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
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
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
| 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,
Lisa Dennis Mahler
Chair of the Borden County Historical Commission
| The Blum Shoe
factory in Danville, NY
was torn down just a few years ago
Courtesy Lisa Dennis Mahler, Borden County Historical Commission,
County 1907 postal map showing Durham, SE of Gail
From Texas state map #2090
Texas General Land Office
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