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CONNER, LINCOLN GUY

CONNER, LINCOLN GUY (1860–1920). Lincoln Guy Conner, rancher and founder of Canyon, was born on March 4, 1860, near Boonville, Missouri. Earlier, his father had established a flour mill, and the community that grew up around it was known as Conner's Mill. After suffering severe economic losses during the Civil War the family moved to Grayson County, Texas. There Conner met Queenie Victoria Younger, whom he married on January 19, 1884. They made their home on a 600-acre tract in Clay County near Bellevue, east of Henrietta, where Conner had previously built a small herd of cattle.

In the summer of 1887 the Conners moved their 350 cattle into the Panhandle, stopping first at Quitaque, near the future site of Plainview. On Christmas Day 1887 Conner surveyed and located section 34, block B5 in Randall County, near the T Anchor Ranch headquarters. He bought this land from the state for three dollars an acre on April 2, 1888, and constructed a half-dugout (see DUGOUT) from logs hauled from nearby Palo Duro Canyon. Here he established a general store and post office, and in the spring of 1889 he laid out the townsite of Canyon City. When Randall County was organized on July 27, the Conner dugout served as a voting place. Conner's daughter Mamie, the oldest of three children, was the first white child born in the county.

To attract settlers to Canyon City, the Conners began donating town lots to anyone willing to built a home or business building. Conner opened the town's first real estate office and gave thirty acres to the Santa Fe Railroad for a depot and cattle pens. He also donated lots for a county courthouse, schools, and churches. In 1891 he built the two-story Victoria Hotel, which he named for his wife. Conner expanded his ranching and real estate ventures steadily over the next two decades and became one of Canyon City's most prosperous citizens.

As a charter member of Canyon's First Baptist Church and Masonic lodge, Conner contributed generously to the improvement of his community's civic and educational institutions and sought to have Palo Duro Canyon made a national park (see PALO DURO CANYON STATE SCENIC PARK). His crowning achievement was the donation of forty acres near his residence and $2,000 for the establishment of West Texas State Normal College (now West Texas A&M University) in 1910. He died on December 30, 1920, and was buried in Dreamland Cemetery, Canyon. Victoria Conner continued her husband's philanthropic works and was the undisputed leader of the local Pioneer Club until her death on March 27, 1946. Conner Park, Canyon's first city park, is named for the Conners. In 1967 a historical marker was placed on the site of the original Conner dugout in Canyon.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Harley True Burton, "A History of the JA Ranch," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 31 (January 1928). Canyon News November 15, 1928, July 20, 1939, April 4, 1946. Swisher County Historical Commission, Windmilling: 101 Years of Swisher County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1978). Mrs. Clyde W. Warwick, comp., The Randall County Story (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1969).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

H. Allen Anderson, "CONNER, LINCOLN GUY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcoca), accessed August 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.