Hale County Historical Markers

Texas Plains Trail Region

Map of Hale County Historic Sites

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Hale County | Hale County Farm and Ranch Museum | Museum of the Llano Estacado | Old MacKenzie Trail | J. Frank Norfleet | Discovery Site of the Plainview Point | Stant Rhea Stage Stand | Running Water Community | Slaughter, Colonel C.C.

Hale County

Marker Title: Hale County
Address: US 87 Bus., 1 mi. S in roadside park
City: Plainview
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 1 mile south on U.S. 87 Business Route at city limits in roadside park
Marker Text: Formed from Young and Bexar territories; created August 21, 1876. Organized August 13, 1888. Named in Honor of John C. Hale, a lieutenant who fell at San Jacinto. Plainview, County Seat.

Hale County Farm and Ranch Museum

Museum Name: Hale County Farm and Ranch Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 834
City: Hale Center
Zip Code: 79041
Street Address: S I-27, Exit 36
Area Code: 806
Phone: 839-2556
County: Hale

Museum of the Llano Estacado

Museum Name: Museum of the Llano Estacado
Street Address: 1900 W 8th
City: Plainview
Zip Code: 79072
Area Code: 806
Phone: 296-4735
County: Hale

Old MacKenzie Trail

Marker Title: The Old MacKenzie Trail
Address: Columbia & US 70, at Courthouse
City: Plainview
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Courthouse Grounds, Columbia Street and US 70, Plainview.
Marker Text: General Ranald Slidell MacKenzie The Old MacKenzie Trail by "Larry" Chittendon Stretching onward toward the sunset, o'er prairie, hill and vale, far beyond the double mountains winds the Old MacKenzie Trail. Ah, what thoughts and border memories does that dreaming trail suggest, thoughts of travelers gone forever to the twilight realms of rest. Where are now the scouts and soldiers, and those wagon trains of care, those grim men and haggard women and the echoes whisper - where? Ah, what tales of joy and sorrows could that silent trail relate: tales of loss, and wrecked ambitions, tales of hope, of love, and hate: Tales of hunger, thirst, and anguish tales of skulking Indian braves, tales of fear, and death, and danger, tales of lonely prairie graves. Where are now that trail's processions, winding westward sure and slow? Lost: ah, yes, destroyed progress, gone to realms of long ago. Nevermore shall bold MacKenzie, with his brave and dauntless band, guide the restless, roving settlers through the Texas borderland. Yes, that soldier's work is over, and the dim trail rests at last, but his name and trail still lead us through the borders of the past. The MacKenzie Trail first crossed by General Ranald Slidell MacKenzie, 4th United States Cavalry, in 1871 in quest of warring bands of Indians. Erected by the state of Texas with funds appropriated by Federal government to commemorate one hundred years of Texas independence. - 1836 - 1936

J. Frank Norfleet

Marker Title: J. Frank Norfleet
Address: 702 Main Street
City: Hale Center
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: City Park, 702 Main Street, Hale Center
Marker Text: Son of a rancher and Texas Ranger, J. Frank Norfleet was born in Lampasas County. With little schooling, he grew up working on ranches. He served as foreman for 20 years on the Spade Ranch. Norfleet married Mattie Eliza Hudgins (1871-1972) in 1894 and they had four children. In 1905 after years of frugality, the Norfleets moved to their own land located on the east boundary of Spade Ranch. In time their holdings grew to 20,000 acres. In 1905 the Panhandle Short Line Railroad from Vega to Lubbock was begun through the new town named for Norfleet. The site lay 10 miles west of Hale Center. Soon a school called Norfleet was moved in and houses and stores appeared. Due to competition and lack of funds, the railroad was abandoned and the town died soon after. In 1919, while in Dallas, Norfleet was swindled out of $45,000 by a bunco gang. Enraged at losing his savings, he spent almost five years searching the United States, Mexico, Canada and Havana, Cuba, for the five thieves. His determination won him the nickname of "Little Tiger". After the capture which reportedly netted about 75 other confidence ring members, he wrote "Norfleet", a book about his adventures. 1978

Discovery Site of the Plainview Point

Marker Title: Discovery Site of the Plainview Point
Address: 5th & Joliet St., in City Park
City: Plainview
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: 5th Street and Joliet Street, City Park, Plainview
Marker Text: The first of this distinctive type of early man dart point was found by 15-year-old Val Keene Whitacre in 1941, in a caliche quarry on Running Water Draw. In 1944, quarry workers uncovered a fossil bone deposit, which was noted by scientists surveying the geology of the Plains. The next year a team of archeologists from the University of Texas, including Dr. E.H. Sellards and Dr. Alex D. Krieger, excavated the site and found 26 man-made artifacts, including several of the points, in association with the remains of about 100 extinct bison (Bison Taylori), about twice the size of modern species. The long flint point was then named for this site. The bone bed probably resulted from the primitive hunting method of stampeding bison over a cliff, and butchering of the dead and crippled animals for food. The cliff eroded away and covered the bones with 12 to 14 feet of silt. When exposed, the bone bed was 62 feet long, up to 10 feet wide, and 1.5 feet thick. Radiocarbon dating indicates that this site is 8,000 to 9,000 years old. The Plainview point is found most commonly in the Great Plains region of North America, but has been located also in Alaska and Mexico. 1973

Stant Rhea Stage Stand

Marker Title: Stant Rhea Stage Stand
Address: 7.5 mi. S on US 87 in roadside park
City: Hale Center
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1976
Marker Location: 7.5 miles south of Hale Center on U.S. 87, roadside park - rest stop razed for construction - no marker available
Marker Text: Early settlers in this area kept in touch with the world by picking up their mail at railheads. Federal mail delivery to post offices began when W.L. Tharp took a route from the new railroad town of Amarillo to Plainview and Estacado in July and August, 1888. There were no roads; the round trip took six days. About 1889, W.H. Fuqua of Amarillo, who had a new U.S. mail contract, used a compass and laid off a route with several stations--one at Plainview. He soon added passenger service, but then disposed of the line, which about 1890 fell into the hands of Stant Rhea and Robert Montgomery. Buying out Montgomery, Rhea carried the mail for 19 years. Sidney Stanton--"Stant"--Rhea (1862-1922) was a small, red-haired man who drove wild Spanish mules hitched to a buckboard (or carriage). He made the 240-mile round trip from Amarillo to this area three times a week. With later route changes and better roads, he came this way daily. Six miles east of this spot he had a mule corral and a dugout. Stage passengers and mail patrons used the dugout as a waiting room. Until railroads outmoded his service, Stant Rhea's route and stand were important in the development of the South Plains. 1976

Running Water Community

Marker Title: Running Water Community
City: Plainview
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: from Plainview, take Highway 194 about 7.5 miles northwest to junction of Highway 194, FM 788 and FM 1424
Marker Text: Attracted by abundant water from Running Water Draw, J.W. and T.W. Morrison established a ranch in 1881 with headquarters about ten miles west of here. Most of the early settlers in this region worked for the ranch. Later, several partners joined the operation, including wealthy cattleman C.C. Slaughter. In 1884 Dennis and Martha S. Rice purchased several sections of land along the draw south of this site. Rice hoped to start a town and lure the railroad across his land. He began Wadsworth Post Office in his dugout in 1890. It was renamed Running Water in 1891. Rice organized the Running Water Townsite and Investment Company and staged a picnic and barbecue, July 4, 1892, for the purpose of selling town lots. Soon the community had a blacksmith shop, grist mill, a two-story store building, several residences and churches. The early one-room schoolhouse was later replaced by a brick structure. Although the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad bypassed Running Water in 1928, it remained a thriving village for several years. In 1935 the post office moved to Edmondson Switch on the railroad and many residents relocated here. In 1937 the name of this settlement was changed to Edmondson. 1978

Colonel C.C. Slaughter

Marker Title: Colonel C.C. Slaughter
Address: Columbia & US 70, at Courthouse
City: Plainview
County: Hale
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Columbia Street and US 70, Courthouse Square, Plainview.
Marker Text: First native-born cattle king of Texas. Eldest of several rancher brothers. At age 12 "made a hand" on East Texas ranch of father, Rev. Geo. W. Slaughter. By 17 made his own trades in lumber, wheat, cattle. In 1856 moved his cattle to Palo Pinto County, on his first West Texas ranch. During the Civil War, he supplied beef to Confederacy and served in frontier regiment, to prevent Indian attacks. After the war he led cattlemen in aiding economy of bankrupt Texas by securing cattle markets. A fat steer bought for $6-8 in Texas by middleman was sold for $30-40 at shipping point. In 1867 he sold 300 head at record $35 and led the way to rancher marketing. Kept his love for trailing, even after he became millionaire. He also pioneered improvement of Texas Longhorns by use of champion Shorthorn and Hereford bulls. In Eastern speeches, he advocated beef on daily diet. To curb rustlers and establish efficient roundups, he helped organize first cattle raisers association. His 89,000-acre "Running Water" spread in Hale and Lamb counties was part of 1,000,000 acres ranched. He was a banker, active churchman, philanthropist. His descendants have erected a memorial center bearing his name on the campus of Wayland College here. 1965


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