Kinsearching July 19, 2009




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

     Since we presented data about Spur's first businesses in previous installments, Cindi Taylor's article on pages 1 and 2 of the 2 July 2009 issue of The Texas Spur is timely. Titled "Spur's Early Growth, Prosperity due to Vibrant Business Community," it mentions several businesses and people whose names have appeared in this series. Examples include Dr. T. H. BLACKWELL, Brazelton-Pryor Lumber Company, Bryant-Link Company, E. J. COWAN, C. A. JONES, Oran MCCLURE, Dr. MORRIS, Spur National Bank, The Texas Spur, and the Western Hotel. (For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.) We continue below with the early history of the town and its citizens as taken from selected items in various issues of the newspaper, The Texas Spur.


     Although some of Spur's first citizens came from East Texas or from other states, the majority were from counties (including Dickens) in the West Texas region. The newspaper referred to a few individuals as "old timers." If they had lived in the region for only a couple of decades, they were "old timers" according to West Texas standards.
     (Editor's Note: The term "old timer" may have different interpretations, depending on the section of the country where one resided. This is especially true when the term refers to the length of time Anglo settlers have been in a particular place. An "old timer" in Oregon, for example, may not have lived in that state as long as an "old timer" who dwelled in Virginia because the states were settled in different eras. The West Texas region was the last area of the Lone Star State to be settled permanently. Comanches dominated the terrain until they were defeated by Col. Ronald S. McKenzie and his troops in the 1870s. Although the Texas legislature created counties in the region in the mid-1870s, few people moved into the western section of Texas due to its remoteness and lack of plentiful rainfall. Cheap land attracted some enterprising pioneers in the 1880s. Encompassing large quantities of acreage, ranches sprang up and their owners developed the cattle industry into big business. Population, however, grew slowly until the early 1900s when farming began to play a bigger part in the area's economy and railroads, expanding into the region, made transportation of people and products easier.)

     For instance, "W. A. one of the old timers of this section, having settled his place in the Red Mud country about twenty years ago. He has the distinction of being one of the citizens who assisted in the organization of both Dickens and Kent counties and says this country will produce at least fifty per cent better to day (sic) than when first settled...." (4 Nov 1910, p. 1, c. 2)
     (Editor's Note: W. A. SMITH is also mentioned in Kinsearching column dated 15 March 2009.)

     "J. B. CONNER, of near an old timer of this country, having been with the Spur ranch a number of years...." (29 Oct 1909, p. 2, c. 5).
     (Editor's Note: CONNER is also mentioned in Kinsearching column dated 1 March 2009. Additional information on the Spur ranch appears in Kinsearching column dated 17 May 2009.)

     Despite the enthusiastic headline of the 12 Nov 1909 issue of the newspaper, some individuals did not get to become involved with the new town. (To read the headline, see Kinsearching column dated 12 July 2009.) A number of people would have become inhabitants or established a business in Spur if they had been able to buy lots on opening day.

     "Mr. GREEN, of Swenson, was here last week to buy lots on which to build a livery business, but not being here soon enough, failed to secure the lots." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 5)

     "Sil HARCROW, of Rotan, was in Spur several days last week for the purpose of securing lots and putting in a livery business. He came too late to secure lots from the Townsite Company, and not feeling disposed to pay a premium to any of those who were more fortunate in securing lots, he left with the intention of seeking a location elsewhere." (12 Nov 1909, p. 2, c. 5)

     "John CARTER, a member of the firm of Carter Bros., of Roby, and one of the most prominent men of Fisher county (sic), was in Spur last week for the purpose of buying lots and establishing a business at this place. However, Mr. CARTER arrived after the lots had all been sold and returned empty-handed." (12 Nov 1909, p. 2, c. 5)

     Despite the ardent spirit of the booming town, several persons decided not to become permanent residents. A year after Spur was founded, they had moved elsewhere. For example, "R. L. HOLLEY, formerly a citizen of Spur but now of near Girard, was in the city Saturday shaking hands with his friends and trading with the merchants. Mr. Holley says that he is now winding up his cotton picking and that most of the farmers of that section, are now making the last picking of the season. He says he made several bales of cotton and also plenty of feed to run him." (4 Nov 1910, p. 1, c. 4)
    (Editor's Note: "Run him" is an expression meaning that he has enough to get him through the year.)

(To be continued)

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