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New Feature article,  

ROY C MEGARGEL & MEGARGEL, TEXAS & THE BIRTHPLACE OF PEPSI! NEW BERN NC

 


WELCOME

 

Megargel Texas


During my fact finding pursuit, I’ve attempted to fill in some of the blanks surrounding Roy C Megargel.  One of the more interesting facts I discovered was a small town in Texas that has been wearing his name for almost a hundred years. More interesting still is the history and people of that town, Megargel Texas.

For an outsider like me try to get a feel for a town that I’ve never visited has been a challenge, but a rewarding challenge.  Through the efforts of a few of Megargel’s most notable citizens, I did get to know them a little and in the end I was left a little homesick for a place I’ve never been.

Thanks first and foremost to Harvey McQueen for the bulk of the pictures and for keeping me in touch with the people who could best help me find the answers I was looking for.  Thanks to Johnny Palmer for believing in Megargel and for his determination to leave it a better place than he found it.  And to Anita Palmer for helping him to achieve those dreams.  Her book “From Bluebirds to Mustangs The History of Megargel, Texas”  has been a huge help and highly entertaining for me.  To anyone even remotely interested I recommend finding a copy of this book.  Google it.  Many thanks to author Jack Loftin for allowing me to use some of the graphics from one of his books, “Trails through Archer: A centennial history, 1880-1980.”  They themselves have become the historical figures for the generations to come.

The stories in this portion were all summarized from (along with the graphic's)

“From Bluebirds to Mustangs The History of Megargel, Texas” by Anita Palmer

                      

 


The Gulf Texas and Western Railroad

It's said the Roy C Megargel never visited the town named after him. He dd make it to North Texas but no further than Jacksboro. Thats too bad. He would have been proud.

Megargel Depot

Megargel Depot

It had been hoped that by naming the town after the Raiload's President, it might convince or at least influence the decision to build a round house here. It was built in Jermyn Texas. (Coincidently also named for another railroad exec.)

First Train through Megargel

The GT&W bought 220 acres from Mr John A Young, it was then deeded to the Trinity Townsite Company for the purpose of erecting a railroad town in 1910.

First Megargel School

The original charter provided the land but not the materials to build it. Mr. J.M. Hayter and Mr. Joe J. Cross both borrowed money from the bank on their personal notes to finance the building materials

First Megargel school bus

In 1924 Megargel led the way in school buses. This bus was made from a flat bed truck with the top and sides framed of wood so it could be covered in canvas for use in inclement weather.

The flying of the Guineas

In an effort to keep Megargel a favorite shopping spot in Archer County during the late 30’s they would hire a airplane to fly over Megargel and drop 10-15 guineas about 2PM every Saturday afternoon. Banded to their legs would be coupons for maybe a free sack of flour, pair of work socks or some special item from a local merchant and the chase was on!! If you were lucky enough to catch one, you also got to keep the guinea! Singing Cowboys promoting wares were a common sight as well.

Fannie May Byrd.

One of my favorite people in Megargel's history. A person could believe that Fannie Mae just may have been the Queen Elizabeth of North Texas! She was in fact the telephone switchboard operator for 33 years (1925 to 1958). From day one when Megargle had only 7 telephones. She lived in the back of the telephone office, that had once been the old land office, the first bulding in Megargel. “Central” ruled her empire with an iron fist, but any citizen in any emergency had the compfort of knowing this was one Megargel Gal that would get the job done.

Tobe Palmer

In early 20's oilman, hard hit during the depression, he and his wife would dig and pump for water and oil sunup to sundown. Whatever it took to keep their family strong, In 1951 he bought “The Last Picture Show” in Megargel. When their days in the oilfields were done they went to their second job running the picture show. Eventually all the Palmer boys followed their father into the oilfields.

The Palmers

Johnny Palmer

It was Johnny's dream to get Megargel it's own historical markers and monument. He had been the Chairman in charge of building the Archer County War Memorial. Johnny is also a rancher, farmer and collecter, but the one time I spoke to him he was unquestionalbly first and foremost an Oilman.

1938 Celebration

At the end of the depression Megargel threw a celebration for their town on May 10th (day the town was founded) with over 5000 people attending, Lot’s of towns across America had lots of celebrations, but look at those pots of meat and beans!! How can you not love that!

O.M. Smith Jr

Smitty seemed to be everywhere. You'll see his likeness in Megargel's historical marker wearing the 1927 band uniform. His father was Mayor in Megargel between 1932 and 1934.

Megargel High School

The gym began construction in 1949 and completed the following year, There was also a home economics cottage and a vocational agriculture building in addition to the gym. This picture is from 1959 after the additions.

1962

Cola goes up from 10 to 15 cents. Oddly enough nowhere in the book about Megargle or in my discussions with people from there did I find any connection to Pepsi-Cola. Ironic at best from my point of view if no one else's.

Ed Pedhacek

At his peak, in 1993, Ed had over a 1,000 Emu's. Within these buildings he forulated and manufactored a line of Emu products. Ed is also said to be a master welder of anything any other welder would tell you is is impossible.

Megargel Deli

As of 2003, this is the only store that still sells grocries, cigerettes, liquor, gasoline, has public restrooms and serves hot meals.

I recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested.  GOOGLE "From Bluebirds to Mustangs The History of Megargel, Texas" to find a copy of this book.  This has just been a small sampling, I'm sure you will find it as captivating as I did.  Be prepared to become a Megargelite in spirit. 

And finally, Anita, Thank You so much for the autographed copy, and Thanks to Johnny Palmer for taking a few minutes to chat with me and giving me a sense of direction with this piece.

As a side note, I found this interesting as well, the right hand signature is Roy C Megargle

It appears there is also a rural area called Margarel Alabama.   Coincidence?  you decide.

That was one slice of Megargel history.  Now I call on my friend "Harvey McQueen" to help me show you a slice of today's Megargel.  He has become a Megarlite over the course of 30 plus years and has served as the Minister of the Megargel Church of Christ since 1964 .

  Mr. &  Mrs. Harvey McQueen

Historic Megargel

1927 Megargel Bulebird

BlueBird

The first High School Band In Texas, They were the pride of Megargle, called on to play on the radio not once but twice. The Marker was made in the likeness of OM "Smitty" Smith.Jr.

The Comanche Exodus 1854-1858

Megargel's Historical Markers

Members of the Church of Christ prior to 1930

Church of Christ as it stands today in a field of bluebonnets

Megargel Cafe "Our House"

Megargel School

Building sold in 2007

Megargel High School

Last Graduating Class 06

Megargle Gym

completed in 1950 it was the pride of Megargel, it could seat 500 spectators the hardwood floors designed to accomdate Basketball, Volleyball,Shuffleboard, Tumbling, Boxing. doubles and single Tennis, and Badmitton. Sorry be thy name to anyone caught on Coach Petersons prized floor in street shoes

Vocational Agriculture Shop

Home Economics Bldg

Old Community Center

Megargel Cemetary

Cemetary Historical Marker

First Grave in the Megargel cemetery

Dec 29 1910 Dr WT Webb and his wife buried thier 2 day old son Arza.

Cemetery Storm Damage in 2004

Thanks to the DOT for help in the cleanup.

Also. " Thanks to the generous donations of patrons, the forethought of Bobbie Bishop and Harvey McQueen the longtime Church of Christ minister and postmaster, the upkeep of the Megargel Cemetery is now funded by the interest earned in a perpetual care fund." -anita palmer

Megargel Taxi belongs to Butch Anz

I admit it, I selected these 2 pictures just because I like them.

Megargel Taxi

The 1965 Megargel Texas Fire Dept

Mustang Hall

Megargel Volunteer Fire Dept Dinner

City Hall Megargel Tx

Interior of City Hall

An oilrig in 1985

New Park under construction

Who say's it never snow's in Texas?

Sunrise in Megargel

Sunset in Megargel

The railroad town evolved into a farming community of mainly wheat and cattle and on occasion a booming oil town.  In the early days, less than a hundred years ago, children walked or rode horses to school.  That is if they could get away from chores to go to school at all.  The town had their brushes with fame.  Bonnie and Clyde once stayed just outside of town, Machine Gun Kelly was seen passing through asking directions and Megargel even had a connection to Elvis.  Many a Oilfield company laughed at Megargel Drilling Company with their local farm hand workers, but they got the job done.

I asked a Megargelite named "Holly" who she considered to be the legends in Megargel.  This is a portion of her answer to me.

"Legends....I really don't know. But one of my favorite Megargel "hero's" is my own granddad, B.H. Fichte. He passed away in December 2007 at the age of 94. He was so cool and I miss him dearly. He had lived on FM 210 about 3 miles north of Megargel "forever". He was county commissioner for many years and I still have people that remember him tell me he was the best commissioner Megargel ever had. He also served on the school board for many years. He was a farmer and rancher. He was pretty quiet and never had anything bad to say about anybody. He was also a tough guy...."

Pretty impressive! So I looked him up and this is what I found.  He was born in 1912 and at the age of one his family bought a farm north of Megargel.  He was educated in the Eureka School district and later served on the Eureka School Board.  He started farming in 1930 with a team of mules.  He earned extra money with his mule team building county bridges.  Not until 1938 could he afford to buy a tractor.  When the local school board consolidated with Megargel he transferred there as a trustee.  In 1953 he was elected road commissioner for Archer County Precinct 3.  He was also one of the 2 oldest Megargle citizens until his passing in 2007.

Megargel is a place where Florence Busby Gray (the other oldest living citizen) and her daughter, Janis, both had the same 2nd grade teacher 24 years apart;  where the railroad pulled out and took up the tracks in '43 and where the oil booms came but didn't stay.  They have been dealt both feast and famine, good times and hard.  There are those who say the town is dying, but I don't think so...  another town might have already slipped away, but this is a North Texas town full of North Texas men and women who call Megargel home.  I believe there is a strong core of dedicated Megargelite's with heels dug in waiting for the next good thing to come to town. 

I began this as a tribute to Roy C Megargel, a little known figure in Pepsi-Cola's history, only to discover that the role he played far exceeded my expectation.  He was a little known man who cast a giant shadow and he forever changed the lives he touched for the better.  Now almost a hundred years later, Megargel Texas, the town bearing his name, continues to walk in his footsteps, forever changing the lives it touches for the better.

 

Copyright © 2002. All Rights Reserved.
 

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