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Matador, Texas

History

Motley County Railroad. Pioneer carrier for cattle and farm goods. Chartered June 20, 1913 by 92 people of Motley and nearby counties. One man is said to have invested $50,000. Matador Land & Cattle Company also provided bonus funds. Original directors were J. C. Burleson, A. B. Echols, J. N. Gaines, T. E. Leckie, I. E. Martin, R. P. Moore, J. D. Morriss, J. E. Russell, and A. C. Traweek. Trains used cattle sweepers, as 8-mile track ran through unfenced ranches. Line joined Quanah, Acme & Pacific tracks near Roaring Springs. The Motley County Railroad ceased to operate in 1936. Historical Marker Text.  Marker erected 1970. Marker located on U.S. 70/62, east city limits, Matador.

Traweek House. Dr. Albert Carroll Traweek, Sr. (1875-1959) and his wife Allie (Rainey)(1881-1963) came to Matador from Fort Worth soon after their marriage in 1897. Dr. Traweek began his medical practice, and the couple bought a small frame house. They eventually were the parents of six children. A prominent and respected physician, Dr. Traweek first traveled on horseback or by horse and buggy to visit his patients. He was known as the "Pneumonia Doctor" because of his success in treating people with that illness. He established a hospital and was the county's first public health officer. In 1915, after a previous dwelling on this site was destroyed by fire, construction began on this house. Designed by Dr. Traweek's uncle, noted West Texas builder Charles Stephens Oates, the house was completed in 1916 at a cost of $14,000. The two-story stuccoed masonry structure reflects a combination of architectural styles, exhibiting Italian renaissance, prairie and classical revival detailing. Among those who visited the Traweek home were Baldwin Parker (son of Quanah Parker, last chief of the Comanche Indians) and many state and national officials. The home, which has remained in the Traweek family, received an official historical medallion in 1964 and is a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark. Located at 927 Lariat Street, Matador.

Bob's Oil Well. Greenville, Texas native Luther Bedford "Bob" Robertson (1894-1947), a veteran of World War I, came to Matador in the 1920s. He was a gas station attendant in 1932 when he decided to open a service station here. To promote his new business, he built a wooden oil derrick over the station. He patented his design, and in 1939 replaced the wooden derrick with one of steel that reached 84 feet in height and included lights. Robertson was a gifted businessman and promoter, and he used any opportunity to advertise his operation and attract customers. He kept a cage of live rattlesnakes for the amusement of tourists, and from that initial attraction grew a zoo that included lions, monkeys, coyotes, a white buffalo and other animals. He paid long distance truckers to place advertising signs at strategic points across the nation noting the mileage to Bob's Oil Well in Matador, and they became well known to the motoring public. As a result of his success, Robertson enlarged his operation to include a grocery, café and garage. In addition to his business skills, Robertson was an active civic leader in Matador. He was particularly interested in recognizing the efforts of those who served in the military during World War II. Bob Robertson died in 1947, and two weeks later a high wind toppled the steel derrick that had been the trademark of his business. His widow, Olga (Cunningham) (d. 1993), restored it two years later with even larger lights. The business did not continue long after, however, and closed in the 1950s. Later efforts to reopen it were short-lived. Today, the site serves as a reminder of a time when such bold roadside architecture was in its infancy and of a man who, through his business, widely promoted his adopted hometown. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 2005.

Matador Ranch. The Matador Cattle Company began as an open range ranch in 1879 when Henry H. Campbell, A. M. Britton, and three others bought range rights in this area. In 1882, the ranch was purchased by Scottish investors, who formed the Matador Land & Cattle Company, Ltd. The ranch utilized one and one half million acres of owned and leased range in Motley, Floyd, Dickens and Cottle counties. In 1902, the ranch acquired the 210,000 acre Alamocitas Ranch in Oldham County. Additional pastures were leased in the Dakotas, Montana and Canada. At its height the ranch owned 90,000 cattle and title to 879,000 acres of Texas land. In 1913, the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railroad was built through the ranch in Motley County and the town of Roaring Springs was established. General managers of the ranch were Britton (1879-90), Murdo MacKenzie (1890-1911, 1923-1937), John MacBain (1912-1922), and John MacKenzie (1937-1951). The general manager's office was located first in Fort Worth and later in Trinidad and Denver, Colorado. Corporate offices were maintained in Scotland from 1882 until the ranch's liquidation in 1951. The ranch headquarters was purchased by Koch Industries, Inc. and became The Matador Cattle Company. Texas Sesquicentennial, 1836-1986. Marker located about .5 miles south of Matador on SH 70 in roadside park near ranch headquarters.

Henry Campbell. (1840-1911) A native of North Carolina, Henry Harrison Campbell arrived in Texas with his family in 1854. Following his service in the Confederate army, he worked as a cattle drover. In 1879, with four other investors, he founded the Matador Ranch at Ballard Springs (ten miles southeast). Campbell's wife, Elizabeth Bundy, joined him at the ranch in 1880. Refusing to live underground in a dugout, she insisted on camping in a tent until lumber could be hauled in for a two-room house. She served as hostess and nurse at the ranch, and later was post-mistress at Matador. In its first three years, the Matador Ranch holdings grew to include 40,000 head of cattle on 100,000 acres of land, with an additional 1.5 million acres of free range rights. In 1882 the ranch was bought by a Scottish syndicate, The Matador Land & Cattle Company, LTD. Campbell continued his association with the ranch, serving as ranch superintendent until 1890. Henry H. Campbell led efforts to create Motley County in 1891. After serving two terms as county judge, he retired to concentrate on his ranch interests on Dutchman Creek. He died in Matador on May 23, 1911. - Historical Marker Text.  Marker dedicated 1964, 1988. Marker located. US 70, about 12 mi. W of Matador.

Cottonwood Mott Line Camp.  (Private Property) The Cottonwood Mott, named for the stand, or mott, of trees which surrounded a natural spring here, was the site of a line camp as early as 1878. Cowboys used the camp as a base from which to work, herding cattle and mending fences on the ranch. A log cabin was built here by employees of the Jingle Bob Ranch, and was the site of at least two gunfights. The ranchland was sold in 1882 to the Matador Land & Cattle Company, LDT., a Scotland-based syndicate. The company sold out in 1951, and the land was divided into smaller ranches. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986  Marker located Off US 70, about 13 mi. W of Matador on private rd.

Photos

Matador Postcards and Photographs >>

Resources

Motley County Government Website

Location

Matador, TX 34° 0' 43.2756" N, 100° 49' 19.4844" W