Vernon is a city in Wilbarger County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population was 11,660; it was 11,077 in the 2005 census estimate. Vernon is the county seat of Wilbarger County. Vernon is the birthplace of rock and roll singer/musician Roy Orbison and jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden. It is the hometown of fiddle player Eck Robertson and country singer Kaye Adams. Lawyer Kenneth Starr was born in 1946 in the Lockett community, six miles southwest of Vernon. Some seven million head of cattle passed through Vernon on the Great Western Trail between 1873 and the 1890s. The trail was located some ninety miles west and parallel to the better-known Chisholm Trail. On April 10, 1979, Vernon and surrounding Wilbarger County were hit by an F4 tornado. The storm, part of the 1979 Red River Valley tornado outbreak, damaged or destroyed a large part of the city and killed 11 people as it passed through Foard County and Wilbarger County before finally dissipating in rural Tillman County, Oklahoma. That same day, tornadoes also devastated the larger, nearby cities of Wichita Falls, Texas and Lawton, Oklahoma.