In 1884, a most unlikely fellow bought a lot and had built on it a structure of native limestone to house Big Spring's first meat market. Joseph Heneage Finch, the Seventh Earl of Aylesford, Warwickshire, England (forced out of his country in the wake of a divorce scandal) went on a hunting and investment expedition in the West Texas area. He set up one of his headquarters in Big Spring, and, being very particular about the source and quality of his meat, had in his retinue his own butcher, Von Paussen, who performed this service for him and for the public in the stone structure at what is now called 121 Main Street, the first permanent masonry building in Big Spring.. An immense marble slab covered the counter.
The Earl's preference in meat was mutton. While sheep outnumbered cattle in this western frontier village, the natives did not butcher them, so the earl had an unlimited supply for himself and his English brothers, friends, and servants.
The generous and amiable "Judge", as he was locally known, died January 13, 1886, at the age of thirty-five from excessive drinking. His body was returned to England for burial. His brief two years in Big Spring were legendary, and he is remembered with high esteem.
The inventory of the probate of the Earl of Aylesford included, among other properties, "One meat market, $1800." In later years the storefront was faced with brick.