in a Pecan Shell
The town was named for "Colonel" B.
B. Groom (1812-1906), an English-born cattleman who imported shorthorn and Angus
cattle. Groom, who had a substantial estate in Kentucky, lost most of his fortune
and by 1882, as a widower in his 70's, he was hired to be general manager for
the Francklyn Land and Cattle Company.
To his credit, Groom was the first
to hire well-drillers to provide water for the ranch's cattle, however, his enthusiastic
acquisition of land for the Francklyn Company caused its bankruptcy (and subsequent
reorganization as the White Deer Lands Trust) in 1886.
Groom, with his
son Harry, became managers for the Mortimer Land Company of Chicago. These leased
holdings in SE Gray County were for years known as "the Groom pasture." Colonel
Groom entertained guests at this well-tended ranch until the manager of the White
Deer Lands refused to renew the lease. Son Harry left for El
Paso, where he eventually became president of the American Livestock Association
and Colonel Groom left Texas, eventually returning
to England, where he died in 1906.
In 1902 the town of Groom was platted to be on the approaching Chicago, Rock Island
and Gulf Railway. A store / post office was established that same year.
By 1906, the town was thriving with a bank, hotel, lumberyard, school, barber
and several stores. Groom suffered one fire in 1912 and another in 1915.
In 1928 the town's infrastructure was installed and the main street was paved.
Populations of Groom:
1911 - 250
1931 - 564
1972 - 808
1984 - 736
1990 - 613
Along the highway in Groom, this cross, reputed to be the 2nd
largest in the Western Hemisphere, stands tall over the Texas plains.
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