Once located about 15 miles north of Lovington in the northern part of Lea County, this settlement grew up about 1907 as settlers began to move west into the territory. It was once called Rat, for Rat Mill, after what is described as a watering place, perhaps the location of a windmill. Rat Mill itself is believed to have been named after the RAT brand of early settler Bud Ratliff. It had a post office from about 1907 to 1929, a newspaper and several free standing buildings but was later abandoned in favor of other communities.(1) Not to be confused with the still existing town of the same name in Texas, the name Plainview is believed to be descriptive, based on the flat geography of the area.
At this time, not much is known about Bud Ratliff nor which other families he may have been connected to, if any. He is mentioned in several books about the area and generally referred to as an early resident. The name Bud probably was a nickname. It could possibly relate to Harvey Stewart “Bud” Ratliff (1857-1943), a long time rancher in Ector County, Texas, but from at least about 1910 on, this Bud Ratliff is mostly associated with a ranch near Odessa, Texas. Another Ratliff family, the John Ratliff family, is listed on various sources as having homesteaded in Lea County a few years later, around 1914, but they do not appear to be related to the person who went by the name Bud Ratliff.
(1) Mobley, May Price, “Little Texas Beginnings – In Southeastern New Mexico,” Hall-Poorbaugh Press, Inc. 1973.