasn't the first settlement in Bailey County. Hurley was the first and was located about three miles northwest of Muleshoe. Hurley was named for New Mexico political leader, Patrick J. Hurley
Muleshoe is the seat of Bailey County and is the center for marketing and shipping of High Plains Agricultural Products. Some special attractions are: Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge, founded in 1935, oldest national wildlife refuge in Texas. Established principally for migratory waterfowl, also home of native wildlife. Three small rainwater lakes, unusual features on the plains, attract birds. Hunting is prohibited, but photography is allowed. Among species wintering here is the nation's largest concentration of sand hill cranes. A colony of prairie dogs is along the entrance road.
About 20 miles south on Texas 214 is the National Mule Memorial - what better place for a monument to mules than this uniquely named town. Mules pulled the covered wagons west, plowed the first sod for pioneers, hauled freight, built the first railroads and highways. With the disappearance of mules from the American scene in recent decades, a group of Texas citizens determined to erect a memorial to those unsung beasts. Donations for the monument were received from throughout the nation; in fact , one donation of 21 cents was sent by a mule driver from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, U.S.S.R. The memorial, unveiled on July 4, 1965, is near the intersection of State 70 and 84, in downtown Muleshoe. It is a popular picture taking site. Today wagons and mule teams can still be seen on Muleshoe's main streets and Mule Day is celebrated the 2nd. Saturday in August, hosting Mule Rodeo, races and other activities.