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 Texas : Features : Columns : History by George
DUMAS, TEXAS - 1920
Mill Boyd as told to Louise George
Louise George
When Mill Boyd moved to Dumas in about 1920, she was only eight or nine years old - just a small girl. Dumas was also small.

"The first I remember of Dumas was the first night we got here. It was along in April or May, and we were out of Dumas a few miles in a Model T car coming from Amarillo, and a rain had just gone through and cleaned everything off, and it looked so pretty. There was not a tree, not a fence - nothing. Out about three miles, along about the Stallwitz farm, I looked and I could see the town. I could see that white courthouse with that cupola on top with just a few houses here and there, dotted around. Dumas was so little and it looked so lonesome. I thought, 'Oh dear! Where have I come to?'

"I don't know how many families lived here in town when we came, probably ten or fifteen, maybe twenty, and there were ranchers and farmers around. Behind the courthouse going east was pretty much prairie. All of the houses were built south of Seventh Street and west of Dumas Avenue. Well, it wasn't called Dumas Avenue; I don't think it was called anything back then. It was just the main street in town.

"The windmill on the courthouse square was where everybody got their water until they could dig a cistern. There was no water system. There was no sewer, no gas, no electric lights - nothing. We burned wood or coal. Our lighting was with coal oil lamps or gasoline pump lamps. Everybody had an outhouse in the back, and every house had a wash pot out in the back yard where the clothes were boiled. Everyone had chickens too, and their own cow. There was no dairy, no bottled milk and no refrigeration, no ice.

"We had a little barn for our cow, a little brown Jersey cow names Trixie, and she was a good little Jersey cow, gave lots of milk. My brother, Cy, had to go out on the prairie behind the courthouse and get her every night and bring her home. She wasn't staked because the town section was fenced in and they'd hit that fence out there and that was it. People just grazed their cows where they wanted to.

"There were two grocery stores, the Earl Thompson Grocery store and the Phillips store. Sometimes the Phillips store and maybe Earl Thompson, would go into Amarillo or Dalhart with a truck and bring out fresh vegetables. That was the only fresh vegetables we got in the wintertime.

"At that time there were few streets - no pavement at all and no sidewalks. The mail was hauled by sled in snow and mud, if the roads were too bad for Model T trucks. It was picked up in Hartley in the morning, and it came into town around three or four in the afternoon. The post office was the meeting place for residents. It was almost a social event to go pick up the mail."
Louise George
History by George
- June 15, 2005

Author: Personal interviews with Texas Panhandle men and women born in the early years of the twentieth century rewarded me with hundreds of stories illustrating their everyday life. I like to share those stories just as they were told to me.

Mill Boyd is featured in Louise George's book, Some of My Heroes Are Ladies, Women, Ages 85 to 101 Tell About Life in the Texas Panhandle. Louise can be reached at (806) 935-5286, by mail at Box 252, Dumas, Texas, 79029, or by e-mail at lgeorge@nts-online.net.
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