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Mangum, Greer County, TX - OT


Lem H. Tittle tells a first hand report of the settling of Mangum. He repeated the story as his father told it.

"It happens that my father came into Greer County as foreman for the Haney-Handy cattle outfit in Feb 1880. He told me in detail of H. C. Sweet being employed for the purpose of locating land script and "laying out" a townsite. Sweet came and camped in what is now the south side of Mangum and remained until his task was completed.

During that time the cowboys frequently visited him and kept him supplied with fresh meat. In fact they showered upon him such wholesome friendliness that he resolved to return and bring his family.

In 1884, he returned and established his home. He also established a store for the cowboys for they were having to ride to Vernon for all their supplies. Sweet's stock consisted of various canned fruits, lunch goods and a complete stock of tobacco. As cans were emptied by the cowboys whose appetites ran principally to canned fruits, the empties were used to weather-strip his boxed shanty.

Sweet had hauled the 1x12 lumber from Wichita Falls, Texas to build the small store, but, he neglected to get any 1x4's to strip the building. He nailed the tin cans over the cracks in his store. The cowboys promptly named the place "Tin Can City." The Indians called it "Sweet".

In the 1884, when H.C. Sweet came to Mangum, there was a mail line going to Fort Wichita, now near Wichita Falls, and Fort Elliott, now Mobeetie, Tx. This mail line passed through Greer County and is listed as the Old Mobeetie Rd in the 1886 Commissioners minutes.

Mr. Sweet erected his store, which was called "Tin Can City". In due time Mr. Sweet petitioned the Postmaster General to establish a post office at Tin Can City, showing that it could be served by the mail line between Fort Wichita and Fort Elliott and that there were 20 or 30 families who could get their mail here.

Finally the Post master General authorized the establishment of a post office and requested that Mr. Sweet suggest a name for it. He suggested the name Draw(Dray) Springs. There were so many Springs they asked for another name. He suggested Mangum, and a post office was created.

The first official address was Mangum, Greer Co., Texas, but a few months later, it was corrected by the Federal Government to read Mangum, Greer County, Indian Territory."

Lem Title continues his story, "Later, in 1884, J.R. Crouch, who had been a professional hunter in former years and one of those characters who are constantly seeking the frontier, came with his family and camped in the SW part of what is now Mangum, in a tent.

Within a short time after his arrival, and before the cowboys knew he was in the country, he was scouting around and rode upon a round-up SE of town. My father was in charge of the outfit and made himself acquainted and introduced all the cowboys. They gave Crouch a quarter of beef and all were invited to visit the Crouch camp.

The next day my father visited the family and being greatly in need of a hair cut and shave, Crouch invited him to submit to his tonsorial skill. He was given a meal cooked by a woman and evidently it was so splendid that it was advertised extensively among the "hands". Crouch and his wife started the first hotel in Greer County. They prospered and became a part of the social life of Old Greer.

This story of Mangum was preserved in the Chronicles of Oklahoma. Mangum died just after work was started on platting the townsite, and on July 19, 1886, his heirs, Robert, Wiley, Mary and Minnie Mangum, met in Sherman, Texas and deeded all the odd numbered blocks in the townsite to Henry C. Sweet, in payment for the surveying work.

H C. Sweet died Dec 27, 1900 at Mangum O T.

In 1887, the population of Mangum was 300, Navajo had 150 in 1890 and Frazier was the third town in the County.

The first Baptist sermon preached in Mangum was at the Pierson home in 1887. Rev. Duncan, a Baptist Minister rode to Mangum on horseback to conduct services. Rev. James Taylor Hosmer, a Methodist Circuit rider, was the organizer of Methodist Churches in Altus, Mangum, Martha and others. The first preaching place, in Mangum, was a little box schoolhouse located near the present high school building of Mangum.

Lem Title said, "The first church organized in the County was the Navajo Baptist in 1887."

The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1896, nullified all titles to land in Greer County, Texas. Prior to that date, the town of Mangum had been platted and many lots sold and improved. In fact, it was a hustling frontier metropolis. As the land title to the city had to be protected for the incoming settler, cattlemen and others, H.C. Sweet was given the right to be the first to file his claim when the land office was opened. He filed on the old A.S. Mangum land and later executed deeds to all property formerly sold while under the de facto government of Texas.


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