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  Partner: Boyce Ditto Public Library
 Decade: 1990-1999
 Year: 1991
[Mineral Wells, Texas 1881]
This is a photograph of Mineral Wells, Texas, taken in 1881. (Please observe that the picture carries a copyright by A. F. Weaver.) It is the earliest picture of Mineral Wells available. It was mailed to A.F. Weaver by a woman in Colorado, who found it in her great-grandfather's (James Bevan) belongings, in 2004. The late relative was a world traveler, and spent only a short time in Mineral Wells. The photograph was obtained too late to be included in the last edition (the mini edition) of TIME WAS... James Alvis Lynch and his family arrived in Millsap Valley December 24, 1877. He dug a well to 41 feet in 1878, but it was dry. He contracted to have another well drilled in 1880, and it encountered mineral water. The water acquired renown for its medicinal quality. It fetched health-seekers to what would later be Mineral Wells by the thousands. Lynch laid out the city of Mineral Wells on his 80-acre farm in 1881. The unidentified lines of white objects in the upper background are a mystery, but are probably tents. H.M. Berry, an early resident, and Mineral Wells' first school teacher, wrote in 1921, " . . .by the first of October (1881) it looked like a small army was camped here, tents were everywhere." The Lynch cabins, site of the mineral water discovery well, is in the grove of trees at the middle left of the picture. A note on the photographer: James Bevan was born in Lancashire, England, but spent much of his life traveling in the United States (where, presumably, he took this photograph), Australia and Africa. He was acquainted with Cecil Rhodes, whom he reputedly disliked. He cured a Zulu chief of severe constipation, and was made blood brother to him in gratitude. Mr. Bevan would have been put to death (along with the attending witch doctor) upon the event of failure to cure. He spent little time in America. texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20337/