Lamesa (pronounced "la-MEE-sa", "la-MEE-suh") is a city in and the county seat of Dawson County, Texas, United States. The population was 9,952 at the 2000 census. Located south of Lubbock on the Llano Estacado, Lamesa was founded in 1903. Most of the economy is based on cattle and cotton. The Preston E. Smith prison unit, named for the former governor of Texas, is located just outside of Lamesa. A branch of Howard College, a community college in Big Spring, is located in Lamesa.