Ghost Town Wednesday: Running Water, Texas

Ranchers were first attracted to this area of Hale County, Texas because of an abundance of water.  The J.N. Morrison ranch was established in 1881 and many settlers who came to the area worked there.  Ranch operations continued to grow as other cattleman joined the partnership, including Christopher Columbus (C.C.) Slaughter. Slaughter wore many hats during his lifetime — as a Texas Ranger, banker, cattleman and more.  As a highly successful businessman, Slaughter made his four million dollar fortune in cattle ranching and land speculation.  Born in 1837, Slaughter was a part of history as the Texas Republic took shape.  Between 1877 and 1905 he managed to amass more than a million acres of land – from just north of Big Spring and stretching to the New Mexico border — and forty thousand head of cattle . A Dallas newspaper once called him “the Cattle King of Texas”, a title I might add was given to more than one Texas cattle rancher. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription here....

Ghost Town Wednesday: Rush, Arkansas

Indian legends about long-lost silver mines brought prospectors to Marion County in north central Arkansas during the 1880’s.  News of shiny metallic flakes found in rocks caused a “silver rush”, bringing wealth-seekers from the nearby states of Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky and beyond, including the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama. After a rock smelter was built in 1886 along Rush Creek the first tests conducted in early 1887 proved to be disappointing — at least for those hoping it was silver in “them thar hills”.  Instead, those shiny metallic flakes were found to be another mineral when “green zinc oxide fumes were emitted in a spectacular display”1 — something akin to welding sparks perhaps.  Zinc mining began soon thereafter at the Morning Star Mine. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription here....

Ghost Town Wednesday: Seven Rivers, New Mexico

  During the early eighteenth century, Spanish explorers mentioned this area and its unique water supply flowing from seven springs which fed the nearby Pecos River.  Despite those advantages, settling the area wasn’t feasible at the time due to the presence of hostile Plains Indians.  Around the time of the Civil War, however, Anglo settlers began making their way to the area and more soon followed. In 1866, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving brought their herds and set up camps there and what is now called Carlsbad.  To the vast herds owned by Goodnight and Loving, John Chisum added an additional one hundred thousand to graze the Pecos River Valley. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Tee Pee City, Texas

This ghost town in Motley County, Texas was once a Comanche village near where Tee Pee Creek merges with the middle fork of the Pease River.  In 1875 it was established as one of the first Texas Panhandle settlements as a buffalo hunting and surveyor camp by Charles Rath and Lee Reynolds. Rath and Reynolds brought the town with them when they arrived from Dodge City, Kansas, hauling in wagons, cattle, mules and dance hall equipment.  Of the one hundred-wagon train of settlers who had departed Kansas with them, about a dozen families remained to become the first settlers of Motley County.  Rath and Reynolds later moved on to the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos and left others to run the camp. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Silkville, Kansas (Socialism Doesn’t Work)

It would be more appropriate to call today’s ghost town a “ghost commune”, established by Ernest Valeton de Boissère in 1869.  He was a wealthy Frenchman, born into a Bordeaux aristocratic family in 1810.  When Napoleon III came into power after the Third French Revolution, de Boissère departed France in 1852 for political reasons and immigrated to America. He was a disciple of Voltaire, a believer in freedom of religion and expression, as well as socialism.  He landed in New Orleans and attempted to establish a school and orphanage for Negro children, much to the disdain of his wealthy neighbors who apparently didn’t share his idealism.  Then his long-time interest in the silk industry brought him to Kansas. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...

Ghost Town Wednesday: Rome, Kansas

  After Ellis County, Kansas was formed on February 26, 1867, the county’s first town site began to take shape in May when the Lull brothers of Salina opened a general store strategically close to where the Kansas Pacific Railroad track would lay.  They called the town Rome and by mid-June several homes had been constructed. One of Rome’s co-founders was none other than famous scout and buffalo hunter, William E. Cody, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill.  He and business partner William Rose, a railroad contractor, saw dollar signs and expected to make thousands of dollars selling lots.  When the town was surveyed in May there were already around five hundred people in and around the area of the town site. NOTE: Digging History is now a monthly digital (PDF) magazine.  This article will be included in a future edition of Digging History Magazine. Check out the latest issue here:  www.digginghistorymag.com or try a subscription...