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GRAY MULE, TEXAS
AKA
Edgin, Texas

Texas Ghost Town
Floyd County, Texas Panhandle
On the Caprock Canyons State Park Nature Trail
Entrance 5 miles South of Quitaque on FM 1065,
then 2 miles west on FM 689

Population: 0

Gray Mule, Texas Area Hotels
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Gray Mule Tx - Last Structure
The last standing structure in Gray Mule.
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2010

Remembering Gray Mule

by Billie Mayhall Freeman

Gray Mule was officially named Edgin as it was at first a place where the trains stopped to put on more water for its engines which I guess were steam. I am not sure of who started calling it Gray Mule but it never showed up on maps, and probably neither did Edgin. It was always called Gray Mule by locals and probably everyone else except the train folks.

Mayhall Family in Gray Mule, Texas
Gray Mule 1930s Vintage Photos >
Courtesy Billie Mayhall Freeman
The School
When we lived in that area, Gray Mule had a school up to maybe the sixth grade which was three rooms. One room was for the first through the third and another room for the 4th and up. The other had been planned for growth which never happened and was used for storage and school parties and activites for the public. I remember a cousin winning a jar of pickles for being the ugliest man there and I was so proud to have a celebrity in the family. In later years he never remembered that. I never forgot it. There were outdoor toilets with catalogs when we were lucky. The school was a nice brick building across the road north from the store. There was also a teacher's residence on the grounds. Our two teachers were a married couple named Roy L. Jamison and his wife, whose name just slipped from my instant memory. It will come back for brief visits.

The "Graveyard" and the Land
We returned to that valley often over the years and saw it as these structures slowly disintegrated and were plundered. The foundation showed up for a very long time but we saw no sign of it for the last 20 years perhaps. That is a wild guess. The "graveyard" remains down the road west of where the school stood and in a pasture to the north and is now well marked, but for a long time was hard to find for strangers. It is on private land. It remained well tended when we were there last, about 3 years ago. There are quite a few of the pioneer's descendants living in that area still, more in Quitaque now. But some remain on farms out that way also. The land is marginal for farming and still depends primarily on rain which varies widely from year to year. It is beautiful scenery there just at the foot of the red clay caprock drop off from the high plains of Texas.

Identifying the Last Standing Structure
The tank in the photo is probably the one that fed the water for the trains. I dont ever remember having seen that structure standing alone there in later years, but the view north to the railroad tracks from the road was obstructed by mesquite trees during the spring and falls when we usually took our trips there. I heard the trains more than I saw them and they were never very frequent except for the Doodle Bug that later carried the mail up and back from the plains area. The windmill and water storage tank and buildings below them near the store (as shown partially in my photo) are built in the same style and I remember it well as it was cool in summer to play in the small building and the door setups and tank appear much the same.
Gray Mule, Texas store,  owner, and cotton gin

"A photo of my Dad standing in front of the store's plate glass window."
"The Cotton Gin (background) was owned or run by the Keisling family."

Life & Times
I had a pet hen raised from a little chicken that shared that back yard with me. It would get in the cars of folks who left their car doors open which was common then. It would always be returned as our friends knew it was my pet. But one day it got in the wrong car and was not seen by me again. I still think of Sweet Pea from time to time even though I have seen many pets come and go since then.

I have always had good memories of my childhood there, of the good people we knew, the horses we rode to school at times and when we walked across Quitaque creek, one of the tributaries leading into the Pease River which joins the Red River which we called uphill both ways. This was because of what seemed to be at the time, a steep incline on either side of the creek through which ran a little stream most of the time and could be fierce after a heavy rain up on the caprock. At those times it came down with a roar and those few families near enough would go down to "see the water come down". Large boulders were not uncommon and getting cars and wagons stuck was not uncommon.

Gray Mule is located between the Los Lingos and Quitaque Creeks which had no bridges over any of those crossings when we moved there in the early 1930's. It still rained at that time, but before long that stopped but worse things were in store, such as almost no rain at all for a very long time. We were on the inside edge of the dust bowl during the same years as the Great Depression. That was the reason we had to move to Quitaque. Before the 1950s my family had all left that area for the high plains and no more farming. I was the only member of my family that appeared to remember it with such kind thoughts. But then I was the happiest most cheerful of the four girls then later two much younger brothers. Me and my brothers are the only surviving members of my family.

With many thanks and kind regards,
Billie Mayhall Freeman, September 16, 2010

More Gray Mule, Texas Old Photos
Quitaque Canyon TX - Clarity Tunnel and Section Crew

Tunnel and Section Crew in snow
1930s photos courtesy Billie Mayhall Freeman

Gray Mule, Texas Old Photos

"I started school at Gray Mule and my Dad ran the store there for a short time. I have some photos of the railroad tunnels...." - Billie Mayhall Freeman

more next page

Gray Mule, Texas Today

Photographer's Note:
Gray Mule was just up the road north of the cemetery.
Interesting how the spelling has changed. - Barclay Gibson, September 15, 2010
Gray Mule Tx - Grey Mule Cemetery Sign
Grey Mule Cemetery Sign
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, March 2010
More Texas Cemeteries
Gray Mule Historical Marker on Gray Mule Communty, Texas
Gray-Mule Community Historical Marker
Photo courtesy David Higgins, 2005
History in a Pecan Shell
Not listed in the Handbook of Texas, Gray Mule and Edgin were suggested for inclusion by David Higgins of Lubbock, Texas who also provided some contemporary photos and the information below:

"Gray Mule was a thriving community in the 1920's that included a cotton gin, schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and even a baseball diamond.

We were able to find the only remnants of this community at the Edgin Cemetery, which is shown on the historical marker (it says "Gray Mule cemetery" but the actual name is Edgin cemetery).

The Nature Trail
This nature trail is part of an old railroad that stretched from South Plains, Texas to Estelline, Texas and includes the "Clarity Tunnel" that was constructed / carved out of a mountain in 1927. The tunnel is about 2.5 miles southwest of the Gray Mule marker and measures about 1/8 mile in length. It is now home to hundreds of Mexican free-tail bats (completely harmless). We have visited the tunnel twice this year and were totally amazed at how the railroad crews were able to build this huge tunnel......in 1927. It is still in very good condition.

The entrance to the nature trail is located 5 miles South of Quitaque on FM 1065, then 2 miles west on FM 689."
- David Higgins of Lubbock, Texas, September 13, 2005
"Unknown Cowboy
First Grave
Approx. 1890"
Photo courtesy David Higgins, 2005
Gray Mule Texas Historical Marker, Edgin  Siding
Edgin Siding - Gray-Mule Community Historical Marker
Photo courtesy David Higgins, 2005
Gray Mule Historical Marker, Texas
Gray Mule Historical Marker
Photo courtesy David Higgins, 2005
Quitaque Canyon Trail
Quitaque Canyon Trail
Photo courtesy
David Higgins, 2005
Quitaque Ranch Headquarter Marker 1936

Quitaque Ranch Headquarter Marker, 1936
Photo (taken at the same cemetery) shows this site was the original headquarters of the Quitaque Ranch." - David Higgins, 2005 photo

Painting of Gray Mule Texas in 1930s
"A painting of what Gray Mule looked like back in the 1930's by Dude Purcell." - Courtesy Renita Purcell Marshall
Gray Mule Texas
"My grandparents - Otis and Bessie Purcell - built the first grocery store in Gray Mule in 1929. Their fourth child Otis Dean was born in 1930 in the living quarters of the grocery store.

This is a painting of what Gray Mule looked like back in the 1930's. Dude Purcell, my great uncle, painted the picture from memory for my Dad Otis Dean Purcell. My family donated the painting in my dad's memory to the Farimont Baptist Church in 2005 after my Dad died. Fairmont Baptist Church is between Gray Mule and Quitaque, Texas." - Renita Purcell Marshall, September 29, 2010
Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact us.

Gray Mule Vintage Photos
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Gray Mule, Texas
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