ON THE PERRY TRAIL IN HASKELL COUNTY
It’s 6 o’clock, a Tuesday evening in the North Texas town of Haskell, and the Dollar General is doing a landslide business. A block away the town square and the county courthouse, a gothic, three-story affair that has dominated the town’s civic life since the 1890s, sit in a twilight gloom. The stores are shuttered, the sidewalks empty, the shopkeepers gone home to their satellite TVs and computer screens. Some merchants have left for good—boarded up their doors, covered their plate-glass windows with last year’s Christmas wrapping—and headed for the bright lights of Dallas, San Antonio, or Houston. Though drought is rapidly squeezing out the county’s remaining farmers and each day brings the prospect of another business shutting down, one thing hasn’t changed since the post-Civil War days: The Democrats, or more precisely, the Yellow Dog Democrats, are still in control of Haskell County, and they aim to keep it that way.
Published in The Texas Observer