Wichita County
Historical Markers

Texas Lakes Trail Region
Map of Wichita County Historical Markers
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Old Buffalo Road | Burkburnett "Boomtown USA" | Burnett, Tom Lloyd | Clayco #1 Oil Well | First County Officials | Gilbert, Near Homesite of Mabel | Bridgetown | Dodson, Home of Monroe | Site of Gorsline's Fashion Livery Stable | Hardin, John Gerham | Hawkins, Simon Peter | Town of Iowa Park | Kadane Discovery Well | Receiver Bridge | The Red River | Soule, George Alonzo | Tenth Cavalry Creek | Van Dorn Trail | Wichita County | Wichita Falls Bank Robbery of 1896
Uncommemorated Active Battle Map (Stories below are on map.)
Christal Brothers | George Halsell | Lieutenant I.N. Walker | Professor Roessler's Escort Tenth Cavalry Creek | Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center

Old Buffalo Road

Marker Title: The Old Buffalo Road
Address: SH 25
City: Electra
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: From Electra take SH 25 about 12 miles
Marker Text: Named for its traffic in buffalo hides and bones, this north Texas road gave subsistence to pioneers while aiding in mass "harvest" of the American bison. As long as buffalo survived (providing food, shelter and clothing) the Indians were lords of the plains. Recognizing this, the authorities encouraged hunting. Harvested hides were taken to market over this road. The buffalo and Indians gone, permanent settlers arrived. In adverse years (while a man tried to get a start at farming, ranching or storekeeping), bones were salvaged and sold for grocery or seed money. This old road was route of hundreds of wagons taking buffalo hides to market before 1878 and hundreds of wagons taking bones to Wichita Falls and Henrietta before 1890. The road came east from the plains, near south line of Foard and Wilbarger counties to Guide Mound; then three miles east (near this marker) and south to Wichita River bridge; then to the county line three miles west of Holliday. Next it passed the north edge of Holliday, and south of Lake Wichita, then crossed at the Old Van Dorn crossing five miles south of Jolly. Pioneers also called it "Great North" Road or "Good Creek" Road. It proved invaluable to economy and mapping of area.

Burkburnett "Boomtown USA"

Marker Title: Burkburnett ("Boomtown USA")
Address: SH 267, W of IH 40
City: Burkburnett
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: On SH 267 just west of IH-44 exit ramp in Burkburnett
Marker Text: One of the most famous Texas towns. Name was given to post office at request of President T.R. Roosevelt after his 1905 wolf hunt with rancher Burk Burnett in this area. Townsite was laid out in 1907 by Joseph A. Kemp and Frank Kell, surveyors and promoters of Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railroad. First oil discovery was Chris Schmoker No. 1, in 1912. A 2200-barrel gusher was brought in on S.L. Fowler farm about a mile from this site, July 29, 1918, by a company formed by Fowler, his brother, W.D. Cline and J.I. Staley. In 3 months 200 wells had been completed in Burkburnett townsite -- a forest of derricks. Money and oil flowed freely. A bank capitalized at $25,000, got monthly revenue of $10,000 from a well drilled at its back door. The town's population jumped from 1500 to 15,000 in a year. Boom area was extended by finds on properties of Burk-Waggoner Company and by Kemp-Munger-Allen operations to the southwest. Town was made world famous in 1941 by the movie "Boomtown", filmed from a popular story entitled "Lady comes to Burkburnett". Economy is dependent on agriculture and oil. An important neighbor is Sheppard Air Force Base. (1966)

Tom Lloyd Burnett

Marker Title: Tom Lloyd Burnett
Address: 400 block of West Alameda
City: Iowa Park
Year Marker Erected: 1981
Marker Location: 400 block of West Alameda, Iowa Park
Marker Text: The son of noted rancher Burk Burnett, for whom the nearby town of Burkburnett (18 miles northeast) was named, Tom L. Burnett (b. 1871) became one of the leading area cattlemen. Trained on his father's 6666 (four sixes) Ranch, Tom later owned the local Triangle Ranch, as well as range land in Cottle and Foard counties. A prominent civic leader and philanthropist, he was known for his friendliness to Indians, including the famous Chief Quanah Parker. His support of area rodeos earned him the nickname, the "Rodeo King". Tom Burnett died in his residence at this site in 1938.

Gusher in Wichita Falls Picture
Picture from the book, Early Texas Oil, by Walter Rundell, Jr.
Clayco #1 Oil Well

Marker Title: Clayco #1 Oil Well
Address: SH 25
City: Electra
Marker Location: (Not located) from Electra take SH 25 about one mile north to oil field on west side of road, on private property
Marker Text: Clayco No. 1 Woodruff-Putnam, 1628 feet. Here flowed oil April 1, 1911, opening one of the world's greatest oil fields. Crew - Hal Hughes, Sam Turnbo, S.C. "Dad" Massengill, Lamar Weathersby, Clabe Moody, Richard Harper, Ed Beeler, A.F. Dennison, R.T. Craig

First County Officials

Marker Title: First County Officials
Address: 6th & Lamar
City: Wichita Falls
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: In front of the Wichita County Courthouse 6th and Lamar, Wichita Falls
Marker Text: First Anglo-Americans settled in Wichita County in 1856. The county was named for Indians, and Indian troubles delayed local organization until 1882. The first officials were: Judge, James S. Akers; Attorney, Robert E. Huff; Sheriff, F.M. Davis; County and District Clerk, W.E. Brothers; Assessor, James H. Banta; Surveyor, A. Warren; Treasurer, John A. Williams; Inspector of Hides and Animals, B.M. Saxon; Commissioners--Precinct No. 1, Thomas J. Williams; Precinct No. 2, Joseph McFarland; Precinct No. 3, M.B. Bynam; Precinct No. 4, E.G. Bullard. (1970)

Near Homesite of Mabel Gilbert

Marker Title: Near Homesite of Mabel Gilbert
Address: SH 1177 at Perkins Reservation Boy Scout Camp
City: Burkburnett
Marker Location: From Burkburnett take SH 240 south about 2.7 miles. Take FM 1177 east about 3 miles to Perks Reservation Boy Scout Camp.
Marker Text: (1797-1870) First permanent settler in this area. Born in Tennessee, he was a steamboat captain. Came to Texas 1837. Built mills and was first navigator of Trinity River headwaters. After filing for land in this vicinity in 1856, he built cabin near this spring and dug trench around homestead to keep out buffalo herds. His daughter Hettie was first white child known to have been born in the county (1860). Indian raids drove family away repeatedly. Twice married, Gilbert had 19 children. Peach trees he planted here were for years a landmark used by incoming pioneers.

Bridgetown

Marker Title: Bridgetown
Address: SH 240, W of Burkburnett
City: Burkburnett
Year Marker Erected: 1977
Marker Location: From Burkburnett take South 240 about 5 miles West to Marker
Marker Text: When the northwest extension of the Burkburnett oil field opened in 1919, prospectors thronged this area. Bridgetown sprang up at the Texas end of a mile-long Red River toll bridge built for oil field traffic. It became the largest and wealthiest of 12 communities that mushroomed in this area during rivalry among major oil companies and independent producers. Lease values rose from $10 to $20,000 an acre. A city of tents, shanties and a few substantial structures, Bridgetown had a long main street with a Mission church at one end and a saloon at the other. Its post office opened July 15, 1920. The population in the early 1920s was estimated at 3,500 to 10,000. Litigation over riverbed oil rights caused the U.S. Supreme Court to station a receiver in the town. He was Frederick A. Delano, uncle of future president Franklin D. Roosevelt. With aid from Texas Rangers, Delano and other leaders invoked law and order. In a few years oil yields diminished, and the jail, theaters, dance halls, and gambling houses vanished. By 1929 only 100 inhabitants remained. By 1931 the bridge was down, the post office closed in 1935. Afterward the site of the makeshift oil "capital" reverted to range and agricultural uses. (1977)

Home of Monroe Dodson

Marker Title: Home of Monroe Dodson
Marker Location: Not Located
Marker Text: (1844-1927) Tennessean and former Union soldier under Gen. Grant. Came to Texas 1867, here 1878. First permanent settler here. Helped build church, school, Masonic Lodge. His cattle brand (Half Circle D) was the second registered in the county. Married twice, he had eleven children.

Site of Gorsline's Fashion Livery Stable

Marker Title: Site of Gorsline's Fashion Livery Stable
Address: 720 Indiana St.
City: Wichita Falls
Year Marker Erected: 1979
Marker Text: In 1889 Edgar B. Gorsline (1859-1933) and his wife came to Wichita Falls from Indiana. For two years Gorsline operated a grocery and bakery. He opened the Fashion Livery Stable at this site in 1892. Horses and rigs were rented and horses boarded. Carriages were sent to meet all trains and transportation for funerals were provided. Before the automobile era, the Fashion Livery Stable furnished vital services for residents and visitors to Wichita Falls. Gorsline sold the stable in 1907 and the structure at this site was razed in 1908. (1979)

John Gerham Hardin

Marker Title: John Gerham Hardin
Address: Davey & Williams Drive
City: Burkburnett
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: At Hardin Park, Intersection of Davey Drive and Williams Drive, Burkburnett
Marker Text: Pioneer settler, financier and philanthropist. Came to Texas in 1876 and to this area in 1879, living at first in a dugout. Operating a store and owning extensive lands, he amassed a fortune that he left as a rich legacy for Texas children. He gave six million dollars to Buckner Orphans Home, Baylor Hospital, Baylor University, Mary Hardin-Baylor College, Abilene Christian College, Howard Payne College, Hardin Junior College, Hardin-Simmons University and local churches and schools. This park was one of his gifts to children. (1970)

Simon Peter Hawkins

Marker Title: Simon Peter Hawkins
Address: FM 369 & Charlotte St.
City: Burkburnett
Marker Location: Charlotte Street, .6 miles East of FM 369, Burkburnett
Marker Text: A pioneer leader in Wichita County, Simon Peter Hawkins was born in Crockett County, Tenn. He married Sara A. Hardin (1852-1937) in 1869. They had eight children. With his brother-in-law John G. Hardin, Hawkins moved his family to Johnson County, Texas, in 1875. Seeking better land, the men found lush grass in present Wichita County and settled their families on the north side of Gilbert Creek. After fire destroyed the Hawkins' dugout home, the family moved about 1/4 mile. South of this site, Hawkins signed a petition for establishing Wichita County. He voted in the first county election and served on the first county grand jury. He helped organize the First Baptist Church, the first Masonic Lodge and the first school in this area. Hardin bought a store patronized by Indians and cowboys. The cowboys called the colony Nesterville. When the post office was established in 1882, it was renamed Gilbert. Hawkins served as mail carrier, making two trips weekly to Wichita Falls. After the railroad arrived, settlers in Gilbert moved about one mile to the new townsite of Burkburnett. When oil discoveries turned Burkburnett into a boomtown, Hawkins and his wife moved to Mineral Wells. He died there and was buried in the Burkburnett Cemetery. (1978)

Town of Iowa Park

Marker Title: Town of Iowa Park
Address: SH 370
City: Iowa Park
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: SH 370, next to Iowa Park Fire Station, Iowa Park.
Marker Text: One of many small towns that sprang up ahead of the railroads as they crossed Texas in the 1800s. Located on the Fort Worth and Denver City Line, this town was first named Daggett's Switch in 1885 for a prominent rancher and railroad official. F.W. & D.C. contractor Gen. G.M. Dodge (already famous as builder of the Union Pacific) spearheaded the founding of Iowa Park by actively promoting a town on land he owned here. Many people from the Midwest--especially Iowa--were recruited to settle the infant town. Land promoters D. C. and A.J. Kolp, from Iowa, drew up a plat which featured many parks, in 1888. After this first period of rapid growth, Iowa Park settled down to more than 20 years of prosperity based on a thriving farm economy. Lightning struck, however, in 1918 when oil was discovered on a farm south of here. Speculators flooded the city and land prices sky-rocketed. The Iowa Park Producing and Refining Company was chartered in 1921 and operated until 1932. The boom itself gradually exhausted the resources here and was over by 1925. In 1924 the Wichita Valley Agriculture Experiment Station was built and is still functioning. A steady farm economy prevails again today.

Magnolia Petroleum Company Picture
Picture from the book, Early Texas Oil, by Walter Rundell, Jr.
Kadane Discovery Well

Marker Title: Kadane Discovery Well
Address: SH 25, S of Electra
City: Electra
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: From Electra take SH 25 about 14 miles south. Marker is located on west side of highway.
Marker Text: Oil development in this part of Wichita County began in 1919 from shallow depths in the KMA Field. As the original wells went dry, and a severe national Depression blighted the country in the 1930s, the oil industry sought new production. The Mangold family, owners of land at this site, offered liberal terms for deeper exploration, but at first found no driller willing to take the risk on the scant capital then available. Finally veteran operator George E. Kadane (1881-1945) and sons Edward, Jack, and Mike had the courage to drill in this area of negative geologic readings. On Nov. 11, 1937, they struck oil at a depth of 3800 feet, bringing in Mangold No. 1 as a gusher. The discovery effected an extension of the KMA Field. This spot was labeled "Kadane Corner" on local maps. Other operators rushed in, starting a new Wichita County boom. Along with a rapid rise in population came new housing construction, new industries, new jobs, and an era of financial growth. In 1942 a test well on the Griffin Ranch came in at 4300 feet. Final development of the field resulted in more than 2000 producing wells in an area of 75,000 acres. Over a 40-year period, the field has

Receiver Bridge

Marker Title: Receiver Bridge
Address: SH 240, W of Brukburnett
City: Burkburnett
Year Marker Erected: 1981
Marker Location: From Burkburnett take SH 240 about 6 miles west
Marker Text: A natural border of the Louisiana Territory when it was acquired by the United States in 1803. The Red River later served as a boundary between the states of Texas and Oklahoma. The exact location for the line of separation was challenged in 1920 soon after an extension of the Burkburnett oil field led to increased drilling activity in the area, including the banks and the bed of the stream. Since the Red River meandered, causing wide flood plains, the state of Oklahoma initiated a suit to determine ownership of the land. By authority of the United States Supreme Court, the disputed land was temporarily placed under the jurisdiction of the federal government. Frederick A. Delano, whose nephew Franklin Delano Roosevelt later became president of the United States, was named as the receiver in charge of the property. As part of his plan of supervision, he had a one-lane wooden bridge (2.5 miles North) built to the center of the river, providing access to the drilling sites. The boundary between the two states was set as the south bank of the Red River in 1923. It was not until four years later that a special commission completed the actual survey work. The bridge was partially destroyed later during a 1935 flood. (1981)

The Red River

Marker Title: The Red River
City: Burkburnett
Marker Location: At point of entry into Texas, at Red River Bridge; inside Burkburnett city limits. Not Located
Marker Text: Named for the red soil across which it flows; the main stream is 1,360 miles long, and for 440 miles the river forms the Texas-Oklahoma boundary. For years this was an international boundary. The 1819 treaty with Spain established the course of the Red River to the 100th meridian as part of the boundary between the United States and New Spain. Until after the 1845 annexation of Texas, this river did not lie entirely within the United States. During the colonial period, the waterway and the crossing here became a main gateway into Texas. In the mid-19th century, brisk steamer traffic went on at eastern end of the river. A military expedition under Captain Randolph B. Marcy in 1852 explored the Red to its upper reaches in land held by wild Indians. In 1921, the Burkburnett oil boom here led to a dispute between Texas and Oklahoma over ownership of the valuable riverbed. The Supreme Court in 1921 and 1923 upheld the south bank as the Texas border. This site is 25 miles west of important old Fort Sill crossing on the major military road that once linked the Oklahoma Fort to outposts on the Texas frontier. The bridge here, opened to traffic in 1927, is the second free bridge to span the Red River. (1968)

George Alonzo Soule

Marker Title: George Alonzo Soule
Address: 614 Ohio Street
City: Wichita Falls
Year Marker Erected: 1979
Marker Location: 614 Ohio Street, Wichita Falls
Marker Text: Before coming to Wichita Falls George Alonzo Soule (1840-1913) owned a freight and stage line in Jacksboro and Fort Griffin. After the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad came through here, Soule brought his wife Lilla and Family in 1883. He opened a stage line and livery stable at this site near the business section. He hauled freight and passengers to Oklahoma and as far west as Quanah and Benjamin. Occasionally he was robbed by highwaymen. After railway transportation increased, Soule closed the stageline and ran livery barns here, in Harold, and in Vernon until 1912. (1979)

Tenth Cavalry Creek

Marker Title: Tenth Cavalry Creek
Address: SH 240 at Tenth Cavalry Creek crossing
City: Burkburnett
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: From Burkburnett take SH 240 west about 12 miles to Tenth Cavalry Creek crossing
Marker Text: First called Getty's Creek, this stream was renamed by cowboys and settlers who found near its mouth, on Red River, remains of a military outpost garrisoned by the U.S. Tenth Cavalry from 1873 to 1875. Most of the Negro soldiers and white officers stationed there had previously served in the Federal army during the Civil War (1861-1865) and at Fort Sill, in Indian Territory. This staked timber outpost was attacked by Indians; legend says that all the officers, men and horses killed in the battle were buried in a common grave somewhere along this creek.

Van Dorn Trail

Marker Title: Van Dorn Trail
Address: FM 1206, about 4 miles from FM 368
City: Iowa Park
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: From Iowa Park take FM 368 south (road will turn several times) about 6 miles to FM 1206, take FM 1206 about 4 miles to school.
Marker Text: First important wagon road in Wichita County. Blazed by Brevet Major (later general) Earl Van Dorn in September 1858 with 200 men of the crack 2nd U.S. Cavalry. Just ahead of him went young L.S. "Sul" Ross (Governor of Texas 1887-91, and president of Texas A & M College, 1891-98) with 100 Indian scouts from the Brazos reservation. Loyal Tonkawa Chief Placido guided Ross and his party. After opening the trail, Van Dorn camped on Otter Creek, in present Oklahoma, for over a year. He routed the Comanches in a battle near Rush Springs (70 miles east), although he and Ross were wounded in the fighting. In 1859 Van Dorn won another decisive victory over the Comanches in Ford County, Kansas, famous persons in this battle were Kirby Smith (later a noted Confederate general) and Fitzhugh Lee (later governor of Virginia). They had recently ridden up the west branch of the trail. The 15-army wagons which brought supplies to the men leveled a trail much used by pioneer settlers who came afterward. The trail ran from Fort Belknap, near Newcastle, Texas, to Camp Radzminski on Otter Creek, north of Frederick, Oklahoma. At Van Dorn Crossing the road branched off to Montague County for supplies. (1969)

Oil Lease Trading in Wichita Falls Picture
Picture from the book, Early Texas Oil, by Walter Rundell, Jr.
Wichita County

Marker Title: Wichita County
Address: US 281 & Rathgeber
City: Wichita Falls
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US 281, 1.7 miles south of Wichita Falls, just northwest of intersection with Rathgeber Road.
Marker Text: Formed from Young Land District; created February 1, 1858; organized June 21, 1882; named for the Wichita Indians who formerly resided here; county seat, Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls Bank Robbery of 1896

Marker Title: Wichita Falls Bank Robbery of 1896
Address: 800 Scott St.
City: Wichita Falls
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: 800 Scott Street (8th street entrance) Wichita Falls
Marker Text: On the afternoon of February 25, 1896, two cowboys, Foster Crawford and Elmer "Kid" Lewis, robbed the City National Bank, then located at Ohio and 7th Street (2 blocks east). They killed cashier Frank Dorsey, took about $410 cash, and fled on horseback. A posse of citizens and Texas Rangers captured the pair that night hiding in a thicket outside of town. The next day, after the Rangers departed, the anger of the townspeople turned to violence. On the night of February 26, a mob dragged the prisoners from the jail and lynched them in front of the bank building. (1978)

Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center

Museum Name: Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center
Mailing Address: 2 Eureka Circle
City: Wichita Falls
Zip Code: 76308
Area Code: 940
Phone: 692-0923


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