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IRA, TEXAS

Suggested slogan:
"We could be famous for where President Benjamin Harrison's son was killed by Indians, but we didn't want to profit from a tragedy."

Scurry County, West Texas / Panhandle
State Hwy 350 and FM 1606
13 miles SE of Snyder
36 miles NE of Big Spring
Population: 250 (1990)

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Entering Ira, Texas
Entering Ira
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
History in a Pecan shell

Before Ira became Ira, it was a campground for Captain R. B. Marcy's Expedition (see Big Spring). Marcy was charged with opening a wagon trail to California in 1849. One of Marcy's Lieutenants was Mongomery Harrison, son of President Benjamin Harrison. Our source (Little Towns of Texas) was short on information, but did say that Marcy's camp was in a Chinaberry grove at a creek.

We later learned from our "most reliable source" in Big Spring, Mr. Doyle Phillips, that Mongomery had been ordered to scout the area, but it was assumed he would take a group of men with him. Instead he went alone. His body was found the next day, stripped and scalped. The tracks and other indications pointed to Kiowas. The corpse was packed in lime and charcoal and was shipped back to Ft. Smith, Arkansas.
Ira Cemetery
The Ira Cemetery
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
To add some sadness to the story - Lt. Harrison had met a young woman heading west and they had become engaged. The marriage was to take place when her family reached their destination of California. This adds to the mystery of why Lt. Harrison would ride out alone (or with the prospect of marriage looming - it perhaps explains it).
A former residence of Ira
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp

We were unable to verify a date for the town's founding. But Harrison's death occuried on October 7th, 1849. However, Ira celebrated their centennial in 1976, which should mean something.

Ira Green was this town's namesake. Mr. Green went into business here sometime in the early 1890s. His wagon broke down while he was traveling from Colorado, Texas to someplace west of Colorado. (Colorado didn't add the "City" to its name until 1939). When Ira unloaded his wagon to make repairs, the merchandise-starved settlers came and bought him out. He went back to Colorado and loaded up his wagon again, and sold out again - without having to break a wheel this time.
old cotton gin in Ira Tx
Ira's Gin
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
He then decided to open a store. As in most towns, the store soon became a hub of activity and in Ira's case, the store also became a stagecoach stop and mail drop. 1893 was the year the first school was opened and the post office came in 1896. Naturally Mr. Green became postmaster. Since there already was a Greenville, the name Ira was submitted and accepted.
old gas station in Ira, Texas
A former gas station in Ira
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
Scurry County's first oil well came in about a mile south of Ira in the early 1920s. Overnight it became one of the largest oil fields in the world, according to local sources.
Pumpjacks in Texas
Pumpjack City
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
The 1990 census is half of what it was in 1980, and while we await the results of the 2000 census, we'll report the 1990 findings of 250 people.
road sign to Snyder and Big Spring Texas
Leaving Ira
Photo Courtesy Charlene Beatty Beauchamp
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Ira, Texas Forum

Subject: Re: Benjamin Harrison's son in Ira, Texas
I love your site & read some of it every day. It's a great way to plan little road excursions around the state & I love to cemetery hunt. Reading about Ira was interesting, but my question is that if President Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 & he wasn't married until 1853, how could he have had a son who was killed by the Indians in 1849? I would think that would be impossible. Are you sure that you don't mean President William Henry Harrison (our 9th President)? Thank you for your help in this matter & keep up the great work!!! Sincerely, Ms. Kay Garsea, February 19, 2008

John Troesser
Our thanks for the group effort involved with preparing the Ira page. Charlene Beauchamp provided the photos, Doyle Phillips provided the information on Lt. Harrison's death, and Lt. Mongomery provided The interesting story.
Sources used and consulted were:
The Handbook of Texas Online
Little Towns of Texas, Jayroe Graphics, Jacksonville, Texas, 1981 &
Getting Started by Jake Pickle
More photos by Charlene Beatty Beauchamp


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