Olton, on U.S. Highway 70 and Farm Road 168, twenty miles northeast of Littlefield in northeast Lamb County, was settled around 1900 by Harry Baughn, T. F. Brown, and Luther Williams on state land surrounded by the C. C. Slaughter ranch.
As the first town in the county, it became the county seat when the county was organized in 1908. In 1903 A. B. Powell started the first store and post office in his home three miles from the present townsite; he named the community for either a son or an early preacher. The post office changed location in 1904, 1905, and 1908. In 1908 it was moved to T. F. Brown's home, an old Slaughter ranch windmill.
The Burro school, so named because a herd of burros froze to death beside it in a blizzard, was established in 1903 and moved to Olton in 1908. The population of Olton was seventy-five in 1910. L. L. Kyle published the Olton Enterprise beginning in 1926.
When the town was incorporated in 1930 it had a population of 300, three cotton gins, and other businesses. The population was 782 in 1940. The citizens of Littlefield tried repeatedly to make their larger town county seat-in 1929, 1932, and 1937-before succeeding in 1946. Despite this setback Olton continued to grow. Its population reached 1,917 in 1960.
In 1965 a low-cost housing project was built, and in 1966 the town had four schools, thirteen churches, a bank, a hospital, a library, and a newspaper. The number of businesses was seventy-eight in 1970, when the population was 1,782. The 1980 population was 2,235. In 1990 it was 2,116. The population was 2,288 in 2000.