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 TX Borden County
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Texas Ghost Town
Borden County, Texas Panhandle / West Texas

10 Miles SE of Gail
3 Miles S of Highway 180
2 Miles W of FM 1610
Population: 0

Durham, Texas Area Hotels:
Big Spring Hotels | Snyder Hotels

History in a Pecan Shell

Durham was named for the breed of cattle that were raised in the area.

The very first post office opened here in 1887. The postmaster was Anthony Blum.

The site had been a stop along the stage line from Colorado City to Fort Sumner (New Mexico). Around 1910 a community developed around the general store. A church and a school were built but a drought in 1916 / 1917 dashed any hopes of permanent settlement. One business managed to stay on but after the post office moved to Knapp (Scurry County) the town was abandoned. Only a cemetery is left.

Anthony Blum, First Postmaster

by Lisa Dennis Mahler

The town of Durham was named for the breed of cattle that were raised in the area.

An interesting side note about Anthony Blum, the area's first postmaster. (Borden had not been organized yet when he was appointed.)

Anthony Blum, born 1854, was the son of a German immigrant, John Blum, Jr., that built a shoe manufacturing company in Dansville, New York. Anthony was born into a very large family. He had five brothers and four sisters. Anthony was an apprentice for the shoe company at age 16. He married Barbara Jackson Canageiser in 1877 and went into the mining business in Vermont before buying land in Borden.

In 1883, Anthony purchased land in Borden County from J. K. Womack. This land was located in the Durham area within the troubled Block 97. (a story too long to include here). The Texas GLO website has land abstracts for Anthony, Frank, Joseph and Philip. Each with one section. An educated guess is that there was money to be made in the cattle industry and the Blum family jumped at the chance.

The Blums built a house with a cupola probably around 1883 or 1884. The wood would have been hauled by freight wagon from Colorado City. Only a painting of the house exists because the house burned in 1940.

Borden County TX - Blum home burned in 1941
Painting of the Blum home that burned in 1940
Courtesy Lisa Dennis Mahler, Borden County Historical Commission

Anthony was named the very first postmaster in the county in 1887 for the town of Durham before the county was officially organized in 1891. His home would have been on the western trail that led from Colorado City to Fort Sumner NM.

Anthony and Barbara raised two kids: Lantie and Barbara. Both kids were born in Vermont. They were old enough to attend school at Durham.

Like so many of the early cattle ranchers in Borden, drought and severe winters put most out of business by the late 1890s. This was true for the Blums. The land they owned was sold on 1899 to Frank Hill. Later this land was bought by I. N. Gray and Gray descendants still have the land in their possession. The house I mentioned earlier was suppose to be the home that Gussie and Borden Gray were to move into. A new house was built on the same site as the original Blum homestead.

The Blums left Borden County and made their home in Boston, Massachusetts for many years. Mr. Blum traveled extensively and continued his mining exploits, specifically gold and searched for oil fields. He even wrote a book called "Petroleum, Where and How to Find It." Lawsuits continued to be filed against him for the rest of his life. Plaintiffs included a German Baron and another a Roman Catholic Priest. Both wanting their money back from investments in mining operations. (Arizona and Canada)

Son, Lantie, died at age 34 of pneumonia. He never married and is buried with other Blum family members in Dansville, NY. The daughter, Barbara attended Notre Dame, and married a Boston lawyer, Francis M. Carroll in 1907. The wedding was quite a social affair and a large one. Barbara had a maid of honor and six bridesmaids. The gift to each was a gold bar pin with gold nuggets. They would have four children.

The Blums were living in Chicago, Illinois when they both died. Barbara in 1921 and Anthony in 1923. They were transported for burial to Dansville, NY.

Lisa Dennis Mahler
Chair of the Borden County Historical Commission

Danville NY - Blum Shoe factory
The Blum Shoe factory in Danville, NY
was torn down just a few years ago

Courtesy Lisa Dennis Mahler, Borden County Historical Commission, Feb 2021

Borden County Texas 1907 Postal map
Borden County 1907 postal map showing Durham, SE of Gail
From Texas state map #2090
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Central Texas North
Texas Panhandle
West Texas

Durham, Texas Nearby Towns:
Gail the county seat
Big Spring
See Borden County

Book Hotel Here:
Big Spring Hotels | Snyder Hotels | More Hotels

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