by John H. Bates
But, before we dwell any longer on the history of the present Goree and its surrounding communities, I think it is imperative that we go back at least two decades and possibly a quarter of a century to the era when the first settlers made their first campfires on a strange prairie; inhabited by tens of millions of prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, and coyotes. To the new arrivals it was a veritable sea of land, stirred only by a gentle wind, an occasional “dust devil”, the hallow sound of a buzzing rattler, and the plaintive cry of a lonely coyote. These new settlers were men and women born of hardship, blessed in a belief of an Almighty God, and graced with a determination to carve for themselves, from this boundless prairie, a place in history. To achieve this they had only their work-worn hands, their horses, sulky plows, and for the most of them a few head of longhorn cattle. Their work began with first filing their land claims and the diggings and constructing of what was known as half-dugouts. These first Knox County homes were located as near as possible to water, for we must remember these people were settling on the edge of the desert, and acknowledgeable water was as scarce as the proverbial hen’s teeth. They were truly in the short grass country.