a Pecan Shell
Before Ira became
Ira, it was a campground for Captain R. B. Marcy's Expedition (see
Marcy was charged with opening a wagon trail to California in 1849.
One of Marcy's Lieutenants was Mongomery Harrison, son of President
Benjamin Harrison. Our source (Little Towns of Texas) was short
on information, but did say that Marcy's camp was in a Chinaberry
grove at a creek.
We later learned from our "most reliable source" in Big
Spring, Mr. Doyle Phillips, that Mongomery had been ordered to
scout the area, but it was assumed he would take a group of men with
him. Instead he went alone. His body was found the next day, stripped
and scalped. The tracks and other indications pointed to Kiowas. The
corpse was packed in lime and charcoal and was shipped back to Ft.
add some sadness to the story - Lt. Harrison had met a young woman
heading west and they had become engaged. The marriage was to take
place when her family reached their destination of California. This
adds to the mystery of why Lt. Harrison would ride out alone (or
with the prospect of marriage looming - it perhaps explains it).
were unable to verify a date for the town's founding. But Harrison's
death occuried on October 7th, 1849. However, Ira celebrated their
centennial in 1976, which should mean something.
Ira Green was this town's namesake. Mr. Green went into business here
sometime in the early 1890s. His wagon broke down while he
was traveling from Colorado, Texas
to someplace west of Colorado. (Colorado didn't add the "City" to
its name until 1939). When Ira unloaded his wagon to make repairs,
the merchandise-starved settlers came and bought him out. He went
back to Colorado and loaded up his wagon again, and sold out again
- without having to break a wheel this time.
then decided to open a store. As in most towns, the store soon became
a hub of activity and in Ira's case, the store also became a stagecoach
stop and mail drop. 1893 was the year the first school was opened
and the post office came in 1896. Naturally Mr. Green became postmaster.
Since there already was a Greenville,
the name Ira was submitted and accepted.
County's first oil well came in about a mile south of Ira in the
early 1920s. Overnight it became one of the largest oil fields in
the world, according to local sources.
1990 census is half of what it was in 1980, and while we await the
results of the 2000 census, we'll report the 1990 findings of 250
Our thanks for the group effort involved with preparing the Ira page.
Charlene Beauchamp provided the photos, Doyle Phillips provided the
information on Lt. Harrison's death, and Lt. Mongomery provided The
Sources used and consulted were:
The Handbook of Texas Online
Little Towns of Texas, Jayroe Graphics, Jacksonville, Texas,
Getting Started by Jake Pickle
Benjamin Harrison's son in Ira, Texas
I love your site & read some of it every day. It's a great way to
plan little road excursions around the state & I love to cemetery
hunt. Reading about Ira was interesting, but my question is that if
President Benjamin Harrison was born in 1833 & he wasn't married until
1853, how could he have had a son who was killed by the Indians in
1849? I would think that would be impossible. Are you sure that you
don't mean President William Henry Harrison (our 9th President)? Thank
you for your help in this matter & keep up the great work!!! Sincerely,
Ms. Kay Garsea, February 19, 2008
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