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Grayson County TXGenWeb
Types of Water


George W. Rains
Mineral Water
Tioga, Grayson Co., Texas

 Mineral Water

Tioga, Texas, famous as the birthplace of Western Movie Actor Gene Autry, was also famous back in1884 when Matt Rains, a blacksmith, discovered medicinal qualities in the local water.  Rains bathed a burned hand in the water and it was said to have healed quickly.  As a result several companied, Tioga Mineral Wells Company, Radium Mineral Water, Tioga Mineral Water Company, Atlas Water and star Well, marketed the mineral water.  Health seekers flocked to Tioga just like they did to Mienral Wells (Texas). An article on the Texas State Historical Association Webpage by Janet Mace Valenza "Tioga, TX' from the Handbook of Texas Online tells how it was said that trainloads of visitors arrived in Tioga every day.  Pupulation grew to 777 residents in 1925.  At one time there was a move in Tioga to change the name of the town to Autry Springs after Autry who was born there and graduated from Tioga High School in 1925.  That move was unsuccessful and the name of Tioga remained.  

McRee Hickman, who has lived in Tioga for more than 50 years, wrote that once there were hotels, bath houses and quite a few businesses in the southwest grayson County town because of the mineral water.  In 1897 one of the bath houses burned and the wells were shot down for a while until a new owner built a new bathhouse and the town as a health resort continued.    By 1970 the resort business was waning.  Jim and Deedie Wendover tried to revive the town and bottle the water.  They even renovated some of the store fronts and opened an antique trading center.  Wendover sold many of the business buildings in an auction in 1982.  As years went by many residents commuted to nearby towns to work.
The town at one time had six churches, including the Primitive Baptist Church that has a Texas Historical Marker telling of the 1956 baptism and the 1963 funeral of Sam Rayburn.

(Hunt, Donna. "Yesterday : Mineral waters flowed through Grayson County".  Herald Democrat, 28 November 2010)

Tioga : There used to be four or five mienral wells here.  They sold it by the gallon - ten cents a gallon....They used to bottle it and ship it in five-gallon stone jugs....They had outfits built out of bricks about so high and a pan set on it.  Boil  it down. It taken 40 gallons of water to make a gallon changed the color of it to a yellowish-brown color....on that Scoggins place...They had athat big long bath-house and that old big hotel down there in the summertime....they brought a feller in on the train, on a cot, unloaded him at the platfrom....He hadn't walked none in three months. Flat on his back. He was so sore an' all 'til he couldn't do nothing.'  And they carried him down there and they went to givin' him a hot bath...Then they had a little outfit they'd put him i.  It opened up and had a place in the top.  He'd set on a stool in there.  An' his head 'ud stick through the top.  They'd close that up and give you a steam bath.  Put that steam to you.  And in 10 days, why, he walked from the hotel back up to the depot; he carried his suitcase and got on the train and went home...He had arthritis or rheumatism or somthing.' 
Source : Estes, Ross. I Remember Things : An Informal History of Tioga, Texas.  Quanah, Texas : Nortex Press, c1977.  pgs.5 6-59.)

The word "Tioga" is an Indain word meaning healing waters.  The location was long known for its mineral water, and many peple came by covered wagon and train to receive its benefits.  The first well had been dug in 1864, but its medicinal qualities were not discovered until 1884 by Matt Raines, a blacksmith.  This first well became known as the "Old Original".  Many other wells were dug and Tioga became a well-known spa and health resort.  
The railroad guaranteed the success and demise of some resorts.  Tioga was founded where railroad workers stopped to drink the the water.  ("Mineral Water Wells and Springs".  Handbook of Texas online.  30 June 2013)

Mineral Spring

Spas : During the last half of the 19th century, western entrepreneurs developed natural hot and cold springs into resorts — from the Mississippi River to the West Coast. Many of these spas offered individual tub baths, vapor baths, needle showers, and pool bathing to their guests. The various railroads that spanned the country promoted these resorts to encourage train travel. Hot Springs, Arkansas, became a major resort for people from the large metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Chicago.  (Wikipedia, 30 June 2013)

Traditionally, mineral waters were used or consumed at their spring sources, often referred to as "taking the waters" or "taking the cure," at developed cities such as spas, baths, or wells. The term spa was used for a place where the water was consumed and bathed in; bath where the water was used primarily for bathing, therapeutics, or recreation; and well where the water was to be consumed.




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