sure must have agreed with the Carr twins, E.L. and M.P.
Born on March 31, 1854 in Randolph County, Ala., they ended up in
the Lone Star state and lived well into their 90s. During their long
lives, they saw West Texas
evolve from seemingly endless stretches of unclaimed public land trod
only by buffalo to a patchwork of ranches, farms, and communities.
E.L. was the first member of his family to come to Texas.
A family history says he arrived in 1874. He apparently settled for
a time in Hamilton
County, but in the fall of 1878, he traveled along the Mackenzie
Trail to Fort Griffin on the Clear Fork of the Brazos. On his way
to the fort, Carr came across a freshly dug grave on the side of the
road atop Flattop Mountain near what is now the community of Sagerton.
Carr later said he heard that the grave held a buffalo hunter killed
by his partner following an argument. Incensed that the man had been
wasting ammunition shooting at deer, his penny-pinching partner spared
at least one .50 round to use on the deer hunter. Back then, professional
hunters clearly had no use for deer or deer hunters. After all, no
market existed for the meat or hides.
Buffalo were different, however. With hostile Indians finally vanquished
from all but the Trans-Pecos, hide hunters descended on West
Texas to profit from what seemed an inexhaustible supply of the
shaggy animals. Soon, Carr teamed up with five other men to take part
in the bonanza. They spent that winter of 1878-79 in what is now Stonewall
County in the Double Mountain area.
Aug. 24, 1933, the Anson Western Enterprise carried a story on E.L.
Carr and his twin in the newspaper’s 50th anniversary edition.
“A man by the name of Meats did the killing, three men whose names
he does not recall did the skinning and one Henry Partin drug the
hides to the camp with his horse and stretched [them] with hair down
to keep them straight,” the Anson story related.
And the appropriately named Meats seems to have been a dead shot.
One Sunday morning when Carr and the other hunters ran across a herd
of 26 buffalo, Meats brought down all but two of them. Carr’s contribution
to the effort was in transporting the hides to Fort Griffin, a journey
in a mule-drawn wagon that took two weeks roundtrip.
In March 1879, Carr returned to Hamilton
County with an ample supply of buffalo meat, selling it wherever
he could along the way.
That fall, he went to Mississippi, where the rest of his family had
moved from Alabama. He convinced his father and others in his clan
to return with him to Texas. That’s when
twin brother M.P. became a Texan.
Carr’s settled on a section of land north of present Anson,
while E.L. purchased another quarter section nearby. While E.L. and
M.P. worked as cowboys (the buffalo hunting had already played out),
their father, AJ. Carr helped gather signatures on one of two petitions
asking for the organization of a new county. That was the beginning
of Jones County, created in 1881 and named for Anson
Jones, last president of the Republic of Texas. A.J. Carr became
the first tax assessor.
Fort Phantom Hill served as the first county seat, but county residents
soon decided to move their capital to a new community called Jones
City (not long after renamed Anson).
E.L. Carr helped lay out the new town.
While the elder Carr stayed put, in 1903 E.L. settled for good in
Haskell County near Rochester.
M.P., meanwhile, put down roots at Aspermont
in Stonewall County.
The 1933 newspaper article on the Carr twins noted that M.P. had “a
hobby for keeping things that might have a historic value” and had
“written his own story of his experiences.” Where that manuscript
ended up is a mystery. An on-line search reveals no published book
Until M.P. died in Aspermont
at 93, the cowboy Carr boys enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest twins in Texas. E.L. lived for another
five-and-a-half years, dying in 1952 at 98-and-a-half. They buried
him in the Rochester Cemetery on what would have been his 70th wedding
anniversary, October 1.
© Mike Cox - "Texas Tales"
September 6, 2007 column
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