The following classified ad appeared in the Galveston Daily News, August 15, 1903:
“ORDINARILY YOU DO NOT WANT TO TELL YOUR WIFE VERY MUCH.
But when you start out to hunt a home buy her a ticket and let her see WAGGONER COLONY, IN WICHITA AND WILBARGER COUNTIES, NOW ON THE MARKET.
THE CHEAPEST LANDS IN TEXAS FOR THE MONEY.
Crops are so you have the time to make good. Take advantage of this proposition and GET YOU A HOME.
Without question the best field in Texas today is located on the Famous Red River Valley.
These lands are cheap, terms easy, and the man who rents from now on does it as a matter of choice.
We produce from 15 to 25 bushels of wheat per acre, 15 to 70 bushels of oats per acre 1-3 to 1 bale of cotton per acre (no boll weevils), 25 to 60 bushels of corn per acre, cut alfalfa five times a year, have pastures for the cow, hog and horse, good gardens, sell more cantaloupes than any ten towns in Texas, more watermelons and get a better price.
Lands in this section pay for themselves in two to four crops; no salt; no gyp; no aklaki; no hard pan; no grasshoppers.
We have plenty of schools and churches; rural delivery and everything as good as the $70 black lands of Texas.
If you are interested, write me at Vernon, or buy a home seekers’ ticket for Electra, Tex. and I will go over the land with you.
When you see it you will buy; but see it to appreciate it.
A list of purchasers for the asking and they will tell you what they think if it.
When you buy a home get the best.
W.T. WAGGONER, Vernon, Tex.”
Electra was named for Electra Waggoner, the daughter of W. T. Waggoner and granddaughter of Dan Waggoner. Together, Dan and Tom built the legendary Waggoner Ranch. The community was originally known as Waggoner, then Beaver Switch and finally Electra. It took hold once it got a train depot and post office. The Clayco oil strike brought another boom to Electra in 1911.
In some respects, my grandparents’ lives paralleled the life of Electra. My grandfather moved there from the family farm in Oklahoma around 1910 looking for oilfield work. He worked on a farm outside town and then caught on with an oil company for a few years. He enlisted in the US Army around 1917 during World War I, serving as a training sergeant at Ft. Hood. Afterwards, he returned to Electra after he mustered out of the US Army following the end of the war. He was soon to marry a pretty girl from Wichita Falls and together they would live in North Texas the rest of their lives. Grandpa said he first lived in a tent town until he could find a home. He paid $3,000 for his house, he recalled, and it served the family well. He and Grandma lived there, laughed and cried through the raising of four children and numerous grandchildren. Their experiences included his career in the oilfield, having three sons to serve in the Navy in World War II, one of whom would lose his life in a noncombat accident, faithfully attending church each Sunday, Grandpa joining the Masons and presiding over many Masonic ceremonies and funerals. Together, they watched Electra rise and fall with several boom and bust cycles of the oil business and other American economic cycles.
Electra’s namesake, Electra Waggoner, was born in 1882 to Tom and Ella Halsell Waggoner. By then, the Waggoner ranch was flourishing under Dan Waggoner and his family. By the time Electra Waggoner became an adult, the ranch was virtually intact and would remain so for many decades. She resided in Fort Worth most of her life and had a family of her own. Electra died in 1925 in New York City where she had been taken to have an operation, though she passed away before having surgery.
The town of Electra, Texas is located atcontinues today as an oil, farming and ranching town. Its population has declined considerably in recent decades, primarily due to easier access to personal transportation as the population shifted towards the larger towns. It is situated on the border of Wichita and Wilbarger counties so was not a good candidate to serve as a county seat, but it still maintains a strong presence in the area.
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