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Northern Headquarters
Community Information

Store at Northern Headquarters

Photos courtesy of Hoyt Johnson, Deean Griffith & Louis Kopnicky

Markham For Kids


Clemville, Midfield &
Northern Headquarters



By Mary B. Ingram

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 acres.


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



Mr. P. T. Saunders of the Northern Irrigation country was in the city Friday and added his name to the News-Farmer's subscription list. Mr. Saunders is one of our prominent dry farmers and has 40 acres of cotton well up. Birds attacked his corn and left him only 18 acres. That where they did there worst he planted in cotton. He took out with him some soy bean, rape and feterita seeds and will give these forage crops a fair trial. Soy beans, we firmly believe, will prove one of the very best crops for this section, and as a soil builder is equal to cow-peas.

Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer, May 1, 1914


Copyright 2006 - Present by
MCHC, Friends of the MCHC, PAHA, MCGS
All rights reserved

Nov. 3, 2006
Feb. 16, 2007