The men and women who performed the various trades of 19th and 20th Century Canadian were, in many respects, the core around which community commerce was built. The River Valley Pioneer Museum has a number of authentic exhibits that show the tools, goods, and services provided by bankers, doctors, mercantile shopkeepers, and undertakers. Time spent pouring over these exhibits will impress you with how far we've progressed, but also with how deeply our lives are still intertwined with the services of medicine, finance, and consumer goods.
J.F. Johnson, Merchant & Banker
Johnson Mercantile Canadian TexasMr. Johnson was born in 1858 in Tennessee. He married Elizabeth Winsett there in 1878 and moved to Kiowa, Kansas in 1885 to establish a merchandising business. Mr. Johnson extended the business into Oklahoma and Texas. One of his earlier stores was constructed in Higgins, Texas in 1887.
J.C. Studer Family Julius Caesar Studer, rancher, the son of Ben and Elsie Studer, was born on May 24, 1863, in Kastenholtz, Switzerland. In 1867 the family immigrated to America and settled in a Swiss colony near Tracy City, Tennessee. There Studer hired out as a farmhand at the age of ten, and at thirteen he apprenticed himself to a carriage maker in Grundy County. In 1885, shortly before his nineteenth birthday, he moved to Kiowa, Kansas, where he worked as a railroad machinist and blacksmith.
Julius Born Variety Store Julius Caesar Born was born in Tennessee on May 24, 1879. He came to Canadian on March 6, 1897, not quite 18 years of age. He had worked in the mines of Tennessee for 60 cents a day, been buried alive during a mine cave-in and given up for dead. He was unconscious when dug out. Canadian must have seemed like a significant improvement.
Hoover Building Harvey Edgar Hoover was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and was educated at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He married Bragg Winsett in 1884. Her sister, Elizabeth, married J.F. Johnson, another man who would contribute to the early growth of Canadian and Hemphill County.
C. H. Shaller Home Charles Henry Shaller was born in Illinois in 1854. By 1884, he married Ida Hutchinson in Kansas. They moved to El Dorado, Kansas where Mr. Shaller had a general store. Mr. Shaller learned of the Texas Panhandle Canadian River area from railroad workers who frequented his store. Before the railroad had crossed the Canadian River, Mr. Shaller visited the area and in 1887, he loaded up his merchandise and came to Canadian with his wife.
George Addison George A. Addison was a photographer who operated studios in Texas and Oklahoma Territory from the early 1880s through at least the first decade of the 20th century. He operated studios in Taylor and Georgetown near Austin, Texas; Nocona in northern Texas; Wheeler County in the Texas Panhandle; and, from 1890 to 1895, in the Fort Sill, Oklahoma Territory area.
Hunter, Dick Bussell The historical marker at the Court House in Canadian, Texas contains the following text about Dick Bussell:
(1845-1935) Famed hunter, in 1870s killed buffalo on this square; was one of the first men to hunt commercially. Came to Texas in 1874. In 1887, helped to survey the town site here, where he became lifelong resident, operating a livery stable and wagon yard. Is buried in local cemetery.
C. Stickley's Hearse Charlie, as he was called, came to Canadian in 1900. He was born in Virginia in 1868 and in his youth, attended the Cincinnati School of Embalming and had an Ohio license since 1888. On his way to Nevada, he stopped in Canadian to visit his brother, Harry who had come to Canadian for his health in 1898. Charlie liked the country and decided to stay and worked on his uncle, Vas Stickley’s ranch.
The Fair Store Nahim Abraham was born in 1885, in Kafracab, Lebanon. He left his homeland in 1902 on the first of three trips he made to America before deciding to immigrate permanently. On his second return to Lebanon he was married to Alia Abdullah Bulos Malouf, the daughter of a doctor. After returning to America the third time in 1912, Abraham worked as a traveling salesman.
The Fair Store 1921 Tom Abraham was an American businessman and civic leader in Canadian, Texas.
He was born in the Kafracab, Lebanon to Nahim Malouf (1885–1965) and Alia Malouf (1885–1979), but the parents changed their surname to "Abraham" when they entered the United States through Ellis Island. Tom grew up in Canadian, where he graduated from Canadian High School in 1928.
Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & StoreGeorge Gerlach, son of Franz Joseph and Mary (Gilmartin) Gerlach, was born on February 8, 1863, at Virden, Illinois. Although he learned the stonemason's trade from his father, he felt no attraction to it and earned his first wages by hoeing corn for fifty cents a day. In February 1885 he joined his brother, John J. Gerlach, at his dugout on Horse Creek, seven miles north of the site of Canadian, Texas.
Reid Errington Reid was born May 7, 1907 in Ellis County, Oklahoma. He spent most of his school years in Oklahoma. When he was fifteen years old, he moved with his family to Canadian, Texas. After finishing school, Reid went to work as a cowboy. Reid said cowboys were paid $25 a month and during hard times were paid with Bull Durham tobacco instead.
E. E. Polly Homestead E.E. Polly came to the Panhandle in 1873 from Kansas. He had served in the cavalry during the Civil War and continued in a career with the Army after the war. He served as a hospital steward then druggist in Kansas. He learned about medicine which was more than useful when he came to the Panhandle and he became known to the Indians as a “medicine man”.
Samuel Wood Cabin Samuel Jasper Wood had served in the Civil War as a Northern gun power maker and he and his wife, Ellen lived in the Texas Panhandle in 1875. At that time, they and several wagons including the Woods and Simpson brothers, Gage and Gibbs, started on a buffalo hunt that took them all over the Panhandle.
The Chambers Store Johnnie Chambers was born near Granville, Texas in 1860. After being orphaned young, he and his sister were raised by their grandparents. By the age of 14, he quit school and went to work as a cowboy in the wild Indian country that was then the Panhandle of Texas. He worked on cattle drives to Dodge, Kansas and ultimately was hired by Dave Hargrave in 1883 to work on the Springer Ranch near Canadian.
Sheriff, Tom McGee Tom McGee came to the Texas Panhandle to ranch with Henry Cresswell on the Canadian River. Around the date of 1886, he purchased an interest in the Moody-Andrews Cattle Company. When Hemphill Country was organized in 1887, Tom McGee was elected Sheriff. He was re-elected in 1889. In a robbery scam that included breaking in to a Wells Fargo safe in Canadian on November 23, 1894, Tom McGee was killed by gunshot.
Vas Stickley Home Vastine Stickley came to Texas after the end of the Civil War and worked as a cowboy for J.C. Loving in Jack County, Texas. He helped drive the first cattle to the T-Anchor Ranch in 1881. He returned to the Panhandle in 1887 and helped establish Hemphill County and the city of Canadian and he was a deputy under the county’s first sheriff, Tom McGee.
Canadian High School Upon learning from his uncle, Vas Stickley that the Panhandle was a wonderful place to settle, Harry Stickley came to Canadian for his health in 1898. He worked for his uncle on the ranch now owned by George Arrington. After returning to Ohio, he and his wife, Virgie and her mother, returned to Canadian and built the home at Seventh and Summit.
Malouf Abraham From the Amarillo Globe Times, May 19, 2000:
Giving away his money drew as much attention to Malouf "Oofie" Abraham Sr. as did his wheeling and dealing in the oil and gas business. Abraham built a fortune with oil and natural gas leases in the Anadarko basin of the eastern Panhandle and western Oklahoma, but he started out as the son of immigrants from Lebanon.