From Big Spring we now turn eastwards, heading into West Central Texas. We pass through Howard and Mitchell Counties before crossing over into Nolan County after just over 50 miles. The county was named after Philip Nolan, an American trader who visited Texas during the Spanish colonial period.
Like most counties in the region, Nolan County, total population 15,000, was established in 1876 although it was not organised until 1881.
There were no “Anglo” settlers in the area until after the Civil War, when large ranches, dealing with both cattle and sheep, began to be set up. Farming became important in the early 20th century and by 1930 cotton was a major crop.
While ranching and agriculture remain important, the county is today renowned as a major centre for wind power and has some of the biggest wind farms in the world. It is said that Nolan County produces more wind power than the entire state of California !
In our song today Charlie Daniels leaves Sweetwater, Nolan County’s seat, with his girl, heading for the bright lights. But, just as in the song “Streets of Baltimore”, he loses her to the big city and ends up longing for home.
“It was thundering and lightning when we left Nolan County
And the bus rolled along through the night
And old thirty-six was a magic black demon
Leading towards the city’s bright lights”