At the Top Of the Cap
cAdoo is located in Dickens County, Texas, with the community extending slightly over the Crosby County line. From its center it claims territory approximately three miles west, five miles northeast, and to the Caprock on the north, east and south. Just under the Cap to the east is the town of Dickens, county seat of Dickens County and a little farther south is the town of Spur. Both were prosperous towns long before McAdoo came into being. Settlers were beginning to come into that area and the Indians and buffalo were driven on top of the Cap. In the 1870´s buffalo were being slaughtered by the thousands for their hides. The bodies were left for the vultures and the bones left to bleach in the hot prairie sun. In 1871 McKenzie, chasing a band of Indians passed through where McAdoo now sits. The
1880 census of Crosby County lists Camp Roberts, a Texas Ranger Camp, located west of McAdoo on Cat Fish Creek. After the Indians and buffalo were chased away, cowboys began to ride up on the Cap hunting for cattle, and cattle drives crossed the area. Soon after 1900 settlers began to move into the area. The Bouchers, Elsby´s, Rufus Wallace, and others.
Mail was delivered by horse and buggy on a route from Emma to Dickens. In the fall of 1914, J.A. Abernathy applied for a post office. It was granted in 1915, named in honor of William G. McAdoo, U.S. Secretary of Treasury 1913-19. Mr. Hines was appointed postmaster. The original post office was situated a mile west of the present town. Mr. Hines operated a country store in connection with the office.
In 1918, J. E. Brannen opened the first grocery and dry goods store at the present site of McAdoo. Rufus Wallace, who settled there around 1910, often told of farmers with wagons and teams joining together hauling stock for the store from Spur. They arrived just at sundown January 9, 1918, too late to unload their wagons. The store was stocked and opened for business the next day. It was a two story building with the upstairs serving as a Woodman´s Lodge Hall and the lower floor for the post office and store. The first post office building was moved to the present townsite and after an addition was added served as a dwelling. Wallace razed it in 1958 and built a new home in its place. Shortly after this a blacksmith shop was opened and a drug store with soda fountain followed. In 1920 Mr. H.P. Edwards bought out Mr. Brannen. A variety store and rooming house was built by a Mr. Lanier. Cotton was being planted and after a successful crop or two a gin was built in 1922, but it was destroyed by fire before even one bale could be ginned. It was rebuilt. In 1924 a bumper crop was made, town lots began to sell and more businesses were added. Uncle Bob Nickels built his first cotton gin in 1924.
On December 11, 1925 a destructive blaze raged through Rufus Wallace´s drug store, Duncan Brothers Cafe, A.V. Wommack´s meat market, Doc Loyd´s grocery, O.M. Baily and Sy Brantley´s Cafe, John Formby´s barber shop and Frank Barton´s service station. Flames swept through the principal block on the west side of main street. One grocery store, service station, and barber shop were spared. Another big blaze in August 1929 destroyed the service station at the extreme north end of the business block, operated by Bob Hinkston. Also destroyed was the adjoining mercantile business owned and operated by A.M. Lay and Mac Brantley. The latter was the town´s first store, originally opened by Brannen in 1918. H.P. Edwards purchased it in 1921 and sold it to Lay and Brantley in 1927. This business was rebuilt the same fall. All the businesses were rebuilt and others added until the town of McAdoo had, a post office, four grocery stores, 2 gins, 3 blacksmith shops, 2 barber shops, 1 drug store with soda fountain, 2 cafes, 1 picture show, 5 service stations, 3 wholesale dealers, 1 school, rooming house, meat market, mattress factory, International Harvester dealer, 3 churches, doctor´s office, telephone office, golf course, beauty shop, 2 garages, hardware and lumber, feel mill and store, cotton yard, ice house, public weigher, jailhouse and deputy sheriff.
In the 1930´s Lay and Brantley´s grocery would have drawings every Saturday afternoon. The streets would be lined with cars and some parking on the side streets. Names were drawn and the winner often getting a pound of coffee, sack of flour or a sack of sugar. The front of this store was also the gathering place on election day. A large board was set up just outside the store and as the results were received by telephone the results were posted on the board. Politics were discussed, sometimes a little too much, the women would sit in the cars visiting and the kids would play in the street sharing a bag of candy, someone was rich enough to buy. Fall was a very busy time for all, school would turn out so the children could help gather the cotton and it was this time of the year the Medicine Show would come to town. Everyone would hurry and gather enough cotton so it could be brought to the gin at the Medicine Show. Boxes of candy with a prize in every box, a tonic to cure all ills and lots of music and slapstick comedy made many a tired cotton picker forget the hot sun and heavy cotton sack. Sundays almost everyone went to one of the three churches. The buildings were always full. In those days you either went to someone´s house for dinner or someone went to yours.Fried chicken in the spring and summer and ham or baked chicken and dressing in the fall and winter. Easter was always a big day. Bright new summer dresses and Easter egg hunts in the afternoons.
Today you drive over a modern divided highway from Dickens to Lubbock. Just after you get on top of the Cap you see a sign McAdoo three miles to the north. You turn off on a farm to market road that the pioneers would have marveled at. The land is level and as far as you can see the wheat or cotton depending on what season it is, is like an ocean waving in the breeze. To the west you can see the cemetery where so many of the early settlers are buried.
|Source: Top of the Cap|
Author: Mildred Cornelius
Reprinted with permission
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