Bell County Historical Markers

Texas Brazos Trail Region
Map of Bell County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
1st Cavalry Division Museum | 4th Infantry Division Museum | Alexander's Distillery | Bell County | Bell County Courthouse | Early Bell County Jail | Bell County Museum | Bird Creek Battlefield | Bird Creek Indian Battle | Central Texas Area Museum | Comanche Gap | First Cavalry Division | Fort Griffin | Little River Fort | Railroad and Pioneer Museum | Salado Creek | Sanderford Log Cabin | Scott and White Log Cabin Medical Museum | SPJST Pioneer Museum | Stagecoach Inn | Wilson, Van Dyke
Uncommemorated Sites (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Joseph Taylor
Uncommemorated and Unmapped Sites
Bloody Raid in Bell & Coryell Counties

1st Cavalry Division Museum

Museum Name: 1st Cavalry Division Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5187
City: Fort Hood
Zip Code: 76545-5101
Street Address: Bldg. 2218
Area Code: 254
Phone: 287-3626
County: Bell

4th Infantry Division Museum

Museum Name: 4th Infantry Division Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5917
City: Fort Hood
Zip Code: 76544
Street Address: 27th Street and Battalion Ave.
Area Code: 254
Phone: 287-8811
County: Bell

Picture of Francis R. Lubbock
Francis R. Lubbock
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
Alexander's Distillery

Marker Title: Alexander's Distillery
City: Salado
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: Center Circle, Salado.
Marker Text: On this site in 1861-65, the William R. Alexander Distillery met a wartime need in Texas. May 28, 1862, Governor Francis R. Lubbock closed all Texas distilleries, to save grain. Army calls for medicinal liquor (for opiate and stimulant purposes) soon caused him to order a few, including Alexander's, re-opened. In drastic medical shortages, Texans throughout the Civil War gave such help as they could. Bandages, sewing silk, lint, polk weed, peach bark, barilla and other home medical aids went to various military units. (1964)

Bell County

Marker Title: Bell County
City: Belton vicinity
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Roadside park at Lampasas River bridge and IH-35 S. feeder road, 2 miles S. of Belton.
Marker Text: Settlement began on Lampasas River, 1847. Created Jan. 22, organized Aug. 1, 1850. Named for Peter Hansbrough Bell (1812-1898), native of Virginia; veteran of Battle of San Jacinto; served in Somervell expedition to stop Mexico's Raids into Texas; officer in Mexican War; Governor of Texas 1849-1853; U.S. Congressman, 1853-1857. First county seat Nolanville. Moved Dec. 16, 1851, to Belton. By 1860 population was 4,799. Sent 12 troop companies into Civil War. Furnished goods from flour mills, hat factory, tanyard, leather works, blacksmith shops, cabinet shop, beef slaughter pens. (1965)

Bell County Courthouse

Marker Title: Bell County Courthouse
City: Belton
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Location: Central Ave. at Main St.
Marker Text: Using arched passageways, round-arch and pedimented windows, a clock tower with columned gallery, and a rusticated limestone finish, Jasper N. Preston & Son of Austin designed the 1885 Bell County Courthouse in the Renaissance Revival style. Ben D. Lee served as contractor. The original tower and dome were removed in the 1950s, but were rebuilt in 1999 based on documentation provided by historic photographs. A fine example of Preston's work, the style is echoed throughout Belton's downtown, in large part rebuilt after an 1889 fire razed much of the commercial district. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000.

Early Bell County Jail

Marker Title: Early Bell County Jail
Address: 210 N. Pearl
City: Belton
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Text: In 1854, four years after the county was organized, a 2-story structure of logs was built on this site, to serve as the first Bell County jail. That log jail was replaced in 1873 by this building of native limestone. In 1874, vigilantes from all parts of Texas raided this jail and executed nine men charged with murder, robbery, horse theft and other crimes. This citizens' attack was regarded as a major factor in ending lawlessness in Bell County during the 1870's. Building was rented to city of Belton in 1884 when third county jail was completed. Sold later. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967

Bell County Museum

Museum Name: Bell County Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1381
City: Belton
Zip Code: 76513
Street Address: 201 N. Main Street
Area Code: 254
Phone: 933-5243
County: Bell

Bird Creek Battlefield

Marker Title: Bird Creek Battlefield
City: Temple
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: In median at intersection of Adams and S I-35 across from Church of Christ, Temple
Marker Text: Named in honor of Captain John Bird who lost his life here May 26, 1839 With only 34 Texas Rangers he met 240 Indians at this point, and routed them. More

Bird Creek Indian Battle

Marker Title: Bird Creek Indian Battle
City: Temple
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: At the 2000 blk. of Nugent (inside of road), west of I-35 and just east of Bird Creek.
Marker Text: May 26, 1839 This marker commemorates the death of captain John Bird Sergeant William Weaver Jesse E. Nash H.M.C. Hall Thomas Gay and the heroic and successful battle of a Ranger force of 34 against 240 Indians. More

Central Texas Area Museum

Museum Name: Central Texas Area Museum
Mailing Address: 1 Main Street
City: Salado
Zip Code: 76571
Street Address: 1 Main Street
Area Code: 817
Phone: 947-5331
County: Bell

Comanche Gap

Marker Title: Comanche Gap
City: Nolanville vicinity
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: At the intersection of Comanche Gap Rd and FM 2410, 2 miles SW of Nolanville.
Marker Text: Break in mountain chain from Lampasas River to Nolan Creek. Route to one of oldest Indian trails in Southwest, and escape point for Comanches after last raid in Bell County. On March 14-16, 1859, the Indians killed four settlers, including John and Jane Riggs. They captured Rhoda and Margaret, daughters of the Riggses, but abandoned them here at the gap as they fled from a posse. Public feeling after this raid led to a campaign against the Comanches, led by Maj. Earl Van Dorn, commanding U.S. Cavalry. Recorded Texas Historical Landmark, 1967

First Cavalry Division

Marker Title: First Cavalry Division
City: Killeen
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1976
Marker Location: At Fort Hood, behind Building 2218 76th Tank Div. Rd and 51st St.
Marker Text: First in Manila--first in Tokyo--first in Pyongyang. The Fifth Cavalry regiment, raised and posted in 1855 to Fort Belknap, Texas, is the oldest unit in the 1st Cavalry Division, United States Army. Next (1866) were the Seventh and Eighth regiments. The Eighth initially saw duty at Fort Concho, Texas. On Sept. 13, 1921, the Dvision was constituted of these and one other regiment (later dropped) at Fort Bliss, Texas, to defend the United States-Mexico Border. In 1933, the twelfth regiment, formed in 1901 at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas, came into the Division. Dismounted in 1943 and sent to the Pacific, the Division captured the Admiralty Islands, joined the Invasion of Leyte, and captured Manila on order of General Douglas MacArthur to act as his "First Team". During United Nations action in Korea, the division swept over 100 miles in 11 hours to reach Osan and win victory. It was the first force to enter the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. On July 1, 1965, at Fort Benning, Ga., It was converted to an Airmobile Division--the first in U.S. military history. It had a distinguished record in Vietnam. Since 1971 it has been based at Fort Hood, in the state of its creation and earliest service. (1976)

Fort Griffin

Marker Title: Fort Griffin
City: Belton vicinity
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 5 miles SE of Belton on FM 436
Marker Text: Site of a picket fort on Little River commonly called Fort Griffin; also known as Fort Smith and Little River Fort. Erected by Geo. B. Erath and 20 Texas Rangers in November, 1836 as a protection against Indians. Abandoned as a military post before the Santa Fe Expedition camped here, June 24-29, 1841 but used by settlers many years as a place of defense against the Indians. More

Little River Fort

Marker Title: Little River Fort
City: Belton vicinity
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: 2 miles north of Belton on IH-35 to roadside park at Lampasas River bridge
Marker Text: A stockade and blockhouse of the Republic of Texas. Built in November, 1836, by a unit of some 20 Rangers under Lt. George B. Erath (soldier-statesman for whom Erath County was named). By Christmas they had erected 7 or 8 cabins, a blockhouse and a picket stockade, which enclosed about 1/2 acre of land. A spring nearby supplied water. Rations included an ear of corn daily, game, honey and a little coffee. The Rangers withdrew about May, 1837. Later the fort was used by settlers, hunters and adventurers. The remains of the structures were removed, 1840's. (1969) More

Railroad and Pioneer Museum

Museum Name: Railroad and Pioneer Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 5126
City: Temple
Zip Code: 76505
Street Address: 710 Jack Baskin
Area Code: 817
Phone: 298-5172
County: Bell

Salado Creek

Marker Title: Salado Creek
City: Salado
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: South end of Salado Bridge on Main St., Salado.
Marker Text: Gushing limestone springs, abundant fish, flowers, and trees have long made the banks of Salado Creek a good home site. Indians camped beside stream; Spanish explorers named it; the first Anglo-American settler was Archibald Willingham, 1851. College and town of Salado were built on creek, 1860. Stream once had 8 mills, thus was county industrial center. Chisholm Cattle Trail crossed it, as did Dallas-San Antonio Stage Line. The 35-mile creek is one of many which rise at the Balcones Fault--an outstanding North American region of springs. Recorded Texas Natural Landmark - 1967

Sanderford Log Cabin

Marker Title: Sanderford Log Cabin
City: Belton
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: 5 miles W. of Belton, Texas on old Killeen Highway
Marker Text: One of earliest homes in Nolan Valley community. Built when he moved to Texas in 1867 by John Rice Sanderford (1841-1923), a veteran of the Civil War. Birthplace, 1895, of John Roy Sanderford, State Senator from this district from 1933 to 1937. Settler John Rice Sanderford was father of 12 children. First wife, Elvira Keith, for whom he built this cabin of hand-hewn Oak Logs, died in 1884; his second wife was Emily Viola Lacy. The descendants are area leaders in civic and business life. Cabin restored by youngest son, Judge T.E. Sanderford, 1964. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1967.

Scott and White Log Cabin Medical Museum

Museum Name: Scott and White Log Cabin Medical Museum
Mailing Address: 600 South 25th St.
City: Temple
Zip Code: 76504
Street Address: 2401 South 31st
Area Code: 254
Phone: 771-8208
County: Bell

SPJST Pioneer Museum

Museum Name: SPJST Pioneer Museum
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 100
City: Temple
Zip Code: 76503
Street Address: 520 N. Main
Area Code: 817
Phone: 773-1575
County: Bell

Stagecoach Inn

Marker Title: Stagecoach Inn
City: Salado
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: Main Street (old US 81) at College Hill, Salado.
Marker Text: Constructed during the 1860s, the Stagecoach Inn was known as Salado Hotel and as Shady Villa before the current name was adopted in 1943. Military figures George Armstrong Custer and Robert E. Lee, and cattle baron Shanghai Pierce are among those thought to have stayed here. A good example of frontier vernacular architecture, the Stagecoach Inn features a two-story galleried porch with a second-story balustrade. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1962

Wilson Van Dyke

Marker Title: Wilson Van Dyke
City: Belton
County: Bell
Year Marker Erected: 1984
Marker Location: Resthaven Cemetery, 1 mi. S. of Belton off Conklin Rd. exit of IH 35.
Marker Text: (Dec. 25, 1817-Aug. 3, 1881) A native of South Carolina, Wilson Van Dyke served as a member of the Somervell Expedition, which was organized in 1842 to expel the Mexican Army from Texas. Under command of Col. W.S. Fisher, he crossed the Rio Grande and was captured. A survivor of the "Black Bean Episode", Van Dyke was imprisoned near Mexico City until Sept. 1844. He later participated in muster activities during the Civil War and died at his home in Bell County. Recorded - 1984.

Joseph Taylor

Some three miles southeast of present day Belton, Kickapoo's attacked the home of Joseph Taylor on the night of November 12th, 1835.

Taylor Family Picture
"Heroic Defense of the Taylor Family" was originally
published in James DeShields' 1912 book, Border Wars of Texas.

The family held off the Indians and managed to kill two of the attackers. At one point the mother threw a shovel of hot coals into the face of an Indian who was peering through a hole in the wall. Two months after the fight, their fourteen year old son Stephen Frazier joined Sterling Robertson's Ranger company. Rangers arrived the day after the attack, including George Chapman, who lived at the Taylor's home and later married one of the Taylor daughters. She later recalled:

My late husband came to us at the home of Mr. Childers. He had been to our house. The bodies of the two Indians were being eaten by the hogs.

The Rangers cut the heads off of the dead warriors and stuck them on poles as a warning to any other hostiles that should pass that way.


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