Kinsearching April 12, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     This week we continue the early history of Spur, as told through selected items from the town's newspaper, The Texas Spur. (For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.)


     Since Spur is located in what is sometimes called the "Bible Belt," religion naturally played an important part in community life. As a significant number of people gathered in the town, ministers of various denominations soon started preaching at temporary sites.

    The 15 March 2009 "Kinsearching" column, for example, mentioned that Rev. H. M. SMITH of Abilene held services for Presbyterians in the school house, which was also where the Baptists met to worship. "Rev. S. P. CLEMMONS, of the South Panhandle Baptist Association, will conduct services at the school house Friday and Saturday night and Sunday morning. Temporary seats have been arranged...and song books will be furnished." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 2) Perhaps the following also occurred at the school house: "Rev. W. E. HODGES, missionary evangelist of the Stonewall Association, will preach at Spur the second Sunday and night of each month." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 5)
     (Editor's Note: Hodges was Baptist.)

     As visiting pastors performed church services wherever they could find a suitable place, more permanent houses of worship were being built in the new town. "Carpenters are now at work erecting a large tabernacle (sic) on the block south of the school house for the methodist (sic) people." (31 Dec 1909, p. 1, c. 4)

     Religion and politics are two words that are often said in the same breath. Both are subjects that require a certain amount of the population to support them in order to succeed. Because so many people were assembling in the new town, Spur was a logical place to seek backing for a cause. For instance, "Crawford COBB, editor of the Dickens Item, was in Spur Monday to attend the opening of Spur and sale of town lots. Mr. COBB informs us that he will be a candidate for County and District attorney (sic) of Dickens county (sic) in the coming election." (12 Nov 1909, p. 2, c. 5)
     (Editor's Note: The Dickens Item was the newspaper published in the town of Dickens, the county seat.)

(To be continued)

     The National Orphan Train Complex (NOTC) in Concordia, KS, is scheduling its last "firing" of bricks to be placed in the courtyard of the Morgan Dowell Research Center, which is committed to preserving artifacts and stories of persons who participated in the orphan train movement during the years 1854 - 1929. If you would like to have a brick engraved as a lasting memory to an individual, business, club, or church, now is the time to do so. The project provides a great opportunity to honor "orphan train riders" for future generations. Each brick sells for $25 and will have two lines of engraving. For more information, write to NOTC, P. O. Box 322, Concordia, KS 66901-0322, call 785-243-4471, go to the website at, or e-mail

     Anyone interested in the orphan train movement may want to support the complex. Annual membership dues are $25, which include a subscription to the quarterly Crossroads Newsletter, three free hours of research, and a 10 percent discount on items purchased from the museum gift shop. At the NOTC website, you can also sign up for a free e-mail newsletter. For contact details, see the above paragraph.

     On 30 May 2009, the third annual Foundations of Pointe Coupée Community Series will take place at the Julien Poydras Center in New Roads, LA. The theme will be "Spanish Colonial Foundations of Pointe Coupée: 1769 - 1800." Program topics will be "front-porch" stories in English and French that illustrate life in the area during the Spanish colonial era and translated correspondence from the Cuban Papers. Special guest speaker will be the Rev. LaVerne "Pike" Thomas III, who will discuss his reprint of LeDoux: A Pioneer Franco American Family. A reception for Pointe Coupée colonial family descendants will follow. Admission to the forum is $25 and $10 to the reception. For more details, go to the website at, e-mail, or call 970-988-1890.

Kinsearching Home Page