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GILES, TX (DONLEY COUNTY)

GILES, TEXAS (Donley County). Giles, just off U.S. Highway 287 in southeastern Donley County, grew up around water tanks and stock pens on the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway near Browder Springs. During droughts in traildriving days, these springs offered the only watering place between the Red River and the Canadian River. The settlement was reportedly named for Giles Flippins, a pioneer rancher who was later killed in a gunfight in Indian Territory. With the advent of the railroad in 1887, cattle-shipping pens were built on the site to accommodate the needs of the Diamond Tail, Shoe Bar, and other area ranches. R. E. Montgomery, townsite agent for the railroad, surveyed the area early in 1888. A section house was built one mile northwest, and Edgar L. Mevis, a railroad employee, opened a general store. A post office opened at the community in 1888. Annie Rhone Mevis served as postmistress and became legendary for her kindness to those in need. Once she allegedly hid the notorious Tom (Black Jack) Ketchum when he was on the lam (see KETCHUM BOYS). By 1895 Giles had the store, a depot, a pump station, a hotel, and several residences. At its height the community comprised some twenty buildings, including a small saloon across the tracks from the store. This saloon was later turned into a one-room schoolhouse, which doubled as a church until a church building was built in 1906. A gin opened at the community in 1912. In 1927 Giles had an estimated population of thirty-six. After the advent of automobiles and improved roads, Giles declined as a shipping point. Its post office closed in 1939. In 1968 its population was estimated to be twenty, and in 1970 it was estimated to be twelve. Nevertheless, in 1984 the community still hosted an annual picnic.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Virginia Browder Rogers, The Giles Chronicle: Vignette of Panhandle History, 1887–1956 (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1956).
H. Allen Anderson

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Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "Giles, TX (Donley County)," accessed September 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hng06.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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