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STANTON, TEXAS

Martin County Seat, Texas Panhandle / West Texas
I-20 and Hwy 137
100 miles S of Lubbock
18 miles NE of Midland
21 miles SW of Big Spring

Population: 2,556 (2000)

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Stanton Texas downtown
Downtown Stanton
Photo courtesy of Jason Penney

History in a Pecan Shell

Originally called Grelton, Stanton was just a spot next to the Texas and Pacific Railroad tracks when it came through in 1881.

German Catholics from Kansas and Arkansas were the first settlers. They imported the lumber which was nailed together to form the first buildings.

The town was renamed Marienfeld in 1885.

The First Catholic Church in West Texas was built in 1881 and the next year the first school in West Texas was opened.

A monastery and a convent were built and while the nuns opened schools and hospitals in Pecos and Fort Stockton, the priests would take the train to Big Spring and Midland to say Mass.

The Sisters of Mercy Convent

convent in Stanton, Texas
The Convent
Photo courtesy Jason Penney
convent Stanton Texas
The Convent, back
Photo courtesy Jason Penney
Stanton Texas convent historical marker
The historical marker
Photo courtesy Jason Penney

After severe droughts, the agricultural dreams of the Germans were dashed and they were forced to move to greener pastures (in this case Louisiana pastures).

As the population that named the town Marienfeld dwindled, the town was renamed again (1890) by the schoolchildren of the town who chose (presumably with some help from faculty) Stanton after Lincoln's Secretary of War and Supreme Court Justice Edwin McMasters Stanton.

The Jail

The old jail has served a variety of jobs, including museum and library. Originally part of the old courthouse, the holding cells were kept after the courthouse was razed and the (then new) jail built around them

Stanton Texas jail
The Stanton Jail. Photo courtesy Jason Penney
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cross in Stanton Texas cemetery
The Catholic Cemetery
Photo courtesy Jason Penney

A 1938 tornado hit the town and closed the Catholic academy, which had already been suffering low enrollment. A 1950 flood did considerable, but not catastrophic damage. Shortly thereafter oil was discovered and the economy recovered.

In 1977, the Texas and Pacific Railroad discontinued service 96 years after arriving in Grelton.

Martin County Courthouse
Stanton Texas theater
Stanton's Texas Theater
Photo courtesy Jason Penney

Stanton Chrinicles

  • The 1939 Martin County Explosion by Mike Cox
  • Joe Pruno by Mike Cox
    The story of Joe A. Pruno reads like a Victorian-era dime novel, complete with ample exaggeration, outright fabrication and historical inaccuracies... . [He] was buried in the town’s Catholic cemetery. If he ever had a tombstone, it has not been located. Neither has his treasure.
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    Big Spring
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