town once called Best located
in Reagan County is mesquite and buffalo grass country. Named for Tom Best, a
railroader, the settlement boomed from 1924 to 1932 with oil discoveries.
Like most oil booms it was wild and woolly with the law trying hard to retain
control. For its motto, the town once boasted, "The town with the Best
name but the worst reputation."
Today, deserted houses and numerous concrete
foundations tell of the boom and bust of Best.
hear of Circle Back?
In 1944, this Panhandle ghost town boasted a population of 100. Located southeast
of Muleshoe in eastern Bailey
County, it had a post office from 1931 to 1954. The name Circle
Back has been explained in many stories. But the truth is, the name is honest,
nothing mythical but attributed to a large early-day ranch in the area which branded
a simple circle on the backs of its cattle.
Of interest, the U.S. Postal
Service created many early town names. Postal rules stated, "No two towns in the
same state could use the same name." In the days of crude communications, the
applications of outlying communities seeking a post office were slow in transit
as letters crossed the mail many times, with new settlements seeking official
names. Often the postal officials suggested names somewhat near those on the applications
and were accepted.
An example of this name search occurred in Cross
Cut. Originally named Cross Out by its pioneers, by the time the postal authorities
finished searching, the name became Cross
Cut. According to local legend the reason for the original name of Cross Out
was: "It was across the country, out of the way, and 28 miles from the county
seat of Brownwood in Brown
County. The post office there operated from 1931 to 1954.
Roy Bean established Langtry,
named after a popular singer and actress of the time, and began dealing out his
own brand of justice. Unlike some of today's justice and although unlettered in
the legal profession, Judge Bean did exhibit a brand of "common sense justice
that made sense." For example, a dead man was found on the prairie with no identification,
$25 in his pocket and carrying a pistol. The judge fined the man $25 for carrying
a weapon and burial expense.
In the absence of a local jail, Langtry
prisoners were held and served sentence handcuffed to a log chain fastened around
a tree with no facilities for shelter or hygiene available. This assured there
were no repeat offenders returning to the judge's jail. The term "death row" did
not exist, as those convicted of serious crimes were hanged immediately. The site
can be visited today as a Texas rest stop along the highway and features a beautiful
Though early towns had avid supporters with ambitious agendas,
most fell by the wayside as progress arrived and highways and railroads passed
them by. Most live today only in historical notes and stories.
"It's All Trew"
8, 2011 column
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can
be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail
at firstname.lastname@example.org. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears
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