White Deer Land Museum

Pampa 1892-1902

On September 18, 1892, George Tyng wrote to Foster’s assistant, Russell Benedict: “You tickle me to death with your suggestions so exactly in accord with my own views and judgment … town site Pampa , free lots to builders schoolhouse, hotel and flour mills.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

“The town is already laid off and staked sufficiently for prompt delivery of lots without being staked ostentatiously enough to excite jealousies. …

“We have the ‘hotel’ (boarding house of White Deer Lands) already here … quite good enough for the present. Children are still too scattered, though enough for a school if living closer together … they are coming … and so is wheat enough to run a mill. As I wrote Kingsmill (Andrew Kingsmill, London banker), ‘Big thing, big expense,’ preparing his mind for possible needs. This 40 acres and outfit at Pampa are ‘stunning’ advertisements. Everything grows well here, and we are surrounded by a profusion of agricultural comforts and luxuries.”

On March 11, 1893, Harland Loren Case, son of Sam and Emily Case, was born at the boarding house of White Deer Lands. Harland was the first Anglo baby born at Pampa . A dress which he wore as a small boy is in the White Deer Land Museum . Emily made the dress from an old red and white pin stripe shirt belonging to George Tyng whose name is embroidered on the front of the dress at the bottom.

Tyng’s optimism in 1892 turned to pessimism in 1893. In addition to the confusion brought about by the national election of 1892, followed by the financial panic, of 1893, the weather was extremely dry over all the Southwest, and drouth conditions extended even into England . The problem of water supply became critical.

Part of White Deer Lands was leased to the Matador Land and Cattle Company … 348,000 acres, not including the railroad right-of-way or 960 acres at Pampa which were fenced or about to be fenced. The lease was to extend for two years from July 1, 1893, with option to renew for another year. Tyng wrote that Survey 25 in Block 7 (area of White Deer) would be occupied by the Matadors until June, 1895, and that there was no prospect of selling land for a year or so.

Due to the stagnation in all business affairs, Tyng was-often absent without pay from White Deer Lands during the years from 1894 to 1896. He arranged with J.C. Paul of the Panhandle Bank to disburse all funds connected with the protection and maintenance of White Deer Lands property. He left A.A. Holland in charge of the White Deer farm, and Henry Taylor was hired to live at the Pampa railroad station to protect the property there and to show the lands to any prospective buyer who might appear.

On September 20, 1894, Tyng reported to Foster: “At Pampa in Gray County you have a modest improvement near the railway and near the wagon road through that part of the country. It attracts much attention from all passers and is an ideal advertisement.

“Viewers of the land can get board and lodging at Pampa from the Case family You have there a light wagon and camping outfit with which (Henry) Taylor can convey people over the property.

“A number of families have settled on state land in Block B2 (area of Lefors), which, however, is out of sight of the main line of travel.

“The railroad company is now supplying its locomotives with wells, after having hauled water in cars several years across White Deer Lands.

On November 28, 1896, Tyng wrote: “J.L. Lewis (the wolf hunter) is allowed to pasture his 50 head in the east part of Block 2 ( Roberts County ) for policing the east fence and that part of the block.

“The buildings are in good order. Those at Pampa and the fenced section around them should not be leased until all the land is leased and for a period long enough to not require your maintaining a base or employees down there. The house is occupied by the family of S.C. Case, a section foreman of the railroad, who keep house as rent and furnish six meals at $1.00 to me or your employees, and meals and lodging to business visitors at $.25 each.

“They also look out for the traveling public, which is a burden where houses are so far apart. The owners of White Deer Lands can not keep tavern without great waste and loss, and open house will not do.

“The Case family owns a small house on the railroad section grounds and can and will move out of yours on a day’s notice.

” At Pampa Thomas Lane has built a small neat house (221 East Atchison ) upon your land close to the railroad. He would like to buy the lot but will move on notice, either drawing his house over on to the railroad land or selling it to you for $150.00.”

In May 1897, newlyweds Charles T. and Sophia McCarty came from Vernon in a covered wagon … a journey of three weeks. The McCartys were the third family to live at Pampa .

At the time of their arrival, Pampa was only the headquarters for shipping cattle, and there were no stores. The McCarty’s first home was one room over a dugout (123 East Atchison ). Sophia told that on some days she could see droves of antelope go past their home.

McCarty, a pumper for the railroad, installed Pampa ‘s first bathtub in the pump house. The tub was tin with a wooden rim around it. On Saturday nights cowboys and ranch hands would line up in front of the pump house for the distance of a block. The price of a bath was 10 cents, or 15 cents if the McCartys provided soap and towels.

Fred McCarty, born in 1898, was the second Anglo baby born at Pampa . The other McCarty children were Charles and Amanda (Bobbie).

In 1902, McCarty installed the first telephone at Pampa . When a mail order company mistakenly sent two telephones instead of the one he had ordered, he put one telephone in his house and the other in the pump house near the railroad. He installed the telephones himself; the wires were piped underground.

The last two years of the nineteenth century brought brighter prospects in both land and cattle in Texas and the Southwest, and Tyng’s hopes were revived.

A number of offers were made for White Deer leases. Among these was that of Murdo McKenzie of the Matadors. He offered five cents an acre for 200,000 acres. The headquarters of the Matadors on White Deer Lands from 1899 to 1902 was in the boarding house at Pampa . David Somerville was the manager.

In 1899, a young cowboy named Charlie Earl, who was working for the Matadors, got his arm mangled in a windmill, He rode his horse to the railroad station where his wounds were bandaged by Sophia McCarty and Emma Lane , the only two women there at the time. This was the only way to doctor the cowboy as all the men were away at work. The cowboy recovered and continued to work for the Matadors in South America.

On July 2, 1900, Tyng wrote to Foster: “The railway company has now fenced both sides of its lines, wherever we had not already fenced, from the southeast corner of Block 2 as far as Survey 27 of Block 7. It has also put in a second well at Pampa where it maintains a steam pump and the largest storage tank on the line. It also has there its largest and best section house and one of its best stock yards with every facility for rapid dispatch of large herds.

In June, 1901, Tyng wrote: “On the south edge of Survey 26, the railway company has put in a new side-track and called it “Hoover.”

“(In addition to your buildings at Pampa, the railway company now has there two wells, steam pump, an unusually large steel reservoir, boiler house, small station, small house for the pumper, tool house and a large section house with fenced yard and planted trees.”

In November, 1901, Foster sent Benedict to Texas to investigate the possibilities of establishing a town at Pampa . Benedict and Tyng spent a month traveling over White Deer Lands and adjacent territory in the Texas Panhandle.

Benedict talked with a number of the earliest settlers, including Perry Lefors, Jesse Wynne (“an exceedingly desirable man to have permanently settled on the property”) and David Somerville (“who used our White Deer Lands for steer cattle exclusively”).

Benedict also visited other settlers, including Henry Thut, Henry Lovett and J.A. Hopkins. He saw four wagon loads of feed going to the Choctaw ( Rock Island ) railroad construction camp.

He consulted with Starkweather, superintendent of the Southern Kansas Railway and with H.E. Hoover, attorney for the railroad. Starkweather and Hoover agreed that Pampa was the best place on their line for a town, and they spoke of the desirability of having Pampa selected as the county seat when the county should be organized.

While at Pampa , Benedict wrote to Foster: “I went over the ground very carefully with Tyng in order to determine the exact lines where it would be best to begin the work. I told Tyng in a general way how, in my opinion, the streets should be laid out and where land should be reserved for the courthouse.

“The object of establishing the town at Pampa is to furnish a base of supplies to settlers and a convenient location from which they may examine the lands offered for sale and not being, as is usually the case, merely a scheme to make money out of the sale of town lots.”

Benedict and Tyng went to Chicago to confer with the general superintendent of the Santa Fe Railway. The superintendent offered every assistance possible to the plan of a town at Pampa . From Chicago , Benedict returned to New York , while Tyng left for the Panhandle to begin work in laying a townsite at Pampa .

On December 24, 1901, Tyng wrote to Foster: “Three stores, lumberyard, livery stable and (of course) a saloon are waiting to jump into Pampa as soon as permitted.”

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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