The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952 Page: 232
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
avowed purpose was the establishment of a college west of the
98th meridian and north of the 3oth parallel.
In support of its proposals the committee issued a booklet
which pointed out the need for a college in West Texas. The
committee conceived of the new college as a branch of the larger,
stabilized Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. The
booklet mentioned in detail the agricultural productivity of the
region, including the all-important cotton output of 1,o020o,474
bales in 1916. The committee also estimated that 200oo,ooo young
men and women in the area were of the college age and in need
of near-by educational facilities. It must be remembered that in
those days of poor roads and untrustworthy automobiles, rail-
roads were the chief means of inter-city communication and
transportation. A trip of over one hundred miles called for more
concern than an airline jaunt from New York to San Francisco
The clamor which resulted from this campaign ended with
the passage of a bill in February, 1917, which created John
Tarleton Agricultural College at Stephenville, and another
which would provide $500,000 for a "West Texas branch of the
A. and M. College." Governor James E. Ferguson was to act as
chairman of a five-man site-selecting committee.
Numerous reports exist of the action which followed. The
evidence often conflicts. Contemporary newspaper accounts in-
dicate that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the gover-
nor's announcement on June 29, 1917, that Abilene had been
selected as the site by a secret ballot. Haskell, Snyder, and
Amarillo also had figured in the balloting. Two committeemen
said that they had finally voted for Snyder; a third intimated
that he had voted for either Haskell or Snyder. Since three of
the five members had leaned toward Snyder, it appeared that
chicanery had been involved. The three dissenting committee-
men-Lieutenant Governor William P. Hobby, Speaker of the
House F. O. Fuller, and Commissioner of Agriculture Fred W.
Davis-returned to the governor's office but were told that the
ballots had been destroyed by a janitor.
The issue, however, was not settled. Sweetwater citizens called
for a mass meeting on July 6 to discuss the governor's announce-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952, periodical, 1952; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101139/m1/278/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.