In the spring of 1891, merchants R.L. Stringfellow and H.E. Hume of nearby Estacado founded the town of Emma, named in honor of Stringfellow's future wife, Emma Savior (or Sevall). The two men organized a general store and laid out the townsite, which opened with a picnic and town lots sale.
In the fall of that year, the county seat was moved from Estacado to Emma; residents dismantled the Estacado courthouse and moved it piece by piece to its new site on Emma's town square. Along with the courthouse came many of Estacado's businesses, including the Crosby County News, edited by J.W. Murray. Land speculators, including Julian Bassett of C.B. Livestock Co. and John R. Ralls, founder of the town of Ralls, also came to the area.
During the next two decades, Emma experienced a boom. By 1910, the town had several hundred residents, supporting a post office, the Meyer Hotel and a school. That year, however, the South Plains Railroad bypassed the community by approximately five miles, traveling from Lubbock to Crosbyton. Later, Ralls became an additional stop along the railway. County residents voted in a disputed election to move the county seat to Crosbyton. Soon most of Emma's residences and businesses were moved to Crosbyton and Ralls; the old courthouse was hauled to Cedric, where it served as housing and was eventually
Although the area around Emma is still agricultural, the former county seat quickly became a ghost town as residents moved to other communities. Today, the Emma Cemetery is the only remaining link to the men and women who once inhabited the town.