James G. Tatum, a Missouri merchant, filed on a 320 acre homestead and opened the first at this location thirteen miles north of Lovington. He chose a site between two often used watering holes on what had been the "LFD Four Lakes" ranch.
After completing the required three months of free service, delivering and picking up mail in Scott, he submitted a petition to establish a post office. On December 9th,1909 the Tatum post office was established with Mattie Tatum as Postmaster.
Early residents included; George D. Bilderback who moved from Elida in 1910 and built a mercantile store; Dr. Charles Bridges, first doctor arrived in 1911; John J. Seal in 1913 established himself as the first Blacksmith.
From its beginning to present day Tatum has seen both Good and Bad times, during the oilfield boom years populations soared in the thousands, this population slowly dwindled as residents moved to the larger city of Lovington and Hobbs.
Researchers should checkout: The History of Lea County Post Offices by James W. White; Lea County New Mexico, A Pictorial History by Lynn F. Mauldin and Lea, New Mexico's Last Frontier by Gil Hinshaw.