Espuela Cemetery Historical Marker
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Espuela Cemetery Historical Marker

Espuela Historical Marker

The community of Espuela is set to receive an official Texas Historical Marker on Friday, October 6, during a dedication ceremony to be held at the Espuela community.

The ceremony will be held at 2:00 p.m. The community is located two miles south of Dickens and three miles west on FM 1868.

The Texas Historical Commission has recognized Espuela as a significant part of Texas history by awarding the marker. The designation honors Espuela as an important and educational part of local history.

John Montgomery, a resident and local historian of the Espuela community, will be the featured speaker for the ceremony.

Espuela, the Spanish word meaning Spur, is among the oldest communities in Dickens County. In fact, Espuela was the first official county seat of Dickens County, according to Guy Karr who wrote about Espuela in Dickens County: Its Land and Its People. The county was organized May 11, 1891. The election for location for the county seat was 74 votes for Espuela and 58 for Dickens.

After the town was surveyed and city lots designated several homes were built, and it became quite a town with a general store, hotel, post office, newspaper, boot shop and a saloon. All county business was transacted at Espuela until March 17, 1892 when the county seat was moved to Dickens. Most homes and other buildings were moved to Dickens.

In 1910 the entire town site was purchased by J.L. Karr including all the remaining buildings, which were a large two story residence, a one room school building, the general store, and a barn. He had to remove the house foundations that were left when houses were moved, and also fill the water wells that furnished the houses.

On December 14, 1915 a deed from Eric P. Swenson to the County Judge set aside eight acres for a new school at Espuela, a cemetery was also included in this acreage. The school building was built in 1916 by volunteer labor except one paid carpenter, the lumber hauled from Spur on wagons.

The Espuela Church was built near the school and cemetery by the Baptist organization in 1918. The Espuela Cemetery is the oldest in Dickens County. The oldest marked grave is William H. Spilman, age 26, whose horse fell on him on October 23, 1891.

The Official Texas Historical Marker program helps bring attention to community treasurers and the importance of their preservation. Awareness and education are among the best ways to guarantee the preservation of our state's history. This designation is a tool that will increase public awareness of important cultural resources.

"It is important as we move forward, we do not forget our past," said Dickens County Historiclaal Commission Chairperson Tookie Cash. "Not only will the Texas Historical Marker provide awareness in the community of our fascinating history, but it will become a building block for the promotion of local tourism."

"Please join us in remembering our beginnings in Dickens County" urged Cash.

The Texas Spur, Thursday, October 5, 2002

Rain shortens, but doesn´t halt, Espuela plaque dedication

Submitted by Cindi Taylor of  THE TEXAS SPUR

Espuela Cemetery Historical Marker The community of Espuela was honored on Friday, October 6, during a State historical plaque dedication ceremony held at the community located southwest of Dickens.

The Texas Historical Commmission has recognized Espuela as a significant part of Texas history by awarding the marker which will be placed into a rock at the site. Approximately 100 people attended the ceremony despite the cool temperature. Many of those attending were forced back into their cars after rain started just as the flag was raised and the ceremony began.

A flagpole erected by the Neaves family in memory of Ralph Neaves was used during the ceremony to fly a U.S. flag belonging to the family of John Montgomery. Jeremy Rutledge began the program by leading the Plege of Allegiance and a prayer. Dickens County Judge Woodie McArthur gave a welcome to those in attendance.

Besides local residents and Spur ex-students who were in town to attend Spur Homecoming, others attending the ceremony included former Espuela residents and/or their descendants. Those who had connections to the Espuela community came from five states, including California, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, to attend the ceremony.

Harry Bob Martin, a member of the Dickens County Historical Commission and a committee member for the Espuela marker, introduced the featured speaker, local historian John Montgomery who gave a quick recount of facts about the community. Tookie Cash, chairman of the Dickens County Historical Commission, conducted the plaque dedication ceremony.

Martin presented Montgomery with a framed letter postmarked from Espuela dated December 7, 1891. The letter was written by L.G. Crabtree, then an Espuela resident, to Martha Jane Medlin of Martha, Oklahoma. Crabtree and Medlin later married on September 14, 1892. The ceremony was then brought abruptly to a close due to the rain.

The Dickens County Historical Commission had a 30-page booklet for sale consisting of Mr. Montgomery´s research on the Espuela community. Some of these booklets are still available and may be purchased by contacting Linda Hotchco at 806-623-5281.

The Historical Marker will be placed in the stone some time later this week, and it should be available for viewing as early as next week.

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