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
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.
Sisters of Mercy Convent
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 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
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
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.