main street in the 1930s.|
Photo courtesy William G. Howell
History in a Pecan ShellShafter
became a mining town in 1880, when John W. Spencer discovered silver ore.
Spencer showed a sample to Col. William R. Shafter, commander of Fort Davis,
who had it assayed. Shafter shared the information with two of his fellow officers.
They then convinced the state to allow them to buy huge tracts of school land
around the site in 1880. The three made Spencer a partner (at least verbally)
but although they now owned the land, they lacked the capital to mine the silver.
In 1882 they leased some of their holdings to a California mining group.
A new company - The Presidio Mining Company was formed. In 1884, the company
installed new machinery and the town of Shafter was born.
mine in the 1890s
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
Shafter post office as it once appeared in Texas Highways Magazine.
Photo courtesy TXDoT
The post office was granted in 1885.
partner sued when the company started mining on land deeded under his wife's name.
The case went to the Texas Supreme Court who ruled in favor of the mine over the
disgruntled partner in 1887. Operations increased and Shafter became a full-fledged
"company town" with the miners totally dependent on the company.
only had 110 people around 1900. The mine closed and reopened several times throughout
the 20s and 30s.
By 1943 Shafter's population had grown to 1,500 with the
economy buoyed by nearby Cavalry Fort D. A. Russell and Marfa Army Air
Field. When the posts were closed at the end of WWII,
the population shrank to only 20.
The town was used for early scenes
of the 1968 science fiction movie "The Andromeda Strain".
at Shafter by
William G. Howell
As a child I always heard the story of my grandfather killing
a Texas Ranger in Shafter, Texas. Although it was said to be in self defense,
he was almost being lynched for it... more
showing Shafter, Casa
Piedra, Plata and region
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Rock near Shafter|
courtesy William G. Howell
Iím with Rio Grande Mining Company and we are in the process of re-opening the
Shafter Silver Mine. We are also working on re-opening the old company store as
a coffee shop/museum. - Sandy Bruce, September 27, 2012
History in Shafter
I was born in Shafter Texas in March 1942. A lot of my family history was in that
town. My grandfather Macedonio Carrillo Sr immigrated from Mexico in the 1900s.
He married my grandmother Refugia Ramirez whose family lived there also. My grandfather
Macedonio had 4 children there. My father's name was Antonio Carrillo who was
Macedonio's son. Both men worked in the silver mines. My grandfather got sick
from working in the mines and passed away. When the mines close my family moved
to Big Spring, Texas.
I was born in 1942 in Shafter Texas. My full name is Yolanda Medrano Carrillo
now Payne. I am doing a family tree and click on the history of Shafter and was
real amazed. 3 of my other sibling were also born there. My great Uncle Reyes
Carrillo got a job with the City and stayed there till about 20 years ago. He
raised all his family there also. On my grandmother side the Ramirez I understand
there is more history also. The Ramirez also migrate from Mexico to Shafter. Refugia's
father was Bivian Ramirez who I understand was a real cowboy. Bivian Ramirez dad
was Francisco Ramirez. As I start tracing the family roots many of them lead to
Shafter, Presidio, and Ojinaga.
I want to leave my children this legacy. - Yolanda Carrillo Payne, February
I can solve the murder of Joseph H Diamond's grandfather. Mr Diamondís grandfather
was murdered in Presidio, TX
in 1952, I was living in Presidio
then. There is a book about Arthur Hill, Texas Ranger entitled Law on the Last
Frontier by S.E. Spinks which tells of Ranger Hillís life. Hill investigated
the murder of Joe Kalmore and the story is one of many in the book. The names
of the people are in the story and they were wax smugglers from Ojinaga, Mex.
By the way Shafter is coming to life as they are going to reopen the silver
mine, hiring 150 people. - John C Darst, April 14, 2011
Unsolved Murder in Presidio|
Dear TE, My Grandfather arrived in Shafter Texas in 1924 and opened The New York
Store selling dry goods to the townspeople. He purchased two lots in the town
with the intention of making Shafter his home. My Mother, born in 1927, spent
the first three years of her life there. In 1930 my Grandfather, Grandmother and
Mother moved to Presidio along with the store and changing the name to The Joseph
H. Kalmore Company. Grandad ran the store in Presidio until 1952.
1947 my Grandmother passed away in Ojinaga, Mexico from cancer. My Mother married
in 1948 and moved to El
Paso to raise her family. After her passing in 2000 the land in Shafter was
passed on to me. I have been seeking more information regarding my Grandfather.
He was murdered during a robbery at his store in July of 1952. No one was ever
brought to justice for the crime. My Mother was his only child and she was devastated
by the crime and could not bring herself to return to Presidio,
although she did talk about returning a year before her death. I have visited
Shafter several times and find it's surroundings and history very interesting.
Shafter is a real gem in the rough. - Joseph H. Diamond, El Paso, Texas,, December
Dear TE, It was very interesting to see some information
concerning Shafter, Texas. My mother, Eliza Duke was born there in 1914. She had
two older brothers (David Duke and Alfred Duke) that worked in the silver mines.
My grandfather was Frank Duke Jr. who married Fausta Hernandez. My great grandfather,
Frank Duke Sr. married Estanislada Hernandez. I will probably visit that area
some time next year and will try to get additional information to include.- Ernest
M. Perez, San Angelo, December 09, 2006
read with much interest an article about Shafter. I was born there in 1940, my
father was a minister there preaching to the Mexican worker families. Are there
any records of a congregation or church (Assembly of God)? Dad's name is Santos
Becerra. - Santos Becerra Jr. San Angelo, Tx., December 27, 2003
got the wrong movie being made in Shafter in 1968. It was "The Andromeda Strain."
I was there when it was made -- living in Presidio, but watched with interest
as Shafter transformed into a movie set. |
is a funny story that occurred during the making of "The Andromeda Strain". An
old woman from Presidio,
Ma Daniels, was driving down the Presidio highway and spotted the activity in
Shafter. She drove thru the set where "dead" people were tied to buzzards who
were feasting, scattering buzzards and people and really messing up the set. Ma,
included in a book or two, was one of the larger than life characters from Presidio/Big
Bend. ... - Martha Rhea, June 13, 2002