Clear Creek, or Hogtown, was Hemphill County's first settlement and the forerunner of the county seat, Canadian. It rose on the north bank of the Canadian River, near its junction with Clear Creek, late in 1886 as a camp for the construction crews of the Southern Kansas (Panhandle and Santa Fe) Railroad. Soon the town won considerable notoriety as a "desperado city." Saloons, gambling dens, and stores were erected, and tents were pitched for temporary sleeping quarters. Sam Pollard, a local rancher, constructed a hotel and restaurant. The brothers John J. and George Gerlach, who had operated a mercantile store for ranchers on Horse Creek since 1884, moved their one-room establishment to Hogtown.
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