street in the 1930s.
Photo courtesy William G. Howell
History in a Pecan Shell
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
The post office
was granted in 1885.
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.
Shafter 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".
in the 1890s
Photo courtesy texasoldphotos.com
post office as it once appeared in Texas Highways Magazine.
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
Photo 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
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
and Ojinaga. I want to leave my children this legacy. - Yolanda
Carrillo Payne, February 14, 2012
Dear TE, 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,
and 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.
In 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 30, 2006
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
I 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
*You 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.
There 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
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
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