Arts History Update for late March 2015 by David Cummins
Cochran County Texas towns are Morton, the county seat, Bledsoe southwest of Morton near the New Mexico border on FM 769, and Whiteface southeast of Morton on SH 114. Morton is at the junction of Texas SH 114 [east-west] and SH 214 [north-south]. Texas Last Frontier Museum (2003) in Morton is located in a former Masonic Temple (1957) building. What is the significance of the phrase Last Frontier and how did Morton gain its name?
Christopher C. Slaughter was a cattle baron whose Lazy S Ranch (1898) 246,699 acres at the end of the 19th century, traversed almost all of Cochran County and more land. George Washington Littlefield purchased 238,585 acres from the XIT Ranch in 1901 and a small portion of it was in Cochran County. Slaughter died in 1919 and his heirs dissolved the cattle company in 1921 into small enough tracts that they could be sold either as family ranches or family farms. Minnie Slaughter Veal, his eldest daughter, hired a land agent to sell some of her property and his name was Morton Smith. He founded the town in 1923 and named it for himself. His land agency office was on the east side of the town square. Morton was incorporated in 1933 and elected its first mayor. Cochran County was one of the last areas in Texas to which a person or family could emigrate and “break out” new land. It was regarded as The Last Frontier. The western boundary of the county is the New Mexico border. Morton population is 2,006 as of the 2010 census, about 61% Hispanic, 33% Anglo, 4% African-American. Cochran County population 1890-zero, 1900-25, 1920-67, 1930-1,963, 1960-6,417, 1970-5,326, and 2010-3,127 so it’s been declining since 1960. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txcochra/cochran_county_history.htm
Do not confuse Christopher C. Slaughter’s Lazy S Ranch with his younger brother John B. Slaughter’s U Lazy S Ranch headquartered in Post Texas, Garza County, now owned by the John F. Lott family http://www.ulazysranch.com/about_us.htm Christopher C. Slaughter had four younger brothers John, Will, Pete and Mace all in the cattle business at one time or another. Christopher C. Slaughter was often known as “Lum” or “C.C.” or “Colonel” and can be distinguished in that way. Christopher C. Slaughter’s Long S Ranch (1877) headquartered in Big Spring Texas eventually extended north to the Plainview Texas area and included a ranch near Lubbock called the Whiteface Ranch. He was known for cattle breeding, introducing short horn cattle to replace the indigenous longhorn and then breeding shorthorns with Hereford cattle to produce the heaviest cattle sent to market from Texas, and the most expensive, making him a fortune.
Christopher C. Slaughter bought his Lazy S Ranch land in 1898 from the dissolving XIT Ranch that included in 1885 nearly the entire Cochran County area, the southern most division of seven divisions of the XIT1 called Las Casas Amarillas or The Yellow Houses [a land feature in northwest Hockley County and southwest Lamb County] and from 1887 it was a breeding range for the XIT. Thus the Cochran County land was Comanche domain or owned by XIT Ranch or later by Christopher C. Slaughter until it was broken up into tracts for sale in 1921 as “Last Frontier” land for purchase and settlement.
One can keep all these cattlemen of yore straight by consulting William Joseph Elliot, The Spurs (Texas Spur 1939) Texas Tech Library Southwest Collection TEX 51.3 S772E, reprinted W. J. “Scotch Bill” Elliot, The Spurs (Texas State House Press 2009) hardcover $22.25. W.J. Elliot, a native of Scotland, arrived April 28, 1888 at the headquarters of the Espuela [Spanish for Spur] Land and Cattle Company (1884) to become the ranch bookkeeper. He helped survey the town of Espuela [Spur] (1891) and was manager of the general store and postmaster into 1910. The collection of the Spur-Dickens County Museum 327 Burlington Avenue, Spur Texas 79370 phone 806-294-5401 tells his story and he tells the story of cattlemen from experiences with them. The short version of the Spur Ranch is that it was never profitable for its English and Scottish investors and was sold in 1906 to an American land syndicate that would gradually reduce the cattle herd terminating it in 1915. The syndicate sold parcels and tracts of land for family ranches and farms, completing that process by 1938 when author Elliot’s book would be published. William Curry Holden, The Espuela Land and Cattle Company: A Study of a Foreign-Owned Ranch in Texas (Texas State Historical Association 1970) ABE Books good condition $14.41, see also J.W. Williams, The Big Ranch Country (Double Mountain Books Series) (Texas Tech University Press 1999) paperback $15.85
John and Bette Hope of Levelland, Jim Hogue, and Dorothy Barker on behalf of the Hockley and Cochran Counties Historical Commissions organized and conducted several bus tours in September called Last Frontier Ranch Heritage Tour, the sixth annual held on September 25, 2010 http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-09-05/ranch-tour-tells-history-first-ranchers#.VPCek9bDtec I was privileged to attend and enjoyed a meal at the C.C. Slaughter Lazy S Ranch headquarters building three miles southwest of Morton. http://www.co.hockley.tx.us The 2011 tour extended to Zavala Camp [cowboy camp in Hockley County for partners Fountain Goodlet Oxsheer and C.C. Slaughter], L7 Ranch in Terry County, T Bar Ranch in Lynn County, Double Lakes, Tahoka Lake, Meadow and Ropesvile communities. http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2011-09-10/last-frontier-ranch-heritage-tour-scheduled#.VPIx19bDtec F. G. Oxsheer by 1884 operated a large ranch in Hockley County and was a partner rather than a competitor with Slaughter.
The Buffalo Soldier Expedition of 1877 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_Soldier_tragedy_of_1877 occurred because, although the Comanche were forced onto the Indian Territory [current Oklahoma] reservation in 1875, there were still an occasional Comanche hunting/raiding party [depends on one’s perspective] that would leave the reservation and venture out onto the Llano Estacado. Company A of 10th U.S. Army Cavalry under the command of Captain Nicholas Nolan was searching for such a hunting/raiding party when the troops became lost and disoriented, had used up their water supplies, and were without access to water for 86 hours. Four troopers and one Anglo buffalo hunter died. There are four gravestones in the Morton Memorial Cemetery [north of town on SH 114] for those African-American soldiers John H. Bonds, John T. Gordon, John Isaacs and Isaac Derwin. Deeper into the Cemetery to the west is a stone marker for the Comanche who inhabited this area before Anglo settlement. Paul H. Carlson, The Buffalo Soldier Tragedy of 1877 (Texas A&M University Press 2003) Texas Tech Library E99.C85 C36, ABE Books new $14.79 incl s&h, Lubbock Public Library 976.4 CARL Adult Nonfiction
South of the Museum is the Quanah Parker Trail Arrow (installed March 15, 2013) http://www.quanahparkertrail.com/Quanah_Parker_Trail/Events/Events.html crafted by metal sculptor Charles A. Smith of 290 FM 1730 Wilson TX 79381-23042 in his studio in far north Lynn County near the Lubbock County line. Next to the Arrow is Minnie Veal School (1922) named for the eldest daughter of the legendary cattle rancher in the county.
In the south part of town is Strickland Park with a man-made pond, the site of an annual Fireworks Display on July 4 conducted by the Volunteer Fire Department. Don’t look for the weekly newspaper The Morton Tribune as it folded about 2011 and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper is distributed daily in Morton and throughout the county. Levelland & Hockley County News-Press weekly newspaper http://www.levellandnews.net/62529/2330/1/this-weeks-issuepdf also serves the Morton area. The Morton High School “Indians” play sports with black/gold colors accented by white uniforms.
Leave Morton going south on SH 214 just two miles and west on SH 1169 for a half mile to the historic C.C. Slaughter Lazy S Ranch headquarters building that is rent-able as an event center http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2010/01/today-in-texas-history-cattle-barons-death-ignites-family-feud/ The metal Historical Marker says Upwards of 246,669 acres of Cochran and Hockley county lands. Col. C. C. Slaughter – a leader in banking, ranching and religious life in Texas – purchased land 1898-1901. First headquarters was a half-dugout. In 1915, C. C. Slaughter Cattle Company, Inc. brought men from Mexico to build this adobe and concrete quadrangle, on order of a Spanish hacienda. This was one of finest Texas ranch buildings of its era. Seventeen miles south of Morton on SH 214 and then 2.5 miles west on FM 1585 is Old Surratt Territory Ranch where the marker says Once representative of the late-19th century settlement and ranching history of the vast grasslands of the Texas Panhandle. Marshall Surratt (1849-1927), an East Texas native who settled in Waco and became a prominent attorney and district judge, purchased the 53 sections of land in 1885. Although the territory was known by his name, Jude Surratt never lived in Cochran County; he leased the acreage to the Jumbo Cattle Company. Operated by brothers Nick and John Beal and John Beal’s brother-in-law, F. G. Oxsheer, the Jumbo was one of a number of large ranching operations, including those owned by such famous cattlemen as C. C. Slaughter and George Littlefield, that thrived despite several years of winter blizzards and summer droughts. Wells and windmills were located throughout the Surratt Territory to provide reliable water sources for the herds of cattle roaming its plains. The early history of Cochran County settlement is the history of its ranching. The census of 1890 revealed no permanent residents; in 1900 ranchers working in the county accounted for its population of 25, and by 1920 the figure had risen to 67. As free range ranching gave way to fenced pastures of large syndicates and smaller family farms and ranches, the once vast ranch lands were divided. These smaller operations resulted in a division of lands and a surge in population, as reflected by the 1930 census figure of 1,963. Purchased by a succession of absentee landowners after 1900, the Surratt Territory remained intact until 1953.
If you want to visit Bledsoe travel south of Morton eight miles on SH 214 and west on FM 769 for 13 miles to the town of Bledsoe, a South Plains & Santa Fe Railway Company town and cattle shipping center one mile from the New Mexico border. The line opened in 1925. Travel east on FM 769 and SH 125 to Whiteface, formerly a cattle shipping center but now an oil and gas well operations hub, that includes the Whiteface Historical Museum located in the former Whiteface Hotel (1926). The South Plains & Santa Fe Railway Co completed a line west of Lubbock to Whiteface, Lehman and Bledsoe in Cochran County in 1925. The line from Whiteface to Bledsoe was abandoned in 1983 http://texaslastfrontier.com/railroad/railroad-history/ and the depot at Bledsoe was moved to Lubbock as an artifact. The history of Whiteface is here http://texaslastfrontier.com/towns/whiteface/ including the first producing oil well in the county 1936 on the Duggan Ranch south of Whiteface. Cal Farley’s Girlstown USA was established on the Duggan Ranch property in 1949 eight miles south of Whiteface http://1backup.calfarley.net/girsltown.htm and currently houses 84 girls. I’ve toured the impressive facility at 2490 SH 1780 Whiteface Texas.
Festivities occur each Summer in Morton and sometimes a re-enactment of the Buffalo Soldier event, this year on June 26-28, 2015 Texas Last Frontier Celebration and Buffalo Soldier Encampment. https://www.facebook.com/LlanoEstacadoHeritageFoundation/posts/543329362373166 Here is the poster for the 2014 Celebration http://tools.cira.state.tx.us/users/0026/docs/Flyer-TX%20Last%20Frontier%20Celebration-June%2028-29%202014-General.pdf
The Mallet Ranch (1885) https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apm11 of Mallet Land and Cattle Company in southwest Hockley County near Sundown Texas was located adjacent to the C.C. Slaughter Lazy S Ranch and the ranches were competitors. David DeVitt operated the Mallet Ranch and his two daughters Christine DeVitt and Helen DeVitt Jones moved to Lubbock late in life. Oil was discovered on the Mallet Ranch in 1937 and oil revenue continues to fund the CH [Christine and Helen] Foundation http://www.chfoundationlubbock.com/history/index.html and the Helen Jones Foundation (1984) that are major philanthropic entities on the South Plains. David J. Murrah, Oil, Taxes, and Cats: A History of the DeVitt Family and the Mallet Ranch (Texas Tech University Press 1994). https://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/docs/scholarships/donors/H.Jones_donor_highlight.pdf Llano Estacado Heritage Foundation is located at 204 E. Carter Street, Sundown Texas 79372 phone 806-638-4524
Mallet Event Center & Arena (2012) http://www.malleteventcenter.com/default.aspx is located on the south side of the city of Levelland Texas and is a marvelous addition to the area. It has a banquet hall, an exposition hall, an arena [dirt], a warm-up arena [also dirt], and covered penning for animals. Small events can be held in the lobby concourse area. Texas Limousin cattle breeders will appear in a show at the Mallet on May 22-24, 2015, a most fitting experience as a legacy from the breeding activities of Christopher C. Slaughter more than a century earlier in this area.
Comanche tribes in the Texas Oklahoma area were, from the Edwards Plateau region going north: Peneteka (honey eaters), Nokoni (those who turn back), Tanina (liver eaters), Tenewa (those who stay downstream), Kotsotekas (buffalo eaters) in Oklahoma, Yamparikas (yap plant eaters) in Arkansas River area in Kansas, and to the northwest Quahadis (antelopes) on the Llano Estacado. Notice that the Whiteface High School mascot is Antelopes, as is Abernathy High School and Post High School. Antelope Texas is on the road between Archer City and Jacksboro twenty miles northwest of Jacksboro in Jack County http://www.texasescapes.com/CentralTexasTownsNorth/Antelope-Texas.htm It is culturally notable that the Comanche of this area called themselves Antelope people and Anglo settlements are named for the antelope and their sports teams mascot is named for the antelope. People who are thought to be so different and distinctive may have at a deep unconscious level similar leanings and appreciations.
Great Western Cattle Trail Association annual national meeting is Friday-Sunday July 17-19, 2015 at Altus Oklahoma. Due to the recent passing of Mary Ann McCuistian it is being named Mary Ann McCuistian Memorial Conference. A Saturday afternoon excursion will take attendees to Doan’s Crossing of the Red River http://www.redriverhistorian.com/doanscrossing.html on the Great Western Cattle Trail 1874-1893 headed from Texas for Dodge City Kansas. http://www.altustimes.com/news/news/152066423/Great-Western-Cattle-Trail-annual-meeting-to-be-held-in-Altus and cities like Seymour are proud of their location on the trail http://www.greatwesterncattletrail.com/along_gwct_a/along_gwct.html This map depicts the Trail beginning at San Antonio, Kerrville, Abilene, Fort Griffin, Vernon, Doan’s Crossing, Altus Oklahoma, Elk City, Fort Supply, Doby Springs, Ashland Kansas, Big Basin and Dodge City railhead http://www.redriverhistorian.com/greatwestern.html A price of $8 per head at San Antonio compared to $23 per head at Dodge City is what caused the cattle drive to the railhead.
Robin Cole-Jett, Traveling History Up the Cattle Trails: A Road Tripper’s Guide to the Cattle Drives of the Southwest (Red River Historian Press 2014) paperback $15.29 at Amazon.com or $15.52 incl s&h at ABE Books new American culture has grown up around the mythic West – the cowboy, the open range, and the longhorn. What better way to discover the legends surrounding the Old West than to follow the history of the cattle drives? “Traveling History Up the Cattle Trails” offers three historic
road trips that trace the Shawnee, Chisholm, and Great Western Cattle Trails from Texas all the way to Kansas. Complete travel itineraries, vintage photographs, depictions of relics from the past, and trail drive histories make this book a great traveling companion for all readers enthralled with the open road.
The Texas chapter of the Trail is here http://thegreatwesterntrail.com/wp/
Lubbock Concert Band is a community all-volunteer band that plays concerts at All Saints Episcopal School auditorium at 3222 103rd Street east of Indiana Avenue at 103rd Street. Next concert is Friday March 27 at 7:30 pm, next after that is Friday May 8 at 7:30 pm. Concerts are free for the public but donations are requested. Keep up with its schedule on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/LubbockConcertBand
Save the date. Thursday April 9, 2015 at 7:00 – 8:30 pm Lubbock Lights: Celebrating Musical Heritage on the South Plains: Honorees Wade Bowen, Butch Hancock, Terri Hendrix and Lloyd Maines will be feted at Student Union Building Allen Theater on Texas Tech campus tickets $18 at Select a Seat. Sponsor is Office of the President at Texas Tech M. Duane Nellis http://today.ttu.edu/2015/03/texas-tech-to-host-inaugural-lubbock-lights/
Texas Tech Women’s Basketball ended the conference season on March 2, 2015 in the cellar of the Big XII Conference with a 5-13 record 15-15 overall, and # 10 seed Texas Tech met # 7 seed West Virginia in the first round of the Big XII Championship post-season tourney on Friday March 6 at 8:30 pm in American Airlines Center at Dallas Texas TV-Fox College Sports Central channel 1648 HD. Tech lost that game 59-40 and the entire season ends 5-13 conference 15-16 overall, a losing record. Number one seed Baylor went on to win the Conference Championship tourney.
Texas Tech Men’s Basketball ended the conference season on March 6, 2015 in the cellar of the Big XII Conference with a 3-15 conference record 13-18 overall season. The conference ended Saturday March 7 and Big XII Championship post-season tourney at Sprint Center in Kansas City Missouri begins Wednesday March 11 where # 10 seed Texas Tech meets # 7 seed Texas at 8:00 pm TV-ESPNU channel 1605 High Definition. Tech lost that game and the entire season ends 3-15 conference 13-19 overall season, a losing record.
We re-learned an earlier lesson, round ball is more fun if your team wins, more than occasionally even more than sporadically, and is competitive in each game with as much chance to win as the opponent.
Over in the bluegrass state it’s quite a different story, a rare event, as University of Kentucky at Lexington Men’s Basketball finished its season 31-0 and heads into the SEC [Southeastern Conference] Championship tourney and then the NCAA Championships as the number one seed and the team to beat, if anyone can.
The Semi-Arid Landscape exhibition at the Buddy Holly Center Fine Arts Gallery opened March 6 and continues through April 19, 2015. More than sixty artists contributed to it, and all media are represented.
On Saturday March 14 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm Lubbock County Horticulture Agent Vikram Baliga will offer plans for residence owners to begin xeri-scaping their yards on a reasonable budget. Free event at Buddy Holly Center. During those same hours children under age 12 may create a terrarium or other piece of art. $7 registration by March 10.
Tim Oliver’s Rain in Caprock Country watercolor is in the exhibit http://timoliverart.com/workszoom/1560218 and http://timoliverart.com/event/64145/the-semi-arid-landscape
Buddy Holly Center 1801 Crickets Avenue [former Avenue G] is open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 – 5:00 pm admission $2-$5 phone 806-775-3560 http://www.buddyhollycenter.org
Fleur Jaeggy, S.S. Proleterka (a Yugoslavian Ship) (transl. from Italian by Alastair McEwen, New Directions Publishing 2003) a novella in 122 pages, is an account of a girl’s sensual awakening and search for her “lost” father who has been allowed by the girl’s mother to sail with the girl to Greece. Texas Tech Library PQ 4870.A4 P7613. ABE Books as new $4.44 incl s&h. Jaeggy is an Italian writer with a German name who grew up in Switzerland. She is an edgy author and this work will rattle one’s sensibilities but it’s artfully written.
Christine McKenna, The Disenchanted Widow (Amazon Publishing Co 2013) $11 paperback $ 2 e-book. A novel about life in Ulster during the 1981 Troubles. The author lives in Rostrevor, County Down, Northern Ireland. It’s 1981 and Belfast is burning. So, too, is freshly widowed Bessie Halstone: she burns with a desire to break with her troubled past. With her feckless husband gone, she leaves home hurriedly with her naughty nine-year-old son, Herkie, and not much else. The Dentist, an IRA enforcer, is on her tail. He’s convinced that Bessie, with her “yella hair all puffed up like Merlin Monroe’s,” has absconded with the takings from a bank heist. But car trouble strands mother and son in Tailorstown, a sleepy Ulster village. Bessie finds temporary work as housekeeper for the handsome and mysterious parish priest. In the meantime, Lorcan Strong, an artist and a native of the village, is summoned home. He’s been shanghaied into forging paintings for the IRA. It’s work he cannot refuse; his mother and their business are under threat. Yet things are not what they seem in quirky Tailorstown. There is a “sleeper” in the village. But who? Bizarrely, it is young Herkie, due to his childish curiosity, who unravels the mystery and saves the day. ABE Books good condition $5. A footnote here is that this author submitted a manuscript to Amazon.com and was accepted, and that is a signal of quality to consumers because Amazon is building its brand as a publisher, much to the consternation of historic publishing houses who keep telling us “you would miss us if we were gone” but we keep telling them, with our feet shopping elsewhere “we’re not missing you now so we don’t expect to miss you later, whether present or gone”. What I’ve learned from such publishing houses and The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal saying “you would miss us if we were gone” is that such a statement really means that they refuse to change their business model despite lowered patronage and success by competitors. In contemporary parlance “they just don’t get it”. They won’t adapt, improve and compete even though they preach those qualities for others to adopt.
American Institute of Architects New York Chapter at its Center for Architecture 536 La Guardia Place, New York City on Monday March 16 at 6:00 – 8:00 pm will present author Kelly Easterling speaking about her book Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso 2014) free for architects $10 for the public Infrastructure is not only the underground pipes and cables controlling our cities. It also determines the hidden rules that structure the spaces all around us – free trade zones, smart cities, suburbs, and shopping malls. Extrastatecraft charts the emergent new powers controlling this space and shows how they extend beyond the reach of government.
Keller Easterling explores areas of infrastructure with the greatest impact on our world – examining everything from standards for the thinness of credit cards to the urbanism of mobile telephony, the world’s largest shared platform, to the “free zone,” the most virulent new world city paradigm. She proposes some unexpected techniques for resisting power in the modern world.
Extrastatecraft will change the way we think about urban spaces – and how we live in them. $22.19 hardcover $15 e-book at 252 pages. Easterling is a professor of architecture at Yale University. http://kellereasterling.com/books
She previously addressed this topic in her book Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways, and Houses in America (MIT Press 2001) and she if no other Northeasterner knows why we understand and value the Llano Estacado as not just a special but unique space, partially organized and partially a natural legacy into which we humans have inserted ourselves as residents and caregivers.
H.O. Robertson: A Self-Taught Texas Regionalist exhibit continues to March 31 at the Meadows Museum on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas. A recent gift by the family to the museum and to the Bywaters Special Collections at the Hamon Arts Library generated this exhibit. Horace Oakley Robertson 1887-1970 was widely admired for his paintings during the 1930s and 1940s even though not a member of the Dallas Nine artists group. http://www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org/about_HORobertson.htm
Viva Aztlan Festival is Saturday March 21 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center admission $20 at door or $15 advance purchase. Folklorico dance competition, mariachi music groups, food vendors, and more make this a colorful and vivacious festival http://www.visitlubbock.org/event/viva-aztlan-festival/?instance_id=2444
The Seven Celtic Nations are Ireland, Galicia in northwest Spain, Cornwall England, Isle of Man England, Brittany France, Scotland and Wales. http://www.thecelticcrier.com/the-7-celtic-nations.html Carlos Nunez & Band played at the Legacy Event Center Margaret Talkington Great Hall on Tuesday March 10, 2015 in an absolutely thrilling performance of Galician music and its influences in the other Celtic Nations and around the world, led by the virtuosic power of Nunez who plays two sets of bagpipes, flutes and whistles http://www.allmusic.com/artist/carlos-núñez-mn0000796364/biography