Soash was established by William Pulver Soash in 1909 as part of a development project in far northwestern Howard County near the Borden county line. In that year Soash contracted to buy between 110,000 and 175,000 acres of Christopher C. Slaughter's Long Ranch at $12.70 an acre for the Soash Land Company. Soash moved his company offices from Iowa to Soash, where, his advertisements claimed, there was fertile soil and abundant rainfall. By July of 1909 Soash had begun his town with a brick bank building, the two-story Lorna Hotel (named after his daughter), and a garage large enough for thirty cars. A post office was opened on December 21 with Rufus E. Slaughter as postmaster. A rural school district in the extreme northwestern region of the county was also established, and soon the town had a telephone exchange, a telegraph office, a water works, an electric plant, and several businesses. Soash also planned to have parks, a flour mill, a cement block factory, and a canning plant, but the land promoter had pushed too far, and like so many other grand schemes on the plains the project disappeared into thin air. The development was on the edge of the Caprock, where much of the land was unsuitable for farming. The Santa Fe Railroad trunk line ran from Slaton to Lamesa, about twenty miles to the northwest instead of to Soash, and a severe drought from 1909 to 1912 discouraged any remaining colonizers. Most of the businesses had left by 1911, and the Soash Land Company vanished into bankruptcy in the summer of 1912. By 1915 Soash had a population of fifty. Then another drought in 1917–18 doomed the community. The Soash post office was discontinued on June 30, 1916, reestablished in April 1917, and permanently closed on October 31, 1917. The people then moved their belongings and their buildings to Lamesa. Only the concrete shell of the bank and office building remains.
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.
Charles G. Davis | © Texas State Historical Association
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