Scurry County
Historical Markers

Texas Plains Trail Region

Map of Scurry County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Former Calaboose | Camp Springs | Channel of Deep Creek | Greene Springs and Site of Archeological Discoveries | Hermleigh | Lone Wolf Community | Site of The MacKenzie Trail | Campsite of the Marcy Expedition | J. Wright Mooar | Home County of Famous Frontiersman J. Wright Mooar | J.J. Moore No. 1 Oil Well | Site of O.K. Wagon Yard | Prairie Dog | Scurry County | Scurry County Courthouse Site and Building | Scurry County Museum | Scurry County's Billionth Barrel of Oil | County's First Law Men | County Named for Texas Confederate William R. Scurry 1821-1864 | Old Snyder Graveyard | City of Snyder | Witness Tree

Former Calaboose

Marker Title: Former Calaboose
Address: US 180 near 34th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: US 180 near 34th Street at Snyder Coliseum, Snyder.
Marker Text: Prior to 1920s held rowdies arrested by town constable. After paved roads made the county jail accessible, this structure was moved and sold. Later, to obtain storage space, the D.R. Layman family swapped a cow for the former Hermleigh Calaboose. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1972

Camp Springs

Marker Title: Camp Springs
Address: FM 1673 & 1614
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: From Snyder take FM 1673 about 13 miles to intersection with FM 1614 and marker.
Marker Text: Named for W.H. Camp, an early settler who built a dugout in 1878 at springs, one-half mile northwest of here. Petrified trees--one 300 feet tall--and bones of prehistoric animals have been found in area. Tools, pictographs in nearby cave indicate Indians camped here. Emigrant trail to California, blazed in 1849 by Army Captain R.B. Marcy, came through region. General Robert E. Lee followed part of same trail searching for hostile Comanches in 1856. Both men made camp at Green Springs, six miles southwest. Post office was established, 1891. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967.

Channel of Deep Creek

Marker Title: Channel of Deep Creek
Address: Ave. U & 25th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Corner of Avenue U and 25th, Snyder (just west of bridge, US 180).
Marker Text: Once a spring-fed tributary of the Colorado River; heads and ends within Scurry County. In 1870s it supplied buffalo hunters living in hide-covered half dugouts. "Pete" Snyder's trading post, which eventually grew into the county-seat town of Snyder, was located on bank. Although state surveyors had officially named it Culvers Creek, famous buffalo hunters John and J. Wright Mooar called it Deep Creek in 1876, and soon the name became widely used. Played central role in early town life as a scene of picnics, horse races, and baptisms. (1969)

Greene Springs and Site of Archeological Discoveries

Marker Title: Greene Springs and Site of Archeological Discoveries
Address: US 180, about 12 mi. E of Snyder
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: From Snyder take US 180 about 12 miles east to roadside park.
Marker Text: Located at a place occupied by man for centuries, these springs compose the first, live (running) water that flows into the South Fork of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. The waters, which collect in large potholes in a sandstone formation, have produced a constant flow since first discovered by settlers. For many centuries before, they were also visited by Indians. Food grinding holes and petroglyphs (rock carvings) on the sandstone creek walls give evidence of this early use. Since 1964, explorations by the Scurry Chapter, South Plains Archeological Society, have produced many artifacts such as stone knives and scrapers, beads, potsherds, and arrow points. In the nineteenth century, military units under Capt. R.B. Marcy (1849) and Gen. Robert E. Lee (1856) camped at Greene Springs. Somewhat later, buffalo hunters, freighters, and emigrants moving west and north stopped for water at this beautiful place. The springs were named about 1881 for J.I. "Jim" Greene, a horse rancher who moved here at that time. Greene and his family lived in two dugouts until their first house was built in 1890. Remains of the dugouts are still visible today in a nearby hill. (1968)

Hermleigh

Marker Title: Hermleigh
Address: Willis Ave. & Wheat St.
City: Hermleigh
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: Willis Avenue and Wheat Street, Hermleigh.
Marker Text: Townsite surveyed 1907 by H. W. Harlin and R. C. Herm, on Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railroad. Post office, store and church moved here from Wheat, community to the northeast. In 1907 New Town--a trade center for livestock farmers--had 2 banks, a lumber yard, a newspaper; 2-story brick school was built 1909. Santa Fe Railroad came through in 1911. In 1918, a war hero was honored by town's name change to "Foch". Old name was reinstated 1921. Six miles east is Sand Stone Canyon, with Indian pictographs. Skeletons of extinct mammals have been excavated nearby. (1966)

Lone Wolf Community

Marker Title: Lone Wolf Community
Address: FM 644, S of Hermleigh
City: Hermleigh
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: From Hermleigh take FM 644 south seven miles to Lone Wolf Cemetery.
Marker Text: (5 mi. N of Lone Wolf Mountain) Named for Kiowa chief whose tribe roamed area until 1870s. Community development when John Mahoney donated cemetery and school sites. A schoolhouse, erected 1901, was used also for church services. First teacher, W. F. Knowlton, had 35 pupils. Local post office was Winston (June 26, 1901-April 30, 1909). Mail later came by rural route. In 1906, D. C. Hazelwood built local store. Lone Wolf School, operated at different locations, served the community until consolidated. Cemetery (with oldest grave date 1892) continues in use as burial place for area families. (1970)

Site of The MacKenzie Trail

Marker Title: Site of The MacKenzie Trail
Address: 26th & Ave. R
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Marker Location: 26th and Avenue R, southeast corner of courthouse square, Snyder.
Marker Text: Following the Civil War, the Texas frontier pushed westward, giving rise to renewed hostilities as the white man once again invaded Indian lands. Foremost in the campaign to calm the frontier was Col. Ranald S. MacKenzie, who blazed trails from Ft. Griffin to the Plains and from Ft. Concho to Palo Duro Canyon in the Panhandle. Tons of supplies for MacKenzie's forces--varying from 600 to 800 men--were freighted from Ft. Griffin to his main camp on the Brazos River fresh water fork (now White River), there dispersed to his troops. A second major trail was charted when his entire force moved from Ft. Concho to the Fresh Water Camp, passing a major campsite at MacKenzie Mountain (20 mi. N of Snyder). The Fresh Water Camp was one of the first made in the 1871 campaign in which MacKenzie was outmaneuvered by Quanah Parker (son of captive Cynthia Ann Parker and Comanche chief Pete Nocona). In 1874 it was also the last campsite used after MacKenzie totally defeated massed Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Quahadi Comanche forces in Palo Duro Canyon. Abstracts of the original townsite of Snyder, made in 1881, twice use "The MacKenzie Trail" as reference, setting its course across the Snyder Square. (1967)

Campsite of the Marcy Expedition

Marker Title: Campsite of the Marcy Expedition
Address: SH 350, about 4 mi. S of Ira
City: Ira
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: From Ira take SH 350 about 4 miles south.
Marker Text: At a grove of mesquite and wild chinaberry trees by a creek near here, Capt. R. B. Marcy's expedition camped Oct. 7, 1849, while blazing the famous Marcy Trail. They saw nothing deadlier than quail and wild turkeys in the area, but the next day, tragedy struck. Lt. Montgomery Pike Harrison (1826-1849)--grandson of President Wm. Henry Harrison and older brother of later President Benjamin Harrison--left camp alone to scout a ravine. When he did not return by dark, the company fired a Howitzer to signal him, but received no answer. Searchers the next day found signs that Harrison, always friendly to the Indians, had stopped and smoked with two Indians, believed to be Kiowas. He was disarmed, however, taken one mile south and then shot with his own rifle. The Indians scalped and stripped the body and threw it into a ravine on Canyon Creek. They were pursued, but never captured. Marcy later reported that when his men heard of Harrison's death, many hid their faces "to conceal their tears." The body was packed in charcoal and taken in a coffin made from a wagon bed to Ft. Smith for burial. Despite this tragedy, Marcy's Trail became a major wagon road, taking gold seekers to California and troops and supplies across the West Texas frontier. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967.

J. Wright Mooar

Marker Title: J. Wright Mooar
Address: At Coliseum between 25th & 27th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1997
Marker Location: Scurry Co. Coliseum, between 25th and 37th Street Snyder.
Marker Text: J. Wright Mooar and his brother John W. Mooar established the first buffalo hunting camp in the Texas Panhandle in 1873. Wright killed a rare albino buffalo (one of two known killed in Texas) in Scurry county on October 7, 1876. Mooar shot about 22,000 buffalo, a record probably unsurpassed. His ability to hit a vital spot from a distance of 1,000 feet or farther won the respect of Comanche Indian Chief Quanah Parker, a friend in later life. The Mooar brothers began ranching in Scurry county in 1877 and Wright became known as Scurry county's No. 1 citizen. (1997)

Home County of Famous Frontiersman J. Wright Mooar

Marker Title: Home County of Famous Frontiersman J. Wright Mooar
Address: 25th & College St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: 25th and College, northwest courthouse square, Snyder.
Marker Text: (Aug. 10, 1851-May 1, 1940) Champion hunter of buffalo--largest game animal in North America. Born in Vermont; came west at 19. Began hunting in 1870 to supply hides for market. In partnership with his brother, John W. Mooar, in 1873 established first buffalo hunting camp in the Texas Panhandle. On Oct. 7, 1876, at his first hunting camp in Scurry County, killed a rare albino buffalo--one of two known to have been killed in Texas. The hide of that albino, afterward shown in 1904 St. Louis Fair and many other occasions, is now preserved here in Scurry County by Mooar's descendants. Hunted regularly until 1879; in 1881 helped furnish game and hay to feed construction men and animals building Texas & Pacific Railroad in West Texas. During his career, he shot about 22,000 buffalo--a record probably unsurpassed. His ability to hit a vital spot at a distance of 1,000 feet or farther won the respect of such Indians as Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, who became his friend in later life. Began ranching with his brother in 1877. Also had a business in Colorado City, 1881-1905. Highly esteemed. Site of killing of white buffalo (10 mi. NW of here) is near the Old Mooar Ranch headquarters, where his hand-hug water well is now surrounded by oil wells. (1967)

J.J. Moore No. 1 Oil Well

Marker Title: J.J. Moore No. 1 Oil Well (1.4 miles south)
Address: SH 350 & FM 1606
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: Junction of SH 350 and FM 1606.
Marker Text: First producing oil well in Scurry County; opened a major West Texas petroleum area. Drilled February to October 1923 by E. I. (Tommy) Thompson, W. W. Lechner and E. E. (Buddy) Fogelson of Loutex Corp., W. A. Reiter located the well. Leon English was field geologist. Drillers were Jesse Thomas, Begossa Murphy, Tom Mann, Charlie Dodson, Sim Taylor. The tool dresser, James O. Jarmon, was the only man working the well from top to bottom. Pat and Mike Moore, the young sons of the landowner, helped to fire the steam roller. The drill struck a pressurized reservoir of "cold air" (nitrogen and helium) unique in Texas at that time. It blew mud and water 60 feet above the well head. Soon harnessed, it replaced steam to operate the drilling. It also refrigerated food and water. Completed to 3575 feet and plugged back to 1800 feet in the San Andres formation, the J. J. Moore No. 1 has yielded over 500,000 barrels of oil; is still producing. Several "dusters" were drilled nearby in 1924. Exploration was further discouraged in the 20s by low prices; eventually, however, here in the Sharon Ridge Field over 2200 wells have been brought in. In 1948 deep wells began to tap the canyon reef in Scurry; the county now has over 4,000 oil wells. (1966)

Site of O.K. Wagon Yard

Marker Title: Site of O.K. Wagon Yard
Address: Ave R and 24th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1971
Marker Location: Corner R and 24th, Snyder (at post office).
Marker Text: (Formerly on Jackass Avenue) Stopping place for travelers in early 1900s. Rented rooms and horse stalls for two bits (25 c) each. Provided blacksmithing and harness repair and kept a horse, Jersey Bull, and a "Missouri Jack" (donkey) as stud animals. With right contact here, a cowboy could also buy a jar of "White Lightning" (home-brewed whiskey). On Saturdays citizens "passed the hat" to finance a rodeo at the yard. In later years "first Mondays" were held here, where farmers, ranchers, mule skinners, and the curious met to swap or exchange produce, livestock, and other goods. Yard closed in 1930s. (1971)

Prairie Dog (Cynomys Ludovicianus)

Marker Title: The Prairie Dog (Cynomys Ludovicianus)
Address: Towle Memorial Park, US 190
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: In east section of Towle Memorial Park, Snyder
Marker Text: Small burrowing rodent once symbolic of Old West. Estimates once placed Texas population in billions. Prairie dogs were so named because of their quick sharp barking and wagging tails. A vegetarian mammal related to the squirrel and ground hog, their homes are craftily built L-shaped burrows, 15 to 20 feet or more long; seldom connected with others in their "town". Declared pests to agriculture and range, town was established March 1964, to preserve remnant of a vanishing species. (1968)

Scurry County

Marker Title: Scurry County
Address: US 180 about 12 mi. W of Snyder
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: From Snyder take US 180 12 miles west to roadside park.
Marker Text: Formed from Young and Bexar territories; created August 21, 1876; organized June 28, 1884; named in honor of General William R. Scurry 1821-1864; member of the last Texas Congress; a distinguished officer in the Confederate Army; Snyder, the county seat. (1936)

Scurry County Courthouse Site and Building

Marker Title: Scurry County Courthouse Site and Building
Address: College and 25th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: Northeast corner, courthouse square, Snyder.
Marker Text: Seat of justice for Scurry County, created 1876 and organized 1884. Local landholders--R.H. Allen, Fred Barnard, R.H. Looney, C.C. McGinnis, C.H. McGinnis, T.N. Nunn, W.H. Snyder and H.A. Travekes--donated lots in center of town for the courthouse square. Bonds for construction were purchased by local citizens. The original 2-story courthouse of locally made red brick was built in 1886 in northeast corner of the square, on site of a former buffalo trail. A jail, built farther northeast, was joined to courthouse by a corridor. Board sidewalks led to the building. A chain hitching rail for horses enclosed the square. The public windmill, focus for civic and social gatherings, was located in the center of the square. The commissioners court designated the boundaries of the four county precincts according to the north, east, south, and west lanes approaching the courthouse and these precinct boundaries are still used. The first courthouse was razed in 1911, after the present one was erected, 1909-11. This building had a dome, which was removed in 1950 remodeling. A part of the old square is now paved, as today's courthouse visitors require auto space rather than the watering trough and hitching rail. (1967)

Scurry County Museum

Museum Name: Scurry County Museum
Street Address: 6200 College Avenue
City: Snyder
Zip Code: 79549
Area Code: 915
Phone: 573-6107
County: Scurry

Scurry County's Billionth Barrel of Oil

Marker Title: Scurry County's Billionth Barrel of Oil
Address: US 84, about 6 mi. N of Snyder
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1975
Marker Location: From Snyder take US 84 about 6 miles north. Marker is on northbound Business Rt. 84.
Marker Text: Petroleum discoveries in this county began in 1923, with recovery of oil in the San Andres Formation--eventually penetrated by over 2,000 shallow wells. In late 1948, rigs drilling deeper than 6,000 feet tapped the Canyon Reef Geological Formation. Four exploratory wells--Sun Oil Company's Schattel; Magnolia's Winston; Standard Oil Company of Texas Brown; Lion Oil Company's C.T. McLaughlin--and other extensive drilling defined a gigantic field covering 85,000 acres and containing oil reserves estimated to total at least four billion barrels. The local economy and growth rate improved greatly. Many farmers and ranchers who had fought years of drouth and adversity paid off debts, modernized their homes, and continued to live on their land. On Oct. 8, 1973, twenty-five years after the Canyon Reef discovery, Scurry County produced from that formation its billionth barrel of oil, and in a week of festivities paid tribute to the petroleum industry. The celebrated billionth barrel of oil came from the well near this marker. By 1973, Scurry County was producing 3.2 per cent of all the oil recovered annually in the United States. (1975)

County's First Law Men

Marker Title: County's First Law Men
Address: College Ave, at Courthouse
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: College Avenue at Courthouse Square, Snyder
Marker Text: First sheriff elected when the county was organized, 1884, was W.W. "Uncle Billy" Nelson. He authorized the first "Calaboose" (jail)--a frame structure only 8x10x8 feet. Uncle Billy resigned; however, after 6 months; cowboys were an unruly lot. T.J. Faught was next appointed sheriff, 1885. He gained respect of cowhands when, using a wooden pool cue as a weapon, he calmed a rowdy group in the west side saloon. Faught never wore a gun; was elected 3 terms, 1886-1892. In original Snyder town plat, a street was named for Sheriff Faught; it is now 27th Street. (1967)

County Named for Texas Confederate William R. Scurry 1821-1864

Marker Title: County Named for Texas Confederate William R. Scurry 1821-1864
Address: College and 25th
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: North side of courthouse, Snyder.
Marker Text: Member Secession Convention. As Lt. Colonel 4th Texas Cavalry Regiment, ably commanded forces at Val Verde and Glorieta Canyon battles in Arizona-New Mexico Campaign 1861-62. Promoted Brigadier General. Commanded immediate land attack recapture of Galveston 1863. In Red River Campaign to prevent Texas invasion, led brigade Battles of Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, La. and Jenkins Ferry, Ark. where he bravely met death. (1963)

Old Snyder Graveyard

Marker Title: Old Snyder Graveyard
Address: Ave E & 26th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Avenue E and 26th Street, Snyder.
Marker Text: Formerly state land until common usage established it as a cemetery in 1880's. Legend says first burial was an Indian. Early-day transients were often buried in unmarked graves. Tract closed to further burials, 1902. Many bodies have been moved elsewhere. Only 14 graves are now identified. (1969)

City of Snyder

Marker Title: City of Snyder
Address: 1925 24th St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: 1925 24th Street (at city hall), Snyder
Marker Text: Originally established as a trading post on Deep Creek for buffalo hunters and called "Hide Town," because of many hide tents and dugouts, the city of Snyder takes it name from W.H. (Pete) Snyder, a Dutch trader who established a store here in 1878. A major event in the town's growth came in 1908 when the Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific Railroad brought the "Iron Horse" to Snyder. The city incorporated in 1907. Late in 1948 the city moved into another era when the huge Canyon Reef Oil Field was discovered. With influx of oil field workers and personnel, the quiet county seat became an overcrowded boom town overnight, with the population jumping from 4,000 to 12,000 in a year's time. Today Snyder, the county seat of Scurry County, continues as a regional trade center for ranching, farming and oil production. (1966)

Witness Tree

Marker Title: Witness Tree
Address: 1917 23rd St.
City: Snyder
County: Scurry
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: 1917 23rd Street, Snyder.
Marker Text: Across the street, 100 feet north of this site, is the stump of a hackberry used in early land surveys as a "witness" tree. By Texas custom (based on Spanish law), at least 2 objects were used to witness land boundaries, measured in varas, cordels, and leagues. Land corners were pointed out formally, with grantee being told "in a loud voice" that he was vested with the property; he responded by throwing stones, shouting loudly, shooting guns and making other noises. When land at this site was first surveyed for the grantee, Houston & Great Northern Railroad, on May 29, 1873, it was in Jack County. (Scurry County was created in 1876.) "Witness" points were stakes in the prairie, an 8-inch mound, and Culver (Deep) Creek. This was hostile Indian country. Surveyors had rifles on one shoulder, transits on the other. Frontier lands had to be surveyed, as payment for state obligations. Before this hackberry tree was marked with the "X" in 1881, buffalo hunters had killed the animals that were the "walking commissary" of the Indians. Strong campaigns by Gen. R.S. MacKenzie and the U.S. 4th Cavalry had sent the Indians to reservations. The MacKenzie Trail was mapped. Surveys also spoke of the Snyder Store, for which this town was named. (1966)


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