I spent a lot of my growing up years in the tiny community of Proctor, Texas. I’ve written in the past here on Texans United about my grandparents’ huge old home there and the lazy days my brother and I used to spend in the little community.
Of course, when I was young I didn’t question much about the history of the “town” that still had its old-time Post Office where Helen Croft was the Post “Master.” How I loved to go to go there and open those old boxes that held the mail!
No, I didn’t have enough sense to ask anything about history. Instead, I just soaked it in because (at least to me) the Proctor of the 50s and 60s was still living in its history…at least that was how it seemed to a very young girl.
Today, the Proctor Post Office and the well in the middle of the road are gone as are the old timers that I knew once upon a time; however, a few months ago I actually took the time to revisit Proctor and my old memories and I discovered that other than the faces, not a lot has changed.
Yes, Proctor still smells and feels the same as it did fifty years ago, but of course even that many years ago, the town was long past its proverbial hayday. As is always the case, the story of the beginnings of Proctor, Texas varies according to who does the telling. The following is as close to the truth as I can get.
Downtown Proctor as I knew it is located about twelve miles northeast of Comanche, Texas, just off of Highway 67/377 on County Road 1476.
Back then, upon turning off of 377 onto 1476 (where on the right corner Herb and Martha Kennedy’s store sat), we passed the Post Office, the old school, and the feed store on our left before the road curved to the right where just beyond that curve stood and still stands (also on the right) my grandparent’s old two-story home with the trees that still feel big enough and old enough to have seen the Creation.
On the property that butted up to us on the east once stood the bank and the old mercantile. In fact, my grandparents home was built by the owner of that mercantile, Mr. Gray. Mr. Gray also owned a lumber yard once upon a time in Proctor, Texas and only the finest of lumber was used to build the home that eventually became my second home. Mr. Gray often boasted that not one board in that huge old house carried a single knot hole. For the times, this was something of which not many could boast!
The original Proctor, however, was actually established in a slightly different location by a man who did not carry the Proctor name at all, and I have to tell you that the story of these days varies according to who is doing the telling.
The following information is a combination of what has been written by the Texas Historical Commission as well as writings from Mollie Moore Godbold, daughter of T.O. Moore.
Thomas O. Moore, from Galveston, Texas, actually was the first to purchase land in what today would be the Proctor community, but was located about a mile to the east of today’s “downtown.” (Near the Proctor Cemetery)
Possibly for health reasons, Moore was delayed in moving from Galveston to what would become his new home, sending his partner, Alexander Watson Proctor, on ahead to begin construction on a mercantile for a settlement first known as Moore’s Store and then Mooresville.
Besides the store, the little community eventually held a school. Then, in 1874 Mooresville was made a stop on the stage line, and it seemed that the time was right to apply for a Post Office.
The name Mooresville was submitted but was rejected because that name already existed in the postal service. The second choice submitted was the name Proctor, and the community had a new name.
As happened so often, it was the railroad that actually changed history as to the location of the town. After learning that the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad would not be coming to them, it was decided that they would go to the railroad, and the town of Proctor was moved with the first town lots being sold in 1891, and the new town began to thrive with the progress always brought by the rail.
Texans United sends out a huge thank you to Ruth Adele Moore Waggoner for sharing the writings of her family.