|"Sal A. Armstrong
on black horse and Robert Hall (sheriff) on white horse. Old photo has written
on back - Big Wells Exposition November 1911"
- Photo courtesy Bill Armstrong. Click on photo for large image|
Wells History in a Pecan Shell
The name doesn’t seem to have been an exaggeration when the town was founded.
It was named for the artesian wells that once (allegedly) jetted 30 feet into
the air. Naturally with this abundance of water – it was a prime location for
land developers. There were several projects in Dimmit County between 1909 and
1917 – like the one nearby in Valley
The town began as a modest 480-acre parcel of an ambitious,
project that eventually reached 56,000-acres.
Promotion began in 1908
and settlers began arriving in 1910. It immediately grew due to its location on
the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf railroad.
By 1911 the town had a post
office and in 1912 they had two schools. The population had grown to 800 by 1915.
From 1916 to 1918, the area suffered through drought, low crop prices, and
at least one devastating hailstorm.
People went back where they came
from, the newspaper closed it’s doors in 1919 and the population dipped down to
300 in 1925 – while the rest of the country was prospering.
by 1929, however, the population started growing – just as the Great Depression
was beginning. Throughout the 30s the population was in the 700s and at the end
of WWII there were 866 people
living in Big Wells.
The artesian wells that gave the town its name
have required pumps to produce water since World
Oil has replaced agriculture as the area’s major economic
In the mid fifties the town had just over one thousand people,
but its school closed in 1955.
The population has declined at a very
slow rate since then to its current figure of 704 (2010).
Wells Old Photos
grew up in Big Wells in the 50's and 60's. The pictures are of my grandfather
and grandmother and also my dad in the 1922 photo at 9 years of age. My grandmother
told my father that his father gave Big Wells its name. My grandparents moved
from Frio county to Big Wells in 1906 so it was around that time. Thanks. - Bill
Armstrong, May 29, 2011 (Click here for Old
|"Sal And Lillie
Armstrong on Frio County Ranch near Pearsall
in 1906 (year they left for Big Wells)"
- Photo courtesy Bill Armstrong|
and Lillie Armstrong in Big Wells, Texas, 1914|
courtesy Bill Armstrong
A. Armstrong and son Sal Alvin Armstrong, Jr. in Valley
Wells in November 1922.|
courtesy Bill Armstrong
Big Wells street scene |
Photo c1914 courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Wells, Texas Forum Subject:
Big Wells and Valley
1950, my family moved to Big Wells, Texas, and my father was pastor of the First
Baptist Church at Big Wells. We had three of the best years of our lives at Big
Wells. While there, my father and our family went to Valley
Wells on Thursday evenings to hold prayer services in the old Valley Wells
School. I remember some of the families that attended the service: Don Noah and
Wanda Noah, Don and Charlotte Noah, Alton and family, the Henderson family, and
I believe that Charles Rasmussen and family sometimes attended services. There
was no piano or musical instrument, so we sang acapello. The service was not long
but the people were sincere and were very kind to our family. I remember seeing
many deer and some javelina hogs, road runners, turtles, and pheasants. The big
problem during those years that plagued the farmers was lack of rain and the wells
ran dry. The cattle had to eat the mesquite trees and the farmers burned the needles
off the cactus so the cows could eat those. My father led the way to building
the new church at Big Wells and it was very nice for the town. I could go on telling
tales all day, but I will just say that we loved it there and the people are still
the best people in the world! - Charlotte Ann Wyatt Rickenbaker Woodard, July
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