Kinsearching August 9, 2009




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

     Individuals who plan to attend the 22 August 2009 commemorative activities of the Battle of Medina may want to read Gary Cartwright's "Ghosts of War." Appearing in the April 2009 issue of Texas Monthly, the article includes a section (pages 137-139) about this often overlooked battle. For more information about the upcoming ceremony and history seminar, see Kinsearching column dated 2 August 2009.

     This week the early history of the town of Spur and its citizens comes from page 1, column 5, of the 24 December 1909 (vol. 1, no. 9) issue of the newspaper, The Texas Spur. (For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.)


     In a short span of time, Spur grew in size and population. Basic town services needed to be established quickly. Taking the initiative was a group of concerned citizens who formed the Commercial Club of Spur. The organization met on Tuesday night, December 20, in Lambdin & Company's store. Officers and committees were soon formed.

     "T. B. GRIFFIN was made chairman for the night. Frank B. ST. JOHN was selected as Secretary protem. On motion a committee consisting of M. A. BAKER, Y. L. JONES, and H. J. DeFORD, was appointed to confer with W. M. BLACKWELL and employ him as night watchman for the business houses for ten days, beginning December 21. The committee to receive funds by subscription to pay the night watchman."

     (Editor's Note: Information about Lambdin & Company appears in Kinsearching column dated 21 June 2009. Frank B. St. John may be the same St. John listed in Kinsearching column dated 15 March 2009. Also named in the 15 March column are N. A. Baker and W. N. Blackwell. Could they possibly be the same men as M. A. Baker and W. M. Blackwell mentioned above?)

     "A motion requesting Justice COWAN to prepare and have printed a circular giving the law concerning the use of fireworks and asking the aid of the people in carrying out the law was carried.

     C. A. JONES, E. J. COWAN, and J. M. BENNETT were appointed by the chair, on montion (sic), as a committee to ask the commissioners' court of Dickens county to build a calaboose in Spur."

     (Editor's Note: C. A. Jones is mentioned in Kinsearching dated 28 June 2009. For more information about E. J. Cowan, see Kinsearching dated 1 March 2009. A "calaboose" is slang for "jail.")

     "The committee on streets and alleys reported having employed a scavenger and that they had pledged more than $20 per month for the payment. He is to collect 50 cents each time he attends to the cleaning of a closet and to be paied (sic) for hauling trash from stores, restaurants, etc."

     (Editor's Note: A "scavenger" seemed to carry out some of the same functions as today's sanitation worker. In this context, could "closet" refer to a "water closet" or "toilet?")

     "The committee to secure a cotton buyer, made a favorable report and was discharged from further duty."

     (Editor's Note: The town's securing a cotton buyer reflected the twentieth-century shift in cotton production from East and Central Texas to West Texas. Farmers sold their ginned cotton to buyers. The article, "Cotton Ginning" on page 356 of THE HANDBOOK OF TEXAS, VOLUME 2 (Austin: The Texas State Historical Association, 1996) explains the role of the buyers. "Cotton buyers cut samples from bales and classed the cotton according to grade, staple length, color, and character (smoothness and cleanliness). Classing determined the quality and thus the value of the cotton. Once the value and price were established, farmers settled their accounts with merchants and bankers. Tenants and sharecroppers settled their accounts with the landowner.")

     After the conclusion of business, the club enrolled two new members: Sam CLEMMONS, book-keeper for Swenson & Sons, and F. W. JENNINGS, book-keeper for Miller Lumber Company.

     (Editor's Note: Information on Rev. S. P. CLEMMONS appears in Kinsearching dated 12 April 2009.)

     As mentioned above, one of the business items was to make arrangements for constructing a jail. Little did they know how soon that building would be needed.

(To be continued)

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