Tales 'N Trails Museum The history of Montague County, all in one place

The concept of having a brick-and-mortar museum to capture and house the history of Montague County and Nocona's surrounding area began in the mid-1990s when a small group of people began meeting and throwing the idea around. A consultant was brought in to advise the group on how to best display its plethora of relics.
After 15 years of planning and saving, the museum was complete and opened its doors in 2010.
"We wanted to do it right. We didn't want to just throw up some building or go into an old building and redo it. It took us 15, 18 years to get the money raised to open it like we wanted to." - Nell Ann McBroom, museum curator and great granddaughter of city founder David Crockett Jordan.
Museum board President Tom Horn joined the project in the early 2000s and remembers visiting the Benton Collection as a child. The project not only stirs up memories of his childhood, but also puts him in position to preserve history for generations to come.
One of the largest exhibits at the Tales and Trails Museum in Nocona focuses on the Native American influences in the area and includes part of the Joe Benton Collection of artifacts from the various tribes that once thrived there.

A vast portion of the museum's artifacts come from the personal collection of Joe Benton, former Nocona resident and oil and cattleman who would pay people to find and give him ancient Native American, French and Spanish artifacts from the area during the Great Depression. The Benton family housed the artifacts in their family mansion before donating them to the museum.

The museum is split into five distinct categories chronicling Nocona's history - Native Americans, the Leather Industry, Western Heritage, Oil and Gas and Agriculture.

Several American Indian tribes settled along the Red River in both Texas and Oklahoma, including a tribe of the Wichitas called the Taovayas. The stories of Comanche Chief Peta Nocona, wife Cynthia Ann Parker and their son Quanah Parker are part of the Native Americans display.

The display also showcases common stone tools used by tribes for daily life.

Nocona's Justin Boot Company, Nocona Athletic Goods and the leather works of local artist Dell Motley are enshrined in the Leather Industry display, detailing the town's history of leather goods.

Western Heritage and Agriculture also played a big role in shaping Montague County. The museum displays feature several items used on the trail including saddles, tools, boots, hats, ropes, firearms, branding irons and barbed wire. The museum is also building a 9,300-square-feet exhibit hall to house its agriculture displays such as equipment, wagons, a Model T and a blacksmith shop.

A working scale model of a Spudder drilling rig is part of the oil and gas exhibit at the Tales 'N Trails Museum in Nocona.

As with most Texas towns and counties, oil and gas is prevalent in Montague County's history. A replica and functioning Fort Worth Spudder operation, an oil-well drilling machine one-sixth the size of an actual Spudder, is on display in the museum's Oil and Gas section.

A 1912 Wichita Spudder on display on the property of the Tales 'N Trails Museum in Nocona. The machinery was the preliminary boring device which established a hole before more sophisticated equipment was brought in to complete the oil well. The remarkable antique was moved from Petrolia to the museum with the help of several area oilmen.

An actual Wichita Spudder is on display outside of the museum and towers over a nearby pumper's house, the homestead of men hired to maintain pump jacks in the field.

See more #MuseumMonday stories, photos, videos and features at our Museum Monday landing page at timesrecordnews.com
Created By
Orlando Flores Jr.
Photos by Torin Halsey/Times Record News

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