Stanton was settled in 1881 by German Catholics, and was originally named Marienfeld (field of Mary). As the seat of Martin County, organized in 1884, the town's name was changed in 1890 to honor Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton. Carmelites opened monastery in 1882, and when the monks left in 1894, the Sisters of Mercy established a convent-boarding school that educated 2,000 students until most of the school was destroyed by a tornado in 1938. Abandoned structures remain on North Convent St.
Stanton is a cotton, agribusiness and oil center.