Back, originally Pumpkin Ridge, is a rural community at the junction of State Highway 273 and Farm Road 1321, in eastern Gray County. The area was first settled by farmers in the late 1890s. In October 1899 a post office was opened there and named Northfork because of its proximity to the North Fork of the Red River. John J. Simpkins was the first postmaster. Many of the Pumpkin Ridge farmers built their homes out of lumber procured from the abandoned Fort Elliott near Mobeetie. A one-room school, opened in 1899, was originally taught by Miss Fannie Womble and later by T. M. Wolf, future Gray county judge. The community received its present name after John David Back arrived in the fall of 1904 with his wife and ten children from near Van Alstyne, in Collin County. Back, who became a pillar in the community, gave land for a new school building after the first one was mysteriously plundered for its lumber. The Back school, which served as a church building on Sundays, quickly became a local gathering place. For recreation, area residents enjoyed hunting in the breaks of the North Fork, and in 1905 a local baseball club was organized.
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