Charles William Post, cereal manufacturer and developer, was born on October 26, 1854, in Springfield, Illinois, to Charles Rollin and Caroline (Lathrop) Post. After graduating from the Springfield public schools he entered Illinois Industrial University (now the University of Illinois) at Urbana; he remained for only two years before abandoning school "for hard physical work." At seventeen he went to Independence, Kansas, where he worked as a salesman, clerk, and store owner. He returned to Springfield in 1872 and worked for the next fourteen years as a salesman and manufacturer of agricultural machines. During this period he invented and secured patents on such farm equipment as cultivators, a sulky plow, a harrow, and a haystacker. On November 4, 1874, Post married Ella Letitia Merriweather. They had one daughter. After living apart for several years they were divorced in 1904, and on November 7 of that year Post married Leila Young of Battle Creek, Michigan. After a nervous breakdown in November 1885 caused by strain and overwork, he went to Texas in 1886 and in Fort Worth became associated with a group of real estate men who were developing a 300-acre tract in the eastern part of the city, an area now known as Riverside. Other members of the family, including Post's brother Rollin, followed C. W. (as he signed his name) to Fort Worth. In 1888 the Posts acquired a 200-acre ranch on the outskirts of the city and began the development of a subdivision on their property; they laid out streets and lots for homes and constructed a woolen mill and a paper mill.
In 1891 Post suffered a second breakdown and moved with his wife moved to Battle Creek, Michigan, where he entered a sanitarium. With rest and the ministrations of a Christian Science practitioner came recuperation, and soon he was experimenting with a cereal drink he called Postum. He subsequently developed Grape-Nuts and Post Toasties, breakfast foods that by the end of the century made him millions of dollars. He served as president of the American Manufacturers Association and of the Citizen's Industrial Association. Post was a bitter opponent of labor unions and an advocate of the open shop. In 1906, as a result of his desire to own a farming community in Texas, he purchased some 225,000 acres of ranchland along the escarpment of the Caprock in Garza and Lynn counties and designated a site near the center of Garza County as the location of his new town, which would be the county seat. In 1907 Post City, as it was called until after the developer's death, was platted, farms of 160 acres were laid out, shade trees were planted, and a machine shop, a hotel, a school, churches, and a department store were constructed.
Post tried various forms of automatic machinery in developing dry-land farming techniques and introduced varieties of grain sorghums such as milo and kafir. One of his most spectacular experiments was his rain-making effort through dynamite explosions. From firing stations along the rim of the Caprock four-pound dynamite charges were detonated every four minutes for a period of several hours. Between 1911 and 1914 he spent thousands of dollars in this endeavor, which met with little success. Post's main contribution to Texas was opening the plains region to agricultural development. His health failed again in 1914, and he died, probably by suicide, on May 9, 1914, at his home in Santa Barbara, California. He is buried in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Post City, Texas
Post, the county seat of Garza County, is on the Santa Fe Railroad at the junction of U.S. highways 84 and 380, east of the Caprock escarpment near the west central part of the county. The town began under the name Post City in 1907 as a colonizing venture of cereal manufacturer Charles William Post, who sought to develop a model town. He purchased 200,000 acres of ranchland and established the Double U. Company to manage the town's construction. The company built trim houses and numerous structures, which included the Algerita Hotel, a gin, and a textile plant. They planted trees along every street and prohibited alcoholic beverages and brothels. The Double U. Company rented and sold farms and houses to settlers. A post office began in a tent during the year of Post City's founding. Two years later the town had a school, a bank, and a newspaper, the Post City Post. The railroad reached the town in 1910. The town changed its name to Post when it incorporated in 1914, the year of C. W. Post's death. By then Post had a population of 1,000, ten retail businesses, a dentist, a doctor, a sanitarium, and Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. The Post estate pledged $75,000 and the town raised $35,000 in 1916 to bid unsuccessfully to become the site of the proposed West Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College, later known as Texas Tech University. Postex Cotton Mills, which began production in 1913 with 250 employees, has remained the town's leading industry. When the Post interests sold the business to Ely and Walker Dry Goods Company of St. Louis in 1945, the plant was producing six million yards of cloth a year and employed 375 workers who manufactured Postex cotton sheets and Garza pillow cases. Ely and Walker sold Postex in 1955 to Burlington Industries, the world's largest textile manufacturer at that time. By 1973 the company employed 450 persons. Oilfield service companies have been important to the economy, as have farming and ranching. In 1989 Post had two libraries, a hospital, a nursing home, an airport, the Post Dispatch (founded in 1926), and ninety businesses. The population reached 3,400 in 1928, declined to 2,000 in 1940, and increased to 3,100 during the 1950s. With the development of the local oil industry, the town's population attained its highest level of 4,800 in 1964. The 1980 census showed a population of 3,864, but by 1988 the Texas Almanac reported 4,162. In 1990 the population was 3,768. The population was 3,708 in 2000.