Carhart, Edward Elmer (1863–1946)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 8, 2020

Edward Elmer Carhart, businessman, the eldest son and third of eight children of Theresa (Mumford) and John Wesley Carhart, was born on December 15, 1863, in Watertown, New York. The family moved to Racine, Wisconsin, in 1871, and three years later to Oshkosh, where Carhart received the majority of his schooling. In 1876 he and his sister Minnie began publishing a weekly newsletter, the Early Dawn, using the basement of their father's church as a printing office. Soon Carhart's journalistic ability attracted the attention of his father's cousin, Lewis H. Carhart, who had founded Clarendon, Texas, in 1878. Impressed, Lewis invited him to come and edit the settlement's fledgling newspaper, the Clarendon News, after sending the proofs of its first edition to Oshkosh to be printed at Ed's shop. With his father's blessing, sixteen-year-old Ed stopped over in Chicago to buy a press, proceeded to Sherman, Texas, then the end of the railroad, and arranged to have the press freighted by wagon to Clarendon. In Sherman he met Mary Estella Brewer, daughter of a Methodist minister, who soon afterward moved with her family to Mobeetie. At Clarendon young Carhart converted the News from a monthly to a weekly publication and a year later sold half interest in it to Charles Kimball. On December 23, 1881, Carhart and Mary Brewer became the first White couple to be married in Donley County. They had four children.

After disposing of his paper, Carhart spent about two years riding line on his cousin's Quarter Circle Heart Ranch and served as county clerk of Donley County. He also worked for a short time as a druggist with Jerome D. Stocking and later with B. H. White and Company, general merchants and ranch outfitters at Clarendon. In the spring of 1887, shortly before the Santa Fe Railroad reached the town of Panhandle in Carson County, White sent Carhart there with a stock of goods and a portable building to establish a mercantile store, of which Carhart took charge as manager. Later, after White sold the store, Carhart turned it into a thriving drug business with stock he had purchased from Stocking. Among other products he manufactured quality cigars, which he named after his daughters, Nina and Thelma. He also assisted Henry H. Brooks in establishing the Panhandle Herald. For eight years, beginning in 1889, Carhart served as postmaster, and in 1896 he succeeded Judge James C. Paul as treasurer of Carson County. He held that position until 1904, when he ran for county judge. He sold the drugstore in 1906 and for the next twenty-one years worked as cashier of the Panhandle Bank. He retired in 1927 to establish the Carhart Motor Company, the county's first automobile business. In addition, Carhart owned a grain elevator just east of town. Both he and his wife were pillars in the local Methodist church, and their children married and lived in the Panhandle area. Mary Carhart died on November 25, 1938, and Carhart died on February 4, 1946, at Panhandle. Both are buried there.

Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). Buckley B. Paddock, ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis, 1906). Jo Stewart Randel, ed., A Time to Purpose: A Chronicle of Carson County (4 vols., Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1966–72).

  • Journalism
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Carhart, Edward Elmer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 8, 2020