Two Paintings Depict Early History
The two paintings that hang on the north wall of the reception room at the museum depict some of the early history of this area. The artist, W.J. Woloszyn, of Tulsa, O.K., was commissioned by J.E. and Becky Marcum to produce the paintings to hang on the wall of Marcum Motor Co. when it opened at 835 W. Foster in 1988. The lone animal shown in the upper left corner of the painting on the viewer's left represents the vast herds of buffalo (bison) that roamed unhampered over the plains in the 1 540s when Coronado was searching for the seven cities of gold. Indians, who depended on the buffalo for food, shelter and clothing, followed the buffalo. The main tribes of this region were the Comanche, Kiowa and Kiowa-Apaches, although there were some Cheyenne. The Comanches were known as the "Lords if the Plains" because of their great skill in horseback riding. In the I 870s, buffalo hunters around Kansas had killed most of the animals and were searching for new hunting grounds. They began to hunt in the Texas Panhandle although they were invading Indian hunting grounds by being south of the Arkansas River. William F. "Billy" Dixon (upper right) was one of the best known buffalo hunters. To supply ammunition and other needs for the hunters, some men from Kansas built a trading post known as Adobe Walls in present Hutchinson County. Quannah Parker (center left) leader of the Kwahadi (antelope eaters) band of Comanches and other Indians were determined to drive the hunters from their territory, and in the early morning hours of June 27, 1874, a large number of Indians attacked Adobe Walls. For three days, the outnumbered hunters held the Indians at bay. On the third day Billy Dixon raised his Big 50 Sharps rifle and fired the "shot of the century" that traveled 1,538 yards and toppled an Indian from his horse. The Indians then gave up their struggle and traveled sorrowfully to the reservation at Fort Sill (Lawton, O.K.). Three months later, on September 12, 1874, the most famous battle of the Red River War, occurred at Buffalo Wallow in present Hemphill County. Two scouts and four soldiers defeated 125 Kiowa and Comanche Indians. Since Indians were no longer a threat, ranchers began to move into the area. They knew that the grass that had nourished the buffalo would be good for their cattle. Charles Goodnight (lower left corner) was the first permanent rancher in the Panhandle. He had blazed several cattle trails from Central Texas to the northwest and had built the first known chuck wagon before he came from Colorado to Palo Duro Canyon in 1876. He found the walls of the canyon so steep that he had to take his wagons apart in order to descend. With J.A. Adair he established the JA Ranch, but he had his own home ranch. In 1882 Charles G. Francklyn of New York and London, purchased 637,440 acres of land for a ranch to be managed by B.B. Groom and his son Harrison Thompson Groom. The Diamond F brand was recorded by B.B. Groom at Mobeetie in 1882. Four years later, 1886, the Grooms could not meet their financial obligations and the British stockholders foreclosed. A picture above the Diamond F brand shows men laying rails. In 1887 the Fort Worth and Denver laid a line into Amarillo and the Southern Kansas Railway of Texas (Santa Fe) laid a line into Panhandle City. In 1902 the Rock Island was built across the southern part of Gray County.