Uncovering Snyder's Hidden History - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/29/04

Uncovering Snyder's Hidden History

Scurry County was once crawling with buffaloes, thousands of them. That's how Snyder got its start.

In 1876 Pete Snyder set up a trading post to supply buffalo hunters. The most famous of which, was J. Wright Mooar. He killed 22,000 buffaloes over a period of nine years. His claim to fame was killing a white buffalo. So rare it's hide was shown at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

One hundred years later it's hanging on the wall of his granddaughter's home. Why did he shoot it? "Well, he wanted to have the hide, like anyone else, its very rare," said Judy Hays.

Rarer still were the men who could keep law and order on the frontier of the wild west. Scurry County Law enforcement was founded in 1884. The first sheriff lasted only six months. Cowboys, it turned out, proved to be an "unruly lot." His successor was T.J. Faught. His last name fit perfectly. Never wore a gun, but a pool cue came in handy to quell a bar room fight at the local saloon. He was elected to two more terms.

After the disappearance of the buffalo, Snyder, like most West Texas towns, turned to farming and ranching, until 1948 with the discovery of oil on the Canyon Reef. Word of Snyder spread faster than a West Texas dust storm. Hollywood came calling. Not for movies, but for money. Bob Hope was a Snyder oil investor.

"I like history," said Sue Goodwin. She's the curator of the Scurry county museum. "That's a stove," she said, pointing out the educational and informative. But for the really juicy stuff? We've heard that in the basement...," smirked NewsChannel 11. "Yes," she laughed. That sinister smile took us down two flights of stairs, behind closed doors, to Snyder's hidden history.

"Chicken one dollar, cheeseburger, forty cents," she said refering to a sign. "Oooh, look at that hornets nest. Wow, that's a big hornets nest," we said. The ingredients of a cold medicine? "Alcohol 10%, cannabis, and chloroform," she laughed. Wow! That's good cold medicine.

"This looks evil," said a reporter pointing to a white, solid steel, insane asylum, chair-like contraption. "We think it's a bleeding chair. You would sit here and your wrist would hang here and they would bleed you for impurities," said Goodwin. Luckily, we got out of the basement without losing a drop. Instead, we took all of Snyder's history with us into the sunset.

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