RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 23, 2009
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825
Selected items from the first few issues of The Texas Spur newspaper continue to shed light on early history of the town of Spur and its citizens. (For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.)
SPUR, DICKENS COUNTY, TEXAS
As Spur grew quickly in size and population, problems in the new town naturally occurred. Some were serious, while others were not so severe. The headline of the 31 December 1909 issue of the newspaper proclaimed Spur's first major crime: "R. K. King killed." Details about the slaying appeared on page 1.
"R. L. KING died...December 24th, as the result of a lick on the back of the head....Dock EDWARDS is now in the Dickens county jail, charged with the crime of murder.... R. L. KING came to Spur from Dickens and had been operating the tin shop here since the opening of the town...The funeral was held here Christmas day and the remains interred in the Spur cemetery at four o'clock in the afternoon."
(Editor's Note: Although the
town was not yet two months old, Spur already had a cemetery. The question
arises: Who was the first person buried there? Was it King or someone else?
King and his business are also mentioned in Kinsearching column dated 1 March 2009.)
The trial of Edwards was to be held Wednesday. "This is the second murder trial had in Dickens county since its organization a number of years ago." (31 Dec 1909, p. 1, c. 4)
(Editor's Note: According to the "Dickens County" article on page 634 of THE NEW HANDBOOK OF TEXAS, VOLUME 2 (Austin: The Texas State Historical Association, 1996), the county was created in 1876 and "politically organized" in 1890. This article, as well as others in the printed version of the Handbook, can also be found by visiting the website at http://www.tshaonline/org and clicking on Search the Handbook of Texas.)
Early businesses in Spur sometimes worked under constraints. Some obstacles, of course, were minor while others were major. The newspaper announced its limitations to readers. "This week the Texas Spur was published under many difficulties in Spur. We recieved (sic) only part of our type and fixtures and, consequently, had to print somewhat of a bum sheet...we did the very best we could, and hope to be in shape next week to publish a more creditable paper. We will be prepared to do all kinds of printing in the future...." (12 Nov 1909, p. 4, c. 2)
Controversy, due to competition, was also bound to happen. An example is the dispute over the phone companies. "T. C. HARKEY is now putting in a telephone exchange for the Luzon Telephone Company. The system will be in operation at an early date." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 1)
A newspaper article titled "Injunction Dissolved" explains the situation that resulted. "The injunction suit filed recently in the Dickens County Court by the Stamford & Northwestern Townsite Company to prevent the installation and establishment of the Luzon Telephone Company in Spur was last week dissolved in District Court at Matador. The injunction was filed with the intent of estopping (sic) the Luzon Company (sic) in favor of the Southwestern Telephone system, thus preventing the establishment of but one telephone system in Spur. The Luzon system resumed construction work Monday morning, putting up poles, etc., and will soon have their local exchange in operation." (17 Dec 1909, v. 1, no. 8, p. 1, c. 5)
(Editor's Note: The suit was
filed in the town of Dickens, since it was the county seat. Matador is the
county seat of Motley County, which borders Dickens County.
Luzon, which no longer exists, was located in Kent County, which borders Dickens County. Perhaps the phone company was associated with and possibly acquired its name from the ranching community. Information on Luzon appears on page 343 of The New Handbook of Texas, Volume 4.
In West Texas, ranches and railroads owned large amounts of land in sparsely inhabited areas. To develop markets and businesses, they often promoted the development of new towns through townsite companies. After a town was established, they were sometimes reluctant to turn control over to its citizens. An example can be seen in the "Dickens County" article mentioned earlier in this column.)
(To be continued)