Sunray, Texas was founded by Jack C. Collins. He was born in Hartley, Texas in 1893, and moved to Channing, Texas with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E.S. Collins. Jack Collins graduated from Channing High School and later, in 1916, from Texas A&M College where he was class valedictorian and class president in his senior year. Later he served for several years as cashier of the First National Bank of Channing while extending his own and his family’s ranch holdings. Mr. Collins was well-known and respected in ranching and financial circles and was a ranking member of the Republican Party for several years.
Jack Collins didn’t call the town “Sunray” when he laid it out in 1930. The first lots were sold at $10 each under the name, “Altman”, but it was discovered that a town in Rusk County had already appropriated that name, hence, the name “Sunray” was used. A Post Office was applied for on May 5, 1930, using the name “Altman”, but because of the duplication “Sunray” was not approved until 1935.
The change to the name, “Sunray”, came because Sunray Oil Company set up a gas-oil refinery near the town on 10 acres of land originally donated by Mr. Collins to Dana Oil & Gas Royalty Company. Sunray Oil Company bought the holdings of Dana in the early Jones field in northeast Moore County which was near the new town. The townsite location was determined by a new Rock Island Railroad route running from Dalhart to Morse along the northern edge of Mr. Collins’ townsite survey. At the time the town was 3 miles from the Jones Well and 6 miles from the Morton oil well—both early oil-gas discoveries in Moore County.
At the age of 44 Jack Collins was killed when both front tires blew out from the car in which he was returning from a Christmas holiday trip to San Antonio. He died several hours later in a Plainview hospital on December 30, 1937.
There were 688 households out of which 45.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.7% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.8% were non-families. 20.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the city the population was spread out with 33.8% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,026, and the median income for a family was $36,813. Males had a median income of $31,141 versus $18,077 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,656. About 11.5% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.
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