A History of Lipscomb County Page: 13
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Fossil Excavations in Lipscomb County
In the early 1920's, N. Z. Ward of Guymon,
Oklahoma, excavated sites on the Sebits Ranch,
south of Higgins and on the Box T north of town
and on some creeks on the south side of Wolf
Creek. Mr. Ward was working under Dr. Mathews
of the American Museum of Natural History of
New York City and the fossils he found are now on
exhibit there. Among the fossils found were camels,
dogs, saber-toothed tigers, antelope, deer, etc.,
about twenty species of mammals of the Pliocene
The Panhandle-Plains Museum at Canyon also
has some Lipscomb County fossils on display. For
instance: a mastodon lower jaw, Amebelodon
Hicksi, with tusks showing it to be of the early or
middle Pliocene Age; some femurs and skulls of the
same species, and other bones all, or most of which
were found on the Sebits Ranch or nearby. Also, a
skull, with long horns of a Pleistocene bison found
on the Sam Waters place.
In 1917, Fred Barnes found a mammoth tusk 16
ft. long and 6 inches in diameter on the Kiowa
Creek northeast of Darrouzett, and I gave two feet
of it to a museum in Kenton, Oklahoma.
In 1922 I found a femur and two molars of a
mammoth on Bowen Creek two or three miles west
of Darrouzett and I gave them to Bill Allen, who
took them to Kenton also. These fossils were from
the Pleistocene or early recent period.
In the late 1938's W. Z. Ward unearthed some
mastodon, Amebelodon Hicksi, on the first hill on
Highway 305 north of Lipscomb. There were three
skulls that I remember and he also found some
saber teeth. They found them while widening the
road and stopped long enough to give him time to
All the Pliocene fossils are found at 2350 to 2550
ft. above sea level in Lipscomb County. They are
found in ancient waterholes or creek beds, where
the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene formations had
been eroded by the beginning of the Pliocene
Epoch. Therefore, they are found in the southeast
part of the county while the mammoth and bison
are found in the Pleistocene, a much later epoch, in
the northern part of the county.
Submitted by Max Blau
The Buried City
About six miles farther up this valley is another
mystery. Here is what is known locally as "The
Buried City," which I also visited on this trip.
While it is not much of a city, it is quite a curiosity,
and the student of archaeology may find some
A mastodon jaw, Amebelodon Hicksi, from the Sebits
thing of interest. Twenty-six foundations of stone
have thus far been discovered. Possibly many more
may yet be found beneath the soil. The largest of
these structures I saw, and the one where excavating
has been done is about 28 x 78 feet, and lies
northeast to southwest. Others are scattered about
Their walls are formed by standing long, flat
stones on end with a space between which is filled
with smaller stone and clay. In the walls are openings
as for doors. The floor is now about two feet
below the surface of the ground, showing that the
land has been lifted two feet since these buildings
Several skeletons have been discovered in various
postures; also pottery of at least five types;
corn, cobs, and also a stone bowl containing a kind
of batter. All of these things are charred and blackened.
Stone hoppers, or trays for grinding corn are
quite common. Everything found, indicates the
Stone Age and that these people did not belong to
the fierce and warlike tribes of a later date, but
were driven out, or massacred by them. In the low
valley there still remains the marks of a system of
irrigation which can be plainly seen.
Harvard University is now taking an interest in
these ruins. Professor Sterns of that institution has
a work of exploration in hand and is expected to
continue the excavation next summer.
Some quaint old trees grow in this valley. I saw a
cottonwood seven feet in diameter; also an elm
whose noon-day shadow covered a space eighty
feet in diameter. This is called "The Camp Meeting
Tree," because religious services were held under
its protecting boughs.
Signed: By Rev. G. A. McKee 1918
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Lipscomb County Historical Survey Committee. A History of Lipscomb County, book, Date Unknown; Lipscomb, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46830/m1/17/: accessed December 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .