School Alumni Reunion
who live in California and were members of the Toyah High Class of
194l organized a school reunion held in October, 1991 (it was their
50th reunion). This is a picture of the alumni who attended from all
over the United States. I am wearing my white letterman sweater with
large T (in the first row). We were the Toyah Buffaloes."
- Courtesy Jesse L. Moore, Jr.
Photos from Jesse L. Moore, Jr.
March 12, 2002
I was born in Woodlawn, Texas (just north of Marshall) on February
29, 1928. My Dad, Mother, Sister & I moved to Toyah in 1932. My
brother Watson was born in Pecos. I see that he sent you an e-mail
last year after I told him about your web-site. Watson retired last
year as Controller at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and he
and his wife live on a ranch near Roby, Texas.
Our mother played third base on the Toyah Women's PTA baseball team.
She is kneeling to the very right in the first row. They played
teams from Big Springs
Blanca and at towns in between.
This is a quote from "Toyah Taproots."
"On September 14, 1896, the Reeves County Grand Jury indicted J.
B. Miller, charging him with the murder of Sheriff G. A. Frazer,
that he, with malice aforethought, did kill G. A. Frazer with two
shots from a shotgun."
The story goes on for almost two pages and includes this "at any
rate, a lynch party took over, and Jim Miller was hanged." This
is found on pages 46-47 of Toyah Taproots.
On page 49 is a picture of Miss Ella Frazer, sister to Sheriff Bud
Frazer. "It was said that when her brother was killed by Jim Miller,
Ella Frazer rode with the posse that went after Miller." - Jesse
L. Moore, Jr. Centennial, Colorado
March 12, 2002
In October, 1991, my letter sweater was 47 years old and a little
tight. I have recently passed my 74th birthday. - Jesse L. Moore,
Jr. Centennial, Colorado
I love your
web-site for Toyah, Texas. I spent most of my summers growing up
in Toyah.. By the time I came around, the school had already closed,
and the town would already be considered a ghost town. My father
grew up and graduated from Toyah in the late 60's. My grandfather
ranched and farmed just south of town up until his death a few years
I have many great boyhood memories of exploring the old buildings
around town after the chores were done. I still have many of the
cool artifacts I found while searching old home sites. I believe
the building which sits south of the interstate and has "Bar and
Grill" on the front is a remnant prop building for an old movie
that was filmed in the area. The movie is called "Fandango" and
I was told the Toyah gym was used as the setting for the scene of
a dance in the movie. I would appreciate confirmation, but that
seems to be born out in watching the movie.
One thing that troubles me about Toyah is that for the whole town,
there is only one historical marker with just the most general information
concerning the town. Each of the sites photographed and mentioned
deserves recognition, and that is something that I'd like to help
change. - Brad Gibson, Midland, Texas, May 07, 2002
I would love
to get more information on Toyah, Texas from the late 1800's to
mid 1900's. My grandmother Margie Lee Holmes(Brady) was born there
in 1904 to J.F. and Josephine Holmes. Any information would be much
appreciated! - Alison Sargent, Email : email@example.com
..... I was
born in Toyah on Feb. 29,1928. I grew up there and went to school
there, my father was a car inspector for the T&P railroad. When
I was 14 years old I got my first job as a dishwasher at the Toyah
cafe, working the night shift from 11:00 p.m. untill 7:00 a.m. for
one dollar a day. Then at the age of 16 I went to work for the T&P
railroad on the section gang working for J.B. Tolson track forman.
When I turned 17 I left school and went into the Air Force. where
I spent the next 3 years. when I was discharged I went back to school
and got my high school deploma. ..... I will keep looking for things
that might help you with this web pages. Keep up the good work.
I hope more people from my period in Toyah get involved and we can
get some e-mail addresses of people we have lost contact with over
the years. You may put my e-mail on your web page if you like. maby
i will hear from some of my old friends from home. Yours Truly George
Hawthorne, May 06, 2001
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
YOUR WEB PAGE TODAY FROM A FRIEND OF MINE IN COLORADO WHO WAS BORN
AND RAISED IN TOYAH. ALSO WE WERE BORN ON THE SAME DAY. FEB.
29, 1928 AND BOTH LIVED THERE UNTIL WE WENT IN THE SERVICE ABOUT
1946. IF YOU WOULD LIKE SOME HISTORY ABOUT TOYAH PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
I WOULD LIKE TO GIVE YOU ALL THE HELP I CAN. - THANK YOU. GEORGE
HAWTHORNE. April 07, 2001
I'm the other
half of the "Leap Year" guys. You have already heard from George
Hawthorne. I lived in Toyah from 1932 through 1945 and went
all through elementary and high school there. My father was District
Roadmaster with the Texas & Pacific Railway. TOYAH TAPROOTS was
copyrighted and published in 1984 by Nortex Press, a Division of
Eakin Publications, Inc., in Austin, Texas. This book was compiled
by The Toyah Historical & Centennial Committee. I found your Web
site and sent to George. Really appreciate what you are doing. More
later! - Jesse L, Moore, Jr. April 08, 2001
of the building as "school" is actually an old hotel on the top
and a mercantile store below. The picture of the "High School" is
an El-Hi school. I attended grades 1-4 here and my brother 1-12.
I lived in Toyah from 1936 to 1946. My father was J.L. Moore
the District Roadmaster for the Texas & Pacific RR.
(Texas Escapes) is a great idea. Keep up the good work. - W.
Moore, April 10, 2001
from Toyah High School, class of 1952. John Billieter and
I were the only two seniors that year. My Dad (L.E. Adams) had a
grocery store and a dry goods store on the east end of the building
that is shown on main st., the rest of the building was hotel rooms.
I think that is correct! This building on main st. is not the school.
- Alvin R. Adams, April 21, 2001
Book Hotel Here
Letters from John A. Taylor, Class of 1967
I found the site of Toyah today and it was a little sad to see the
state of the places where I once worked, played and went to school.
The picture you identified as a school was actually our community
center and Mr. Thompson's barber shop.
The old school that was two story was built in 1912 but in
the 60's it was our gym, because the second story floor was torn
out and the basketball court was put in. I went to school there
One time there were 7 saloons and an Air Force base located there.
While I was growing up The old hotel was in use by the railroad
people because Toyah was used as a roundhouse for the passenger
trains in those days.
The old town is about gone but my fond memories of this great town
will never die. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting
this site on the net. - John A. Taylor Class of 1967
I would like to share some information about a picture that Mr.
Thompson, our town barber had in his shop. The story about this
picture was told to me and the other young boys who would go to
the barber shop. Mr. Thompson had a very old picture of three men
that where hanged in a barn by the neck and there was a small boy
and his dog looking in. This was a real picture of a hanging
and Mr. Thompson told us that these men were in a poker game
with the local sheriff in Toyah at the old hotel and they were cheating
and there was gunplay and the sheriff was killed. The three men
were caught in New Mexico and were hanged for murder.
When I lived there
the Scott Hotel was still operating with the owners Kenneth
Scott and his mother, she was in her 90's at the time in 1961. The
old hotel was still the same as it was in the 1880's and the railroad
conductors would stay there until the train returned to change personnel.
Toyah was the Roundhouse, as they called it, because those
conductors from Big Spring,
Texas would get off at Toyah and the conductors from El Paso would
take the train from Toyah to El Paso and on the return the Big Spring
conductors would take the train from Toyah to Big Spring.
I attended school there from my 7th to 12th grade and we had 4 people
in our senior class. We played 6 man football, basketball, tennis
and track for the Toyah Buffaloes and our school colors were
black and white. There were 8 classrooms in the whole school for grades
1-12. Our classes had one teacher which had two grade levels in it
and they would teach one level and then the next.
I am a school teacher/coach and owe alot to the education that I received
at Toyah I.S.D. Somewhere around 1970 the Supreme Court
of Texas ruled in favor of Pecos I.S.D for taking over Toyah
school. Toyah School Board and citizens fought for 7 years to keep
their school but lost in the court ruling. Now that the school was
no longer in Toyah, the lifeblood of this once great western town
died because the youth was taken away to another town. I will find
some pictures and send them. - John A. Taylor
Book Hotel Here
I stumbled across your excellent web site, which includes a section
of several pages on Toyah. I am from Ohio, but I first visited Toyah
back in 1974 while traveling down interstate 20/10 from Cleveland
to Tucson. I discovered the Fina truck stop at the freeway exit.
It was a wonderful place, albeit rustic. They had the best chili
on the entire length of I-20 and I-10 across West Texas. The proprietor
often was seated right in the restaurant, wearing a white cowboy
hat. Little wooden games where you were supposed to remove the pegs
were installed at every table. I think that they cleaned the bathrooms
at least once a year, but the food was wonderful.
Once I started stopping in Toyah, I returned every year for another
bowl of chili. One year I took a little drive around town and discovered
all of the old abandoned buildings that are on your web site. There
is no publicity at all that Toyah is pretty much a ghost town, but
it was clear to see that is is when you wandered around. One year
the front door was open at the school, and so I wandered in. One
of the letter writers on your web site pointed out that the school
was mainly a gym, and he was right. I have a picture around someplace
of the Toyah basketball arena, which was the "school." In subsequent
years somebody boarded up the front door, as is shown on your web
site, and thus you can't see the Toyah basketball floor anymore.
In 1998 or 1999 I stopped in Toyah as usual on the way to Tucson,
and I was very sad to find that the truck stop had gone out of business.
I stopped at a tavern/restaurant next door, that seemed to be the
only business in Toyah. They also had chili, but it was a highly
inferior version compared to the old truck stop. It even had beans.
Ugh. It seemed clear to me that a new modern expanded truck stop
in Pecos had run the Toyah truck stop out of business. I have eaten
at the Pecos truck stop, and they should be ashamed of their chili.
But, I guess truck drivers are looking for something other than
chili nowadays. They should also be ashamed of themselves.
The Toyah truck stop sold a book about the history of Toyah in a
maroon binding that looked like a high school yearbook. It apparently
was produced on the occasion of some local historical date. It was
called Toyah Taproots, and I still have my copy of this book.
I haven't been to Toyah since 1999, but I was extremely happy to
see your web site memorial. I always thought that Toyah was the
most entertaining town west of the Pecos in Texas, although that
may not be saying much, and John Madden may disagree, given his
fascination with Van Horn.
Toyah has the additional distinction as the first place where you
get a decent view of the mountains while driving westbound on I-20.
This is a welcome site after about 1,000 miles of flat desert east
of Toyah. The main other place of distinction on this route between
Texarkana and El Paso is Thurber, another town that has fortunately
made your web site. Thurber still has two restaurants, including
the New York Hill one that you discuss on the site. There is a second
restaurant in a much more historic brick building right in the center
of the old town. This restaurant used to occupy another historic
building right at the freeway exit with a gas station, but one year
I found that it had unfortunately burned down, leading to the relocation.
There are historical pictures in both restaurants. Quite a bit of
the ruins of Thurber can still be seen.
Maybe a perspective like mine from somebody who never lived in Thurber
or Toyah might be of some interest to you. - George Zeller,
February 02, 2002
Subject: Oh Boy!!!! Loved this !!!!!!
Hello, What a welcome site this was!!!!! Being an over the road
truckdriver with my husband--I have the opportunity to travel through
several of the towns ( or used to be towns) in West Texas. Being
from Indiana--these places have been a source of fascination and
stimulation to my imagination while driving thru Texas from Texarkana
to El Paso. Without these places on the way--I am afraid I would
end up with the rattlesnakes out of sheer boredom!!
I just read the site on Toyah, Texas--Fascinating--now I want to
know more and will surely be a regular to this site to see if anyone
has added anything. It broke my heart when Rose's Desert Cafe closed--best
hamburgers and her homemade potato salad was wonderful--sorry i
never tried the chili--but I did have the pleasure of eating the
chili at the old truckstop!!
At the present time--the highlight of my trip west is to watch for
the 3 wild baby pigs at the milemarker 23 --they are hanging out
between the picnic area and town. My next quest, is to find out
the story of the old building on I-20 that stands alone on the south
side of the interstate--It has a sign that says "Bar and Grill"
on the front and one old out building sitting to the southwest of
it. The mile marker escapes me at this time but I will get it on
my return to El Paso this week and post it to see if anyone can
enlighten me. Until the next time--take care and keep up the great
work. Sincerely, Kathy Price, Ossian, Indiana
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