Queries concerning settlers after 1897 should be directed
to the appropriate OkGenWeb
county. The original Greer county Texas covered the current Oklahoma counties of
Beckham, Greer, Harmon, Jackson, and parts of Texas counties
Childress, Collingsworth, Hemphill, Lipscomb, and Wheeler.
On February 8, 1860, the
Texas legislature passed an act providing for the formation of Greer County,
with boundaries "beginning at the confluence of Red River and Prairie Dog Town River; then
running up Red River, passing the mouth of the South Fork (Elm Fork) and following main or
North Red River to its intersection with the twenty-third degree of west longitude (the 100th meridian);
thence due south across the Salt Fork to Prairie Dog River, and thence following that river to
the place of beginning."
The act went into effect
at once, but because of the confusion consequent to the outbreak of
the Civil War little was done immediately toward organizing and putting into operation a system
of county government. Greer County was named for John A. Greer, Senator, Secretary of State,
Republic of Texas; Lieutenant Governor, 1847-1853. In 1884, 144,000 acres of land was patented
to the Day Land and Cattle Company, which also leased 203,000 additional acres. By 1885
there were in the county some ten families and 60,000 cattle belonging to seven or eight firms
that employed 100 men. The Francklyn Land and Cattle Company owned 40,000 cattle there.
In July 1886 the settlers of Greer County met at Mobeetie and organized Greer County on the
authority of the act of 1860. Mangum was named the county seat, and provision was made for
a county government. Soon the county commissioners began building a county jail, planned to
cost $11,000. Two post offices were established, one at Mangum and another at Frazier. A
school system was set up, and by 1892 sixty-six school districts had been formed with an
enrollment of 2,250 pupils.
But the comparatively rapid
development of Greer County was disturbed by a dispute between
Texas and the United States over the ownership of the area. The controversy had origin in an
1819 treaty fixing the line between United States and Spanish territory. A map designating
the Red River and 100th meridian as boundary lines was part of the treaty; but the map
aroused dispute, for it incorrectly marked the 100th meridian and showed only one fork
of a two-forked Red River.
Texas claimed the north fork
and meridian shown on map defined territory, and legislation
and occupancy by Texans decided sovereignty. The United States contended south Fork
(larger of the two) and true 100th meridian marked boundaries. Three joint survey
commissions failed to settle the issue. The U.S. Supreme Court in 1896 ruled that the
region was in 1819 part of the United States' unorganized Indian Territory.
Old Greer County Texas was
comprised of all of present day Greer Co. OK, Jackson Co.
OK, Harmon Co. OK, and parts of present day Beckham Co. OK, Lipscomb Co. TX,
Hemphill Co. TX, Wheeler Co. TX, Collingsworth Co. TX, and Childress Co. TX.
Complied from The New Handbook of Texas, The Texas Almanac, and Texas Historical Markers.
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Last Modified Monday, 09-Feb-2009 12:42:59 MST