Friday, September 27, 2013

How did Marathon, Texas receive its name?

From: "Gustafson, Andrew"

My name is Andrew and I am doing some research on Marathon, Texas. There are several theories about how this town, on the Southern Pacific RR got its name. One is that the town founder, Albion Ernest Shepard, who arrived as a surveyor for the GH & SA RR in the early 1880s, thought the terrain reminded him of Marathon, Greece. Another story is that James Harvey Strobridge's wife, Hanna Maria Strobridge, was allowed to name railroad sidings in this area, and that Marathon, Marfa, and Feodora were all named after literature she was reading while accompanying her husband on the "front." The last legend is that the town was named after a U.S. army general who helped create a road between Presidio, Texas and Fort Stockton (possibly meant to read Fort Davis) in 1854.

In the research I have done so far, I cannot find when Shepard travelled to Greece (it is said he reported this in "his writings," of which I find no citations). I cannot find any information at all (other than the original article, with no citations) about the Strobridge story. And, lastly, Fort Stockton was not established until 1859 (though Fort Davis was established in 1854), and further, I cannot find any officer in west Texas named, in any way, "Marathon."

If anyone has any information that would aid my research into how Marathon, Texas received its name, I would appreciate your help! ...

—Andrew Gustafson, Assistant Curator, Visions of the West Collection