Across the street, 100 feet north of this site, is the stump of a hackberry used in early land surveys as a "witness" tree. By Texas custom (based on Spanish law), at least 2 objects were used to witness land boundaries, measured in varas, cordels, and leagues. Land corners were pointed out formally, with grantee being told "in a loud voice" that he was vested with the property; he responded by throwing stones, shouting loudly, shooting guns and making other noises.
When land at this site was first surveyed for the grantee, Houston & Great Northern Railroad, on May 29, 1873, it was in Jack County. (Scurry County was created in 1876.) "Witness" points were stakes in the prairie, an 8-inch mound, and Culver (Deep) Creek. This was hostile Indian country. Surveyors had rifles on one shoulder, transits on the other. Frontier lands had to be surveyed, as payment for state obligations.
Before this hackberry tree was marked with the "X" in 1881, buffalo hunters had killed the animals that were the "walking commissary" of the Indians. Strong campaigns by Gen. R. S. MacKenzie and the U.S. 4th Cavalry had sent the Indians to reservations. The MacKenzie Trail was mapped. Surveys also spoke of the Snyder Store, for which this town was named.