Parnell, founded in 1888, was twenty-five miles northwest of Miami in central Roberts County. The town was originally named Oran, after the county's namesake, Governor Oran Milo Roberts. Parnell became the seat of government in December 1889, when the election that gave Miami that honor the previous January was declared fraudulent. For the next nine years, the two towns wrangled over the courthouse site. At one point the controversy, which became centered around the appropriate location of the county records, became so heated that Texas Rangers were called in to keep the peace. The Cresswell Land and Cattle Company favored the central location of Parnell because of its proximity to the ranch, while the citizens of Miami argued that their town's railroad made it the logical choice. After Miami won the final election in 1898, Parnell's post office was closed, and its residents moved to Miami, Canadian, Pampa, and elsewhere. The townsite soon reverted to ranch land, and few traces of it remain.
Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.
H. Allen Anderson | © Texas State Historical Association
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