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Ghost towns aplenty in
Texas Panhandle

CODMAN, TEXAS

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
During my research, I continue to find more Texas Panhandle ghost towns I didn't know existed.

Ray Carter from Lefors called my attention to Codman, located in Roberts County. The site is located eight miles southwest of Miami, alongside the Santa Fe Railroad tracks. The legend and lore appears to be as follows, based on several different but interesting versions.

Codman began as an 'end-of-track' tent town used during construction of the tracks. A nearby spring of fresh water helped the town become permanent. The railroad built a section foreman's house plus a bunkhouse for single crew employees. A post office was established in 1892, closed a year later then opened again in 1901 when additional homes and businesses came to town.

Eventually, a general store and two grain elevators operated successfully until the town of Hoover, just up-track to the west, began to grow. Later, when Highway 60 located away from the town, Codman began to fade into the past.

Codman's most infamous moment came during elections in early Roberts County history. Citizens were voting on a county seat location, with Parnell and Miami being the choices. Somehow, when Codman's approximate population of eight or nine citizens turned in 35-plus votes in favor of Miami, the situation turned sour. A marshal came, arrested the election judges, voided the election results, and the county records were taken back to Parnell at gunpoint, according to one version.

Samuel Edge, a landowner at Codman, was also one of the early founders of Miami, selling lots and starting early day businesses. Edge's daughter, who never married, inherited some two sections of her father's land at Codman, and when she died, she willed her land to the United Nations Assembly. No reasons are known for this rather strange decision. Not surprisingly, the United Nations Assembly had little use for land in Roberts County, Texas, and offered it for sale. Local citizens purchased the property with considerable time, effort and paperwork involved to gain clear title. This might be the only land abstract in Texas showing the United Nations as a former owner of rural property.

I can just see the entire United Nations Assembly, with all the different nationalities and multiple language problems, trying to make everyone understand why they were selling land in Roberts County, Texas.

Samuel Edge donated land for a rural school just north of the town and the resulting building was christened Edge School in his honor.

As Miami, Hoover and Pampa prospered, Codman wasted away. The consolidation of public schools and combining railroad section crews finally sealed the fate of the town. Today, very little of the original town site is visible to the public.

Like most early day ghost towns, Codman had its heyday, earned its fame or infamy, then perished over a period of time due to weather and salvage efforts. This gives us another bit of history about the Panhandle of Texas' early settlements.

Thanks to Carl Williamson and others who furnished the information and stories about Codman.


Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" March 11, 2006 column


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