Maple Methodist Church

Maple, named for Maple Wilson, an early settler, is on Farm Road 596 in southern Bailey County.  This is almost a “blink and you miss it town”, for not much exists there anymore.  It was established after local ranches were subdivided for farms its post office opened in 1926. In 1940 Maple had six businesses, a school, and 600 residents.

Bailey County is a part of the Southern High Plains and has an altitude of 3,800 to 4,400 feet above mean sea level.  The county was marked off from Bexar County in 1876 and named for Peter J. Bailey, an Alamo hero.  Settlement of Bailey County did not come early, since the XIT Ranch held most of its land from 1882 until the division and sale of the ranch in 1901.  Bailey County land fell within the Spring Lake, Yellow House, and Bovina divisions of the XIT.

A severe drought in 1910 drove away many of these early settlers, but others moved in to take their places, particularly after the Santa Fe Railroad extended its tracks through the county in 1913. Hoping to establish a taxing authority that could provide schools and roads for the area, residents decided to organize the county. They raised $1,500 to send delegates to Austin to lobby for a revision of the minimum county-voter requirement to seventy-five. Despite the opposition of ranchmen who feared that organization would bring taxation, the delegates succeeded.

During the 1920s and 1930s new conditions helped to transform the county’s economy from ranching to farming.  Ground water was discovered at depths of twenty to forty feet, and large ranches were broken up and sold as farm tracts.  While many of the new farmers grew wheat, corn, and forage crops, a rapid expansion of cotton farming was responsible for much of the development of the county during these years.  It has been said that Bailey County “is one of the few areas in the United States that can produce varying crops such as cotton, wheat, corn, grain, sorghum, soybeans, castor beans, hay, peanuts, cabbage, lettuce, peas, and beans.” About 40 percent of agricultural receipts derive from livestock. Manufacturing income in 1980 was almost $2 million, from farm tools.

REFERENCE:  “MAPLE, TX (BAILEY COUNTY),” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlm25), accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association; and William R. Hunt and John Leffler, “BAILEY COUNTY,” Handbook of Texas Online, (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcb01), accessed December 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.