Seagraves, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 62/285 and State Highway 83, in northern Gaines County, was promoted in 1916–18 by the Spearman Land Company of the Santa Fe Railroad. The original settlers were the J. C. Sartin family, who arrived in 1905 with nearly 800 cattle.
Originally the town was called Blythe for the Blythe Ranch, on which the post office was located in 1911. A name change was mandated because the Santa Fe had a station named Blythe in California, so the town was named for Santa Fe official C. L. Seagraves in 1918, after a railroad extension to Lubbock in 1917 made it a cattle-shipping center. In 1928 the town suffered a disastrous fire, but with regional oil production beginning in 1936 it boomed considerably. Seagraves was incorporated in 1925 and 1928. In the 1930s the chamber of commerce adopted the slogan "The City that Oil Built," and in 1955 its letterheads featured "The Caged Egg Production Center of the World" to promote its egg industry. The population jumped from 505 to 3,225 between 1930 and 1940, then declined to 2,090 by 1950. Seagraves was the county's largest town until 1950, when it was surpassed by Seminole. In the late 1960s and early 1970s Seagraves established a housing authority for aged and low-income families with federal help through HUD funds. The Seagraves Progress, which published its first edition in April 1923, later became the Signal and in 1932 the Gaines County News.
Cedar Lake is seventeen miles southwest and attracts tourists. At the Seagraves-Loop Museum and Art Center, items used by early settlers are displayed; the museum sponsors an annual arts and crafts show. Seagraves is a market for a three-county area and has a carbon black plant, a sewing-machine factory, and a state mental-health clinic.
In 1980 the population was 2,596. In 1990 it was 2,398.