The following story is from the book, Charles Goodnight, Cowman and Plainsman, by J. Evetts Haley.
Governor F. R. Lubbock appointed Colonel James M. Norris, of Waco, to its command. Many seasoned old Indian fighters on the outer edge, beyond the plantation and slaveholding regions, being less enthusiastic over secession than Texans to the east, decided as did Goodnight and Lane. Captain Jack Cureton immediately went into the service and settled down to fight Indians for the period of the war.
Norris placed half of Goodnight's company at Camp Cureton, on the Trinity, and the other half remained in camp near Belknap. Throughout most of the war, Goodnight was to be located at the old army post. By March, 1862, Cureton's company was well organized; in April he had one hundred and twelve men, and J. A. Hall and Joe A. Woolfork became first and second lieutenants. The 'cream of the frontier' joined, and the company was sworn in at Belknap by J. W. Trockmorton.
To the south, Captain John Salmon's company occupied Camp Breckenridge, upon Gunsolus Creek, and about a day's ride below was another camp, and so the line ran into the south until it abutted against Mexico, station after station for Indian fighting men. It was a line much shorter than that laid out by Van Dorn, and constituted the first chain of defense since the Federal troops had been withdrawn.
Only nine companies were enlisted, but with 1089 men the line from end to end was to be patrolled at least every other day. Along this patrol the rangers were to report any ingoing Indian trail, and arouse the forces up and down the line, while a party pursued the Indians. It was not a sure defense, for raiders sometimes came into the settlements on foot, leaving no trail for a jogging horseman to catch, and, once mounted on fresh horses inside, cut loose their hounds of war and hell and hit a high lope for the open country. Not often were they caught.
Accompanying Norris upon his first survey of the line of defense were Lieutenant-Colonel A. T. Obenchain and Major J. E. McCord. Norris was not a fighting man and was a misfit in the service. McCord, located at Camp Colorado, rarely if even came north. Though Obenchain wished an active part in handling the regiment-particularly Cureton's company-Cureton himself was the strength of the northwest fringe, being referred to as the 'Jack Hays of the frontier.' Goodnightdescribed him as 'a splendid frontiersman who had no military training except what he had picked up. But he was a fine man, an excellent Indian fighters, and a very popular commander.'
The organization was effected, and when Cureton left the settlements and headed into Indian country, in advance of his column scouted Charlie Goodnight, straight, slim, and strong. Across the fork of his saddle swung his fine long rifle, and engraved upon its barrel was his appropriate sentiment:
'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' But at which end of the gun did the legend apply?
Breckenridge, county seat of Stephens County, was established in 1876. The great 1920s oil boom exploded and changed Breckenridge from 1,500 to 30,000 in 12 months with hundreds of oil derricks sprouting within the city limits. Breckenridge has rich oil history and in its heyday was labeled the Fastest Growing and Busiest Oil City in the U.S.A. It also has a reputation for the best high school football teams in the nation for a town its size.
Presently, the economy is based on ranching, oil and gas, small manufacturing, service business and a greatly expanded recreation business. Breckenridge is located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 183 and U.S. Hwy 180 one hundred miles west of Ft. Worth. Breckenridge, is an official Texas Main Street City. It still has its original red brick streets downtown. Downtown buildings constructed mainly during the 1920s oil boom feature red brick along with native sandstone. The Stephens County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic places.
Twenty Historical Markers in Breckenridge and Stephens County
Stephens Co. Marker
Marker is located 20 miles NW of Breckenridge in a roadside park on US Hwy 183 at the Clearfork of the Brazos River.
First settlement in Stephens County, established in 1858. Located one mile north of Breckenridge on US 183.
Dr, Gunsolus is reported to be the first white settler in Stephens County, thought to have settled here in 1850. The marker is located on the banks of the Gunsolus Creek near the viaduct US Hwy 180.
The Brown House
Built well over 100 years ago this two-story native sandstone house stands just south of Breckenridge city limits and just east of US Hwy 183.
Old First National Bank
Located at 116 W. Walker, this building was erected in 1920. Now houses the Swenson Memorial Museum.
S. Walker Home
Tudor styled home site on high hill located at 1000 East Connell Street built in 1922.
Walter Prescott Webb
Noted historian Walter Prescott Webb came to Stephens Co. with his family at age four. His father was a rural school teacher. Marker located on SW corner of Courthouse square.
Sam Newcomb Grave
Samuel P. Newcomb was a young school teacher at Fort Davis. To reach location go N on Hwy 183, turn right FM Road 1481, then left CR 285 and follow the markers.
Stephens Co Courthouse
Built in 1920s. Classical revival style and features limestone construction. Listed on the National Historic Buildings Register.
Old Courthouse Arch
The old sandstone courthouse was built in 1883, designed by J.E. Flanders.
The building was torn down in 1926 and the main entrance stands on the
History's Roll of Honor
Large granite monument dedicated to all men and women of Stephens County
who served their country in wars. SW corner Courthouse lawn.
Camp Breckenridge Texas Civil War Frontier Defense
A double-faced granite marker recognizing the establishment of Camp Breckenridge near the site of the marker in 1862. The marker is located on SW corner of court house squares.
Daughters of the Confederacy
Plaque located by a tree planted in memory of Confederate Veterans of Stephens county on SW corner of Courthouse.
Located 3 miles N of Ranger or FM 717 also known as Caddo Road. Oldest Grave is of baby Georgia Barnes, 1878.
Record indicated that Gunsight existed on a wagon road from Ft.Griffin to Stephenville in 1858, however settlement of town was not until 1870s. Located 15 mi. S of Breckenridge on US 183, then 2 mi. E on CR 157.
New Hope Baptist Church #3
Church organized in 1893. Located 7 miles S of Caddo.
Mount Zion Cemetery
Oldest grave 1879. Location: 8 mi S of Caddo on FM 717, to La Casa, then 1 mi. W on FM 207, then 0.7 mi. S on CR 127 to cemetery.
Founded in 1918 and named of rancher J.W. Parks, on whose land it was located. Parks camp was company town built for employees of the TEXACO. Located 6 mi. S of Breckenridge on US 183, then 2 mi. E on FM 576.
First Baptist Church of Breckenridge
Believed to have been organized in 1876. In 1921 a 3-story edifice replaced other structures. 301. S Rose.