Happy, Texas, located on the Swisher-Randall county line 16 miles north of Tulia, became an incorporated town in 1925. The history of Happy began long before the town was incorporated. The Happy Station was one of the stopping points on the freighting route from Amarillo to Lubbock and beyond. Life for early settlers in Happy was always full of cattle as the town section was leased by J. M. McNaughton who grazed 400 cattle on the native grass. The cattle were allowed to roam the town section in the yards of early day settlers. Occasionally, the cattle even brought Santa Fe locomotives to a halt as they meandered across the tracks in the township. The first home built in Happy was in 1891. It was reportedly the only home between the city of Canyon and Tulia. Eventually Happy became a town with many merchants and a skyline of its own with grain elevators along the railroad tracks and Highway 87. Happy, Texas, is now known nationally and internationally as truly “The Town Without A Frown.”
It was August 14, 1925, that Happy, located on the Swisher-Randall county line 16 miles north of Tulia on Highway 87, became an incorporated town. On August 19, the same year, the city commission was organized with P J. Neff, mayor, and Tom Bandy and William F. Miller, commissioners. First duties of the commission were to pass appropriate ordinances. The commission was elected to serve until the following April when the same officials were elected for their first full term.
During its years of history as an incorporated community, Happy has had only ten mayors: Neff, William F. Miller, John E. Toles, T. L. Fore, J. R. Markham, Len Fore, Dr. G. L. Robinson, Dick Railsback, Foster Harman and Bob Pulsipher.
But the history of Happy began long before the town was incorporated.
Three miles east of the present town of Happy are to be found signs of the old camp ground and store that was the forerunner of the present town site of the second largest town in Swisher County. It was known originally as “Happy Draw.”
Prior to the building of the railroad south from Canyon, the towns of Tulia, Plainview, Lubbock and others, did their freighting from Canyon and Amarillo. The Happy station was one of the stopping points on the route, so chosen because there was found a place of shelter. The station was the home of the late Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Currie.
The stage line which served the section with mail and carried passengers also maintained an exchange station at this point. Because of its location on the draw, the site also was familiarly known as “Happy Situation”.
SANTA FE MOVES HAPPY
In 1906 the Santa Fe railway extended its line southward from Canyon. The survey called for the line to pass two miles west of the original town of Happy and the little village promptly moved to rail side. The railroad paused here temporarily before pushing on to Plainview, forty miles to the south.
Mrs. H. M. Baggarly was appointed the first agent. At first, the side track was filled with emigrant cars, settlers who would have a box car containing a milk cow, team of horses, pigs, miscellaneous farm equipment and household goods. The owner was permitted to ride in the car with his family followed by passenger train or wagon.
Principal commodities shipped in those early days were grain, gravel, coal and cattle. It was not unusual in the spring for the stock pens to be jammed full with cattle and hundreds more held in nearby pastures.
In 1926 the oil boom broke on Borger. There were no pipe lines then. Oil had to be moved by tank car to Gulf Ports. This, coupled with a record wheat crop, taxed the Santa Fe to capacity. Southbound oil trains followed hard on the heels of each other. They were so congested that returning empty tank car trains were routed around by Clovis.
Happy had a large contingent of section hands stationed in Happy to maintain the tracks. Derailments were not uncommon, working all hands round the clock. Eventually, hundreds of Navajo Indians were brought in from Arizona. The Indians introduced their method of bathing as practiced in arid Arizona. They would dig into an embankment, line it with rocks, build a fire and when the rocks were hot, pour water on them and bathe in the steam.