Kinsearching August 30, 2009




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

     As this history of early Spur and its citizens heads toward its conclusion, a few selected items from The Texas Spur newspaper continue to cast light on the town's beginnings. (For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.)


     Editor Oran McClure lauded Spur's dynamic growth in his newspaper's headlines: "A Town Within Thirty Days...Population Exceeding Seven Hundred." (3 Dec 1909, v. 1, no. 6, p. 1) The town also received praise from previous residents of the region. For example, "Marshall NELSON, of Young country, was here Tuesday and Wednesday, looking after business matters. Mr. NELSON formerly worked on the Spur ranch years ago and was very much surprised at the wonderful changes now being made in the old cattle range." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 2)

     Visitors sometimes proclaimed enthusiasm for the town's vibrancy to readers in other newspapers. Supportive news from those outside sources was then reproduced in the Spur paper. The Avoca Telegram, for instance, published this item: "Mr. J. OLSON returned Wednesday night from Spur where he had attended the opening of that town which he described as being peculiarly wonderful. He got there too late to purchase property at first sale but secured the agency reselling some. This town is being built by the same syndicate that has made Stamford what it is. They seem to be up on the art of building towns." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 4)

     (Editor's Note: For more information about town building, see the articles "Stamford, Texas" and "Stamford and Northwestern Railroad" in the online or printed edition of The New Handbook of Texas. The Stamford and Northwestern Townsite Company was involved in the telephone company dispute mentioned in Kinsearching column dated 23 August 2009. More material about the Luzon Telephone Company named in the controversy can be found on page 56 of Fred Arrington's book, A HISTORY OF DICKENS COUNTY: RANCHES AND ROLLING PLAINS, published in 1971 in Quanah, Texas, by Nortex Offset Publications, Inc.)

     To maintain its expansion, Spur also required the acclaim of the area's inhabitants. The article, "Farming in Spur Country," tells about Mr. J. J. CLOUD, "who lives three and a half miles northwest of Spur. Mr. Cloud has lived only one year in the Spur country, and notwithstanding the disadvantage with respect to agricultural pursuits in the greater part of the state, he is well pleased with his home in this section and will become permanently located as one of our citizenship...." (29 Oct 1909, p. 3, c. 4)

     Although they do not play as big a role today as they did in the past, the importance of railroads in the settlement and enduring success of towns like Spur should not be underestimated. Besides bringing people and supplies, the "rails" helped to establish and sustain a variety of markets. Located in ranching country, Spur served as a transportation hub for livestock.

     "During the past ten days it is reported that more than one hundred and twenty cars of cattle have been shipped to market from the town of Spur. It is further stated that more than another hundred cars have been ordered for immediate use in the shipment of cattle within the next few days. Traffic over the new Stamford & Northwestern railroad has been immense since the track was laid. This road is said to have the best roadbed of other lines of railroad in West Texas...." (29 Oct 1909, p. 1, c. 5)

     "A large shipment of cattle was made recently out of Spur by the Half Circle S. Ranch." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 1)

(To be continued)

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