Rivers | Pecos River
The Pecos River
by TE's Crusty
and Pecos the word
|The word Pecos
has that rare mix of mystery and simplicity. Even if you don't pronounce
it properly (Pay cuss) it's still fun to say. Since it doesn't mean
anything, it doesn't get much use outside of the geographic reference.
The reference is always "West of the Pecos" - never "East of the Pecos".
Pecos Bill wouldn't be remembered if he was Trinity Bill or Salt-Fork-of-the-Brazos
Bill. Guadalupe Bill? Medina Bill? I don't think so.
cantaloupes are so famous, they'll loan money on them.
world-renowned for its cantaloupe. Sweet, uncomplicated, moisture-laded,
rough-skinned globes from an arid semi-desert landscape. Here again
we have both mystery and simplicity.
The fame of the melons was spread when they were served in the dining
cars of the Texas Pacific Railroad.
Although the exact
location varied and can't be pinpointed, there is a marker 7 miles
South of the town of Crane
at Hwy 385. The marker's text describes the shallow-water ford that
was used more than 100 years before the river was dammed. The name
comes from the number of animal skulls that were found on the riverbanks.
It is believed that parched animals drank themselves to death when
they finally reached water.
The crossing was also an important site on the Butterfield Stage
Route (1858-1861) which linked the Saints of Louis and
Upton County between Crane and McCamey
Photo Courtesy of Fiddle Blue
Gap, "where the gold is buried"
Photo Courtesy of Fiddle Blue
Only 12 miles
north-northeast from Horsehead Crossing is the legendary Castle
Gap. The mile-long break in the ridge of the Castle Mountains
requires that the two peaks be given separate names. King Mountain
is on the southern end; while Castle Mountain is the northern
Everyone who was anyone in West Texas history seems to have visited
the Gap, beginning with Cabeza de Vaca. The scouting expedition of
Captain Felipe Teran is believed to have visited the Gap as well as
multitudes of Comanches and later Texas Ranger "Rip" Ford. It was
also used by the Butterfield Stagecoach Line as a way station. Oliver
Loving and Charles
Goodnight later made the Gap a crossing on their soon-to-be-famous
The railroad went south of the Gap and decreased traffic allowed erosion
to close the road for some time.
There have been no fewer than eight separate stories of buried treasure
in or around the Gap. Outlaw gold, Mexican Gold, Butterfield Stagecoach
money and even riches from Maximilian's short-lived "Empire of Mexico".
Pecos the Word
Pecos used to
be used as a verb. Like Shanghai. It meant to rob someone and roll
the body down a steep river bank where it was unlikely to be found
until you were long gone. Murder was optional. It's not heard much
anymore, since criminals now don't go to the the effort of concealing
I Pecos ---- We Pecos
You Pecos ---- Y'all Pecos
He, she or it Pecoses ---- They Pecos
My wife Pecosed her first three husbands.
That was the Sheriff, y'all Pecosed last night.
I was learnin' my boy to Pecos when I got snakebit.
There's been a lot of Pecosin' goin' on at the Sheffield Riverwalk.
Pecos is best remembered for it's geographic employment by "Judge"
Roy Bean. He was "The Law West of the Pecos" and I think the phrase
should have been retired with his death. It seems every small business
"West of the Pecos" has been tempted to use the phrase in their advertising.
I want to thank businesses that resisted the temptation. It is second
only to "The best little (whatever) in Texas" as a worn out advertising
There's the "Best Barbecue West of the Pecos" and "The Biggest Doughnuts
West of the Pecos". There's even "The Law(yer) West of the Pecos"
in Marathon. No one claims to be the biggest, brightest or shiniest
of anything "East of the Pecos".
The only place you can be in West Texas that isn't West or East of
the Pecos is actually on the Pecos. This is exactly where San Angelo
Standard-Times reporter Sandra Billingsley made a recent
canoe trip with her husband. Click here for a detailed description
and close look of the rarely seen last
60 miles of the Pecos.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and vintage/historic photos, please contact