Carson County Historical Markers

Carson County Historical Markers

Jackson General Store, White Deer

Marker Location: On corner of Highway 60 and Main Street, White Deer.

Year Marker Erected: 1967

Marker Text: Oldest business house in White Deer. Moved in 1908 to present location, from old White Deer original townsite, where it was the only supply center for early settlers. Property of J.C. Jackson, Carson County Judge, 1935-1941; Precinct 4 County Commissioner, 1947-1965.

John A. Holmes (1886-1929), Panhandle

Marker Location: 6th Street about 12 blocks east of Main Street, Panhandle Cemetery, Panhandle

Year Marker Erected: 1967

Marker Text: Born in Mississippi; received law degree from University of Texas. Became County Attorney of Roberts County. Elected District Attorney of 31st Judicial District in 1922. In 1928, appointed District Attorney of 84th District by Governor of Texas to relentlessly prosecute criminals who infested oil fields during Borger's boom years. Often threatened by gangsters, he was shot to death by gunmen at his home in Borger.

Last Great Panhandle Cattle Drive
to Montana, Panhandle

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Each spring and summer after 1880, many Texas herds went up the trail to Northern states for fattening. For the cowboys, trail drives meant hard work. They had to turn stampedes, ford rivers and quicksand streams, and fight Indians and cattle thieves. They endured hunger, thirst, and other physical hardships. The Last Great Texas Panhandle Drive was organized here at N Bar N (N-N) Headquarters. Ranch manager was J.L. Harrison; trail boss, T.L. (Tom) Coffee. 100 cowboys drove 10 herds, each with 2500 cattle, or a total of 25,000 beeves, to Montana from April to September 1892. The cattle belonged to Niedringhaus Brothers, German tinsmiths of St. Louis, who put into ranching a fortune made in enamel granite household wares. From 1882 to 1886, N Bar N leased range in Carson and neighboring counties from the Francklyn Land & Cattle Company, a British syndicate backed by Cunard Steamship Line. Afterward this range belonged to White Deer Land Company. The N Bar N outfit left here because White Deer Land Company wanted the range cleared of large herds. By 1907 the 650,000 acres of its land was offered for sale to small ranchers and farmers. It was fenced and the steam plow introduced to turn the rich, grassy sod.

Last Great Panhandle
Cattle Drive to Montana, White Deer

Marker Location: US 60, E. City Limits, White Deer.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: (same as text given above)

Methodism in Panhandle, Panhandle

Marker Location: 600 Main Street, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1990

Marker Text: The town of Panhandle became an important stronghold for Methodism in this part of Texas in the late 19th Century. The county's first congregation was the Northern Methodist, established in 1889. It was attended by residents of all faiths. A Southern Methodist congregation was organized in 1903, and both churches served as community gathering places. The two congregations merged in 1919 and eventually became the First United Methodist Church of Panhandle. Methodists in Panhandle have maintained a strong community involvement.

Old County Bookmobile,
First "Inside Service" Bookmobile in Texas, Panhandle

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets (fronting Elsie), SH 207, at Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1967

Marker Text: In use 1938-1957. Based at the county library on this site. A bright red, visible for miles, this first Bookmobile in Texas was called "The Library Bus." It stopped at ranches, schools, oil camps; circulated 2,000 books a month; served in era of sparse settlement, World War II growth and later industrialization. There were private and rental libraries in early Texas; the Republic had a National Library, but most county libraries were founded or instigated by local citizens--as was this pioneer Bookmobile. Texas still has 51 Bookmobiles in other counties.

Oldest Bank in the Texas Panhandle, Panhandle

Marker Location: 3rd Street and Euclid Street intersection, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Second commercial bank opened in the Panhandle of Texas. Oldest in continuous service. Founded by James Christopher Paul, pupil of Sam Houston's son, lawyer Temple Houston. Early settlers throughout the High Plains area were among the first depositors. On May 6, 1927, during great oil boom, Judge Paul and associates opened a second bank, the First National. On December 31, 1942, the two merged. Many present accounts are held by heirs of early depositors. A son of Judge Paul still serves on the Board of Directors.

Panhandle, Panhandle

Marker Location: 117 South Main, Panhandle (in front of Police Station).

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: In 1880s, capital of Panhandle area. Settled when slaughter of buffalo sent Indians to live on reservations. Terminus of Santa Fe Railway, 1887. Here immigrant trains brought colonists, who plowed old Indian range into wheat fields and civilization. Settlers banked here, saw the dentist, got supplies, lumber, mail, windmills, fencing. Was made county seat when Carson County was organized in 1888. Nearby is site of first oil well in area, drilled 1921. Also nearby, Pantex Farms of Texas Technological University, on site of World War II Ordnance Plant.

Panhandle Cemetery, Panhandle

Marker Location: 6th Street about 12 blocks east of intersection with Main Street, Panhandle

Year Marker Erected: 1990

Marker Text: The oldest documented graves in this cemetery date to 1889, three years after the founding of Carson City (later renamed Panhandle), the first town in the county. Among those buried here are Civil War veterans and area pioneer families. Gravestone designs range from simple to elaborate, and the cemetery also contains many unmarked graves. The Panhandle Cemetery has also served people in surrounding communities. Additional land acquisitions have increased the size of the graveyard over the years, and a small chapel was built in 1965.

Panhandle Herald

Marker Location: 319 Main Street, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Published since 1887. Oldest newspaper in the Texas Panhandle, second oldest business in the area. Founded by H.H. Brookes. Principal owner 1926-58, David M. Warren, oil man, banker, a Regent of the University of Texas. Don and Norene Peoples owners at 75th Anniversary. In Memoriam - David M. Warren (1894-1958) by Mrs. David M. Warren, David M. Warren, Jr., Randolph J. Warren.

Pioneer Dugout

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, at Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1967

Marker Text: In the 1874-1888 era the High Plains (a sea of grass) had no native timber, stone, or adobe building materials. Homes were dugouts, or, if settlers' wagons went some 300 miles for lumber, half-dugouts. Dugouts were warm in winter, cool in summer. Some were carpeted and cloth-lined. Some had an extra room, for the schoolteacher or other guests. The cooking and heating stoves burned buffalo chips, cow chips. This exact replica of a Carson County half-dugout was donated by Opal Purvines to honor her parents, the John F. Weatherlys, and other pioneer families.

Polish Settlers of White Deer, White Deer

Marker Location: FM 294 N (North Main Street), on grounds of Catholic Church, White Deer (2 blocks north of intersection with Highway 60).

Year Marker Erected: 1966

Marker Text: In 1854, 100 Polish families (800 persons) came to America in one small sailing ship--a voyage of 9 weeks. None spoke English. From Galveston they walked 200 miles to Panna Maria in South Texas, arriving for Christmas Eve Mass. There they toiled at manual labor. In 1909, in response to White Deer Land Co. offers, they migrated here. Later the colony had additions from Washington State, Nebraska, Wisconsin. Their first Catholic Church, completed May 13, 1913, was on this site. Today their descendants include some of the most outstanding citizens of Texas.

Purvines Ranch Home, Panhandle

Marker Location: Square House Museum, SH 207, 5th and Elsie Streets, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1964

Marker Text: Built 1906-08 in land of lumber scarcity by Carroll and Kate Purvines, (from Illinois) of cement blocks they made by hand, using local sand. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1964

State National Bank, Groom

Marker Location: 114 Main Street, Groom

Year Marker Erected: 1972

Marker Text: Founded in 1904 as a private bank by John Walter Knorpp (1867-1952), member of an established banking family of Missouri, New Mexico, and Texas, and Eugene Sherwood Blasdel (1878-1930), oil and grain business developer of this region. In 1905 Blasdel sold his interest to Knorpp. A state charter was obtained in 1908, but surrendered in 1926 for national charter. Patronage from diligent, thrifty early settlers advanced the career of this bank. On its Board of Directors have been members of the pioneer Britten, Fields, Fraser, Harrell, Johnson, Krizan, Slay, and Steele families. I.C. Unsell was cashier from 1908 to 1932. Cecil Culver (born 1903), who came to the bank in 1929 as assistant cashier, purchased the controlling interest from Knorpp and became president in 1951. Adjusting to the crises in the region, State National Bank weathered the panic of 1907, the adversities of the 1930s Dust Bowl, two World Wars, and other national and international experiences. It continues to bolster the cattle, grain, oil, beef feedlot, and other agribusiness interests, and the cultural facilities of Groom and surrounding area.

Temple Lea Houston
(August 12, 1860-August 15, 1905),

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, at Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1976

Marker Text: Born in the Texas Governor's Mansion, the eighth and last child of Sam Houston (1793-1863) and his wife Margaret; educated at Baylor University, Texas A&M, and in a law office, Temple Houston came in 1881 to this region as District Attorney for the 35th Judicial District. He married Laura Cross of Mobeetie, 1882. Tall and handsome, he resembled his father--a fact cited when he ran for the Texas Senate in 1884. He won, and was seated before reaching legal age for the office. While serving in the Senate, he built a home near "Panhandle City." During his two terms, he became a leader in spite of his youth, advancing legislation favorable to frontiersmen in this area. When a new capitol was dedicated in Austin in 1888, he made the major speech, taking pride that lands in the Panhandle had paid for the magnificent building. Amid the ovations of that day were pleas that he run for Governor or United States Congressman, but he declined. About 1893 he moved to Oklahoma and gained added fame as a lawyer and orator. Thus the fledgling of "The Raven" became a legend in his own time. He was the father of two daughters and three sons. The Oklahoma Historical Society has honored him by placing a marker at his grave in Woodward.

Terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad - Panhandle, Texas, Panhandle

Marker Location: On US 60, east city limits, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1968

Marker Text: Originally "Carson City", town name was changed 1887 when this site appeared to be the future metropolis of the Panhandle: it was to be at the junction of Santa Fe (under name "Southern Kansas") and Fort Worth & Denver City Railroads. Plans changed, however, and the F.W. & D.C. took a route 16 mi. south, bypassing Panhandle. (Amarillo was soon founded on the F.W. & D.C.) Even so, Panhandle became a major shipping center. During great ranching era and again in 1926 oil boom, it moved more freight than any other town on Santa Fe line except Chicago.

Texas Panhandle Pioneers-
John F. Weatherly Family, Panhandle

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Among first landowners in area. In 1898 started ranch 25 miles to the north. Ran country store, post office, phone exchange. Moved 1915 to Panhandle. The 1924 discovery of oil on their ranch led to the founding of Borger. They gave land to every church and school, and for a park, there. Weatherly (b. 1865, Tenn.) was a church, civic, Masonic leader; one of organizers of Hutchinson County. He died in 1944. His wife, Maggie Marie Deahl Weatherly (b. 1875, W.Va.), built Weatherly Hall at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth; educates missionaries and others; endows churches and Girl Scout work.

Texas Panhandle Pioneers-
The Simms Brothers

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, Square House Museum, Panhandle

Year Marker Erected: 1968

Marker Text: Permanent citizens, forgers of local civilization. Walter Franklin (1869-1963), George Leonard (born 1875) and Dormer D. Simms (born 1884) moved to Texas in 1886 and to this county in the early 1900's. They arrived later than visiting hunters, soldiers and others who in the 1870's cleared this land of buffalo and hostile Indians, and started ranching. But unlike the early ranchers who ran cattle on state-owned range, these pioneers bought land and worked to pay for it. (To tide them over drouths, such settlers sold buffalo bones and earned bounties for wolf-scalps.) In the 1905-1906 winter, the Simms Brothers used mule-drawn plows and walked from Washburn (18 mi. SW) to Higgins (115.4 mi. NE), constructing a 4-furrow railway fireguard. John Sparks, an early local teacher and a Simms brother-in-law, worked with them and led the group in gospel singing at nightly campfires. Also in the crew were Jim Calhoun and John Sterling. Family land ownership was preserved. Years later, oil and industry brought great prosperity to this region. A fourth generation now lives on the land. Frank Simms married Minnie Pugh Williams; George married Alice Jane King; and Dormer married Gertrude Talbot. Descendants are leaders in Texas business.

The Square House, Panhandle

Marker Location: 5th and Elsie Streets, SH 207, Square House Museum, Panhandle.

Year Marker Erected: 1966

Marker Text: The Niedringhaus brothers of St. Louis sent lumber by ox-cart from Dodge City and built this square house on their "N Bar N" Ranch here in Carson County in the mid-1880s. In 1887 a railroad official occupied the pioneer cottage while the Southern Kansas Railway was being extended from Kiowa, Kansas, to Panhandle City. This was later the home of some distinguished settlers: pioneer banker and Treasurer of Southern Kansas Railway Company, James Christopher Paul; rancher-judge J.L. Harrison; innkeeper James B. Wilks; and sheriff Oscar L. Thorp. The oldest house in town, it was purchased in 1965 and restored as the Carson County Museum. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1966

Thomas Cree Homesite, Panhandle

Marker Location: From Panhandle, take Hwy. 60 about 4.5 miles southwest (on Highway R.O.W.).

Year Marker Erected: 1980

Marker Text: After serving as a Teamster in the Civil War (1861-65), Thadium (Thomas) B. Cree worked for the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1888 he and his wife came to the High Plains. They acquired this land and, with no trees for lumber, they built a dugout home. Cree traveled 35 miles at his wife's request to find a sapling and planted it here. He watered it from a nearby lake that he dug from a buffalo wallow. The tree never grew but lived many years despite blizzard, heat, and drought. Gov. John Connally dedicated an Historical Marker in 1963 to the first tree in the Panhandle.

White Deer, White Deer

Marker Location: At base of White Deer Statue on Main Street, downtown White Deer.

Year Marker Erected: 1965

Marker Text: Name taken from nearby creek, so called by an Indian legend of White Deer feeding there. Site of county's first water well, drilled at N Bar N Ranch, 1887. Also headquarters for White Deer Land Co. (formerly Francklyn Land and Cattle Co., a British syndicate with 630,000 acres of Panhandle land), which in 1902 sold its acreage for small farms and ranches. Located .5 mile east on railroad in 1906, it became supply town for settlers. Present townsite founded in 1908. Oil boom came in 1920s. Is shipping point for grain and cattle.

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