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TYLER, STANLEY CUSHING

TYLER, STANLEY CUSHING (1857–1927). Stanley Cushing Tyler, Panhandle pioneer, was born in 1857 to a wealthy banking family in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was a student at Harvard University when he was advised to go west for his health. He moved to Hansford County, Texas, in 1879 and bought four sections of land from the state for a dollar an acre and another four sections from an individual. He leased an additional 100,000 acres from the state. On this choice rangeland along North Palo Duro Creek, Tyler grazed his cattle, which he branded with the VZ Bar. Tyler was among the pioneer ranchers who met at Mobeetie in 1880 to form the Panhandle Stock Association of Texas. The first improvements on his land were a small two-room sod house, a pole barn, and a rock corral. After spending five years learning the cattle business, Tyler returned to Massachusetts to marry his boyhood sweetheart, Mary Elizabeth Ayers, daughter of a prominent family from Charlestown, Massachusetts. The newlyweds traveled by train to Dodge City, then by buckboard 185 miles to the ranch, followed by wagons bearing their belongings. Ornate furniture and draperies from the East provided an enclave of elegance in the rough sod house. The Tylers had five children while they lived in Hansford County. For the births of the first two, Mrs. Tyler returned to Charlestown, where the best medical attention was available. After each birth, the young mother, accompanied by a nurse, made the long railroad trip to Dodge, where she met her husband for the overland journey back to the ranch. The last three children were born at the ranch, where their mother was attended by community physicians and nurses from Kansas City. When Hansford County was organized in 1885, the citizens petitioned that Tyler be appointed justice of the peace. This request was granted by the commissioners court in Mobeetie. Later, in 1894–95, Tyler served as county judge. In 1891 the Tylers built a spacious Victorian mansion on North Palo Duro Creek near the old sod house. It had seven bedrooms, a parlor, a dining room, a kitchen, and a full basement. From Dodge City, Tyler brought in two skilled craftsmen, who worked with eight cowboys a full year to complete the two-story home with rock walls and a high gabled roof, with Gothic arches above each window and door. The stone was quarried about three miles from the building site. Cottonwood logs were hauled from the Canadian River, and other building materials were freighted in from Dodge. Furnishings from New England completed this Panhandle showplace, in which the Tylers hosted many parties and dances. Neighbors from miles around would come, bringing extra food and blankets so their children could sleep in their buggies. In 1907 S. C. and Mary Tyler moved to Guymon, Oklahoma, to "enjoy the comforts of city life." The ranch was subsequently broken up and sold to settlers. Tyler instigated the construction of the Guymon utilities plant and organized and owned the town's telephone company. He was an active Mason and a member of the local Presbyterian congregation. He also served as president of the First National Bank and was involved in the dry-goods business with his son-in-law, L. E. Latham. The Tylers remained in Guymon for the rest of their lives, and both were buried there. Tyler died in 1927 and his wife in 1936. Tyler's genial personality remains a part of Panhandle lore. In the 1980s some of his descendents still lived in Guymon, and others lived throughout West Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Hansford County Historical Commission, Hansford County, Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Taylor, 1980?). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).

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, "TYLER, STANLEY CUSHING," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fty06), accessed September 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.