The Howard County, Texas History Project

Stew Pot

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(Begins 6 May 2009) 

A lot of the following is speculation. Unless otherwise credited all the entries are by Doyle Phillips. Your contributions are invited. The date indicates the last addition.

Comanche Name for the Big Spring

It is a little puzzling that Capt. Marcy apparently did not ask his Indian guides for their name of the big spring. Comanche language names might have been:

pia paa (big water) pronounced pee ah pah ah
pia parutsophe (big spring of water)

Incidentally the word for sand dune is pasiwanoo.

All of these names are not too far linguistically from the nearby "river" Rio Pasigono that ran through what is now Big Spring, Texas. (See Ed Fisher’s Beal’s Creek history on this website.) I believe it likely that Pasigono is an Anglo or Spanish version of one of these Comanche names.  

In 1849, Marcy said that the remains of Indian encampments at the Big Spring were visible as far as the eye could see. When the local army air force base was constructed acres of Indian campsites were graded over, according to a worker who was on the scene. When the first country club and golf course were constructed near the big spring, workers reported finding artifacts by the hundreds.

Wassons and the Confederados

The Wasson family of Big Spring came from Brazil to Borden County and then to Howard County. After the Civil War large numbers of rebels went to Brazil at the invitation of the Emperor. Their transport there was not easy. After a few years the Wasson’s returned to Texas.

The story of the Confederados, especially that of a Texas Ranger named Jesse Wright is fascinating. A google search will give you some of the Confederado background:

Tornadoes in Big Spring

I grew up assured that Big Spring had never had nor would have a tornado because it was built in a low kind of valley. Apparently not so. Hutto reports that July 1897 a tornado hit and took out 2 churches.

Indian Graves Gone

After ages of visitations to this area by prehistoric people and AmeriIndians why are more graves not found? One reason may be that burials were not customary in certain cultures; funeral pyres or platforms were more used. But there is plenty of evidence that many Indians were buried in shallow, dug graves or covered with a mound of stones.

In the latter instance the grave would be fairly obvious. As the territory began to be known to people other than Indians (Comancheros from Santa Fe, for example) the grave would have been a curiosity—not an untouchable or "sacred" sort of site. Especially when it was discovered that these graves might contain valuables such as guns buried with the dead then the passing soldier or cowboy would naturally dig it up. There is one old report of a grave containing two fine Colt pistols and coined jewelry.

Of course as the plow came to the county graves in its path would have been destroyed.  So it is rare to find an untouched grave in most of the plains areas around Howard County.

Above posted 26 April 2009


Written in1996

Above posted 6 May 2009

12 May 2009  Click here to read all:

In 1877 Howard County was a major site of buffalo slaughter. At the moment I have not found my documentation but will do it soon and post it here. As I recall, one of the many buffalo killing groups were stopped by some Indians. Among other things the Indians stole the horses and boots of the white men. It was an uncomfortable return to Colorado City. --D. Phillips

"Re-View of a Life in Gay Hill" by Monty Clendinin
The Clendinin's at the Reef Oil Camp, Near Gay Hill

Click here to read all about it:

Posted 20 May 2009

Obie Bristow became a politician representing Howard County. (Posted 7 June 2009)

This church was located on Main Street, replaced by State National Bank.
Posted 11 June 2009

WW II Japanese Navy submarine on tour, Courthouse Square 
Posted 15 June 2009

Go for the gold!

Posted 15 June 2009

Posted 19 July 2009:

The Black, Johnson, and Echols families feuded at Coahoma in 1910.

I believe these two feuds were also connected to Howard County and the Coahoma shootouts:

The Boyce-Sneed feudqv at Amarillo in 1912 The Boyce family boasted at least one old-west bandit who is buried at Coahoma. 

 The Johnson-Sims unpleasantness at Snyder in 1916 were brief but bloody feuds.

Posted 20 July 2009:

Phillips Cemetery (It is on Phillips land but no Phillips are buried there.)

Preston Jones' "Texas Trilogy" was a Broadway play in which Coahoma and Big Spring are mentioned. You can find more about it with a Google search.

Below Posted 28 July 2009:

Below posted 26 August 2009

1852 Map by Mitchell is the first known designation of the Big Spring.

The Drys put it in writing.

1930: Moss Creek Lake Project and Mayors of Big Spring (1907 - 1933)