Northern Headquarters Community Information
Store at Northern Headquarters
Photos courtesy of Hoyt Johnson, Deean Griffith
& Louis Kopnicky
The Northern Headquarters situated to the east of Markham in the W. E.
Bell and Jacob Robertson surveys was in operation from June 24, 1902
until 1947. During those years the Northern Irrigation Company was
incorporated for the purpose of creating and operating a water
irrigation system. The corporation acquired 17,416.5 acres of land in
Matagorda County on the west bank of the Colorado River.
Olaf A. Ulland from North Dakota was employed by the corporation in 1903
as an engineer, and he assisted in the construction and operation of an
extensive irrigation system which supplied water to the property and
adjacent farms and ranch lands. This venture failed, and on January 30,
1914, a trusteeship was formed with Albert Anderson, G. L. Elkins, and
J. C. Carlson as trustees. Ulland developed Northern Headquarters and
lived there with his family from 1916 to 1947. The land was used for
rice growing as well as grazing. In 1916 the Blue Creek Plant Canals and
fifteen sets of houses were developed to irrigate the northerly 4,000
Northern Headquarters became a community of the people who worked the land. Many of these families were of Norwegian and Swedish background coming from Minnesota and North Dakota. A large two-story home was built for the Ulland family. There were many other buildings in the compound; store, mule barns, sheds, boarding house, and storm house. There was a school known as Northern Headquarters School District #9. Throughout the area tenant farmers and other families resided in the school district.
Children by the names of Stevens, Thompson, Richmond, Rooth, Lovestron,
Anderson, Bowers, Saunders, Lonquet, Mehrens, Christenses, Trousdale,
Ulland and others attended the school. Mail was received at Cortes and
later at Markham when the post office was moved.
In 1947 the surface of this vast tract of land was sold to T. J. Poole,
Donald Poole, Mignon Doman, Louis Harper, Ramon Rooth, George Bowers and
the Ohio Oil Company. Since that date the land has been used for rice
farming and grazing.
Many of those families who came with the first migration have
descendants living in the county with their Norwegian and Swedish
backgrounds. They continue to be noted for their exceptional industry
and integrity and have contributed much to the agricultural enterprises
in Matagorda County.
Historic Matagorda County, Volume 1, pp 366-367
Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer, May 1, 1914
Copyright 2006 -
Nov. 3, 2006
Feb. 16, 2007