Pecos County People

A look at people and business in Pecos County


When people travel back to Fort Stockton, they may be surprised at how much has changed or how much the city has grown.

That was the case for 76-year-old Royce Coleman, who was born in Fort Stockton in a hospital that no longer exists.

He recently traveled through town with his daughter, Priscilla Repton, to show her where he was born and where he spent his early years.

Coleman was born in the Craddick Hospital, which used to sit across from The Pioneer office on Nelson Street. The site know houses apartments.

The Sept. 27, 1940, the Pioneer front page reported that Walter D. Craddick purchased six lots on Nelson Street to build a 17-room hospital.

Dr. Craddick delivered Coleman and treated him several times before the hospital shut down after Pecos County Memorial Hospital was built.

His father owned Coleman's Drug Store, which used to sit at 909 N. Nelson Street.

After going broke, the family lived in the vacant building off and on until 1955.

On the Aug. 24, 1945 The Pioneer ran a front-page story about the opening of the drug store, claiming it to be the third largest in Texas.

Coleman remembers places like Boatman's grocery store, owned by Elbert Boatman, and The Conoco Station, owned by C. Q. Duncan.

The Conoco Station sold gas and $1 got about 5 gallons back then.

Coleman remembers all the farms lining the highway, learning to swim at Comanche Springs Pool, and the people.

“It was a pretty good place to grow up,” he said.

Coleman and his daughter have been planning this trip for about a month. It will take them through Fort Stockton, Alpine, Big Bend National Park, McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis, Marfa, Presidio, Mexico and then back home to where he lives in Flower Mound. His daughter lives in Montrose, Colorado.

Repton was born in Denton, Tex. Before getting her bachelors degree at the University of Houston and her private pilots license.

Taking the trip with her dad is a special bonding moment filled with lots of hours in the car to talk.

“We are excited,” she said. “We have never been through here together.”

Coleman really enjoys coming back through Fort Stockton, enjoying the weather and the people.

“One of the best aspects is the pace is just about right,” he said. “You do not really see people in a mad rush and many of the old places are still standing.”