As we continue to look at our county history during the territorial days and the approaching statehood in 1912, we note that much organization had already taken place.
In other words, we had been ready for statehood for several years before the date finally arrived. Because we were one of the newer settlements in the state, we know that other areas had been ready since the late 1800s and can read about their status in various histories of the state.
Although Tucumcari came into being in 1901, it wasn't proclaimed a city until 1908. Also, Quay County was created in 1903, but the major history doesn't really begin to show until after we became the 47th state. We had elections during those earlier years, but much of the available information starts for the county in 1912 and for the city in 1908.
According to The Quay County Book: 1903-1985, “The first official city election was held on September 22, 1908.” In that election, J.A. Street was elected mayor, and J. Daughtery was the city clerk until 1911. J.A. Youree was elected mayor in 1910, and in 1911, J. M. Stark became mayor with W Slaughter becoming city clerk. The first mayor after statehood was W.B. Rector with S.C. Campbell as clerk.
We had also chosen various county officials beginning in 1903 and had a strong government established by the time the first official county elections occurred at the time of statehood.
The county courthouse was much used by the time we became a state. In November 1911, the following officials were elected: County Commissioners W.B. Rector, Fred Walter, T.C. Collins; County Clerk D.J. Finnican; County Treasurer Lee G. Pearson; County Assessor James Briscoe; Sheriff Frank Ward; Probate Judge J. D. Cutlip; and Superintendent of Schools E. Pack. All except Mr. Pack were democrats.
With the many businesses operating throughout the city and county, the people were well organized and were ready to enter the Union in order to contribute our part. Great plans had already been made to see that our area would grow and prosper.
With the railroad and the agricultural industries, ours was a successful gateway to this territory and later to this state.
As we look around, we can still see many of the sites that made our area outstanding, and we can plan to add a few more as years pass. By reviving some of that pioneer spirit, we can gather at our depot and pick up some of those dreams.
All we have to do is to work together as those first settlers did and we can regain the head of steam that helped us in the beginning.
Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun by calling 575-461-1952.