Oil Boom Town, cont'd
Borger founder, Ace Borger.
The first train arrived on Oct. 22, 1926. Prior to this all supplies were brought in by truck and animal drawn wagons. Tank wagons brought in water before the first water wells were drilled. John Miller, a lawyer, was the first mayor and soon began to organize the town in a businesslike manner. The chief source of revenue was from fines. Around the time of Borger’s first birthday, March 1927, Governor Moody sent in the Texas Rangers, The Rangers gave the prostitutes until sundown to get out of town. It was claimed they formed a line a mile long toward Amarillo. In June they declared Borger free from corruption, and left town. The lawlessness returned.
Sept. 13, 1929 District Attorney Johnny Holmes was murdered. He had been investigating the ring leaders in the corruption scandals and was scheduled to testify before a Grand Jury in Amarillo on the following Monday. His murderer was never caught. However, there was some discussion that the murderer could have been a physician who lived nearby and was involved in some of the corruption. Another theory is that it was a professional hit. A week later, on Sept. 21, 1929 the unflappable Texas Ranger Frank Hamer came to investigate followed by Texas State Guard leader Brigadier General Jacob F. Wolters. Governor Moody declared Martial Law in Borger Sept. 29-Oct. 29, 1929 and sent in 84 National Guardsmen and 14 Texas Rangers. The corruption stronghold was broken.
Clem Calhoun was appointed District Attorney by Governor Moody. Calhoun was known as a hard drinker with a fast temper. Sam Jones was indicted for the murder of Holmes but never prosecuted. Jones’ lawyer, W.C. Witcher of Borger called Calhoun a liar and Calhoun pulled a pistol--during a court hearing.
Aug. 31, 1934 Ace Borger was murdered by Tax Assessor/Collector Arthur Huey. The Commissioners Court instructed Huey to put the county money in a bank in Amarillo. Instead, he put the money in Ace Borger’s bank, which soon went insolvent. Huey was under indictment for fraud and misappropriation of county funds when he met up with Borger in the Borger Post Office. A fight ensued and Huey shot Borger. That murder was ruled self-defense. A bullet passed through Borger and hit an innocent bystander who died from the shot. Huey spent 15 years in prison for embezzlement, and then became a plumber in Ft. Worth.
Peek into a typical household of the time, watch a movie with oil drilling footage, and much more. Hutchinson County Museum covers it all from the earliest beginnings to the present day. Plan your visit.
Hutchinson County Historical Museum • 618 N. Main Street • Borger, TX 79007 • 806 273 0130
Tuesday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. • Saturday 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.