Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Texas Forts Trail Region

Map of Comanche County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Campbell, Cyrus | Comanche Chief | Comanche County | Cora | Old Corn Trail | Cunningham Family Reunion | Cunningham, James | Fleming Oak | Gentry, George Washington | Site of Old Gill Farm | Greene, M.R. (Boss) | Hanging Oak | Hardin, John Wesley | Site of Indian Creek Community | Indian Raid in Comanche | Jones Crossing | Miller, Andrew | Moore, Mollie E. | Choctaw Robinson Tree |
Uncommemorated Active Battle Map (Stories below are on map.)
John Henson and Mr. Lewis | Mrs. Lewis Coffer | Samuel Rogers | Robert Leslie | John M. Elkins Shoots Indian | Don Cox Kills Indian (See Below) | Don Cox | Bloody Fight Near Comanche | Joel Nabers | Isom Hicks | Grandpa McKenzie | Jowell and Bettie Baggett | Dan Roberts | Gid Foreman | Peters, Kelley and an African | Mose Jackson and Family | Indians Charge Citizens at the Mustang Water Hole | Dave Roberts and Alex Pickett
Uncommemorated and Unmapped Sites
Beene, John Pruett and African | Defeat Gap Fight (See Below) | Kuykendall, Samuel
Cyrus Campbell

Marker Title: Cyrus Campbell
City: DeLeon
Year Marker Erected: 1981
Marker Location: De Leon City Cemetery, Weatherford and Reynosa Streets, De Leon.
Marker Text: (October 11, 1810 - September 12, 1883) A blacksmith by trade, Cyrus Campbell migrated to Texas in 1828. He performed a number of jobs for the Republic of Texas, including the making of leg irons for Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna after his capture at San Jacinto in 1836. Married twice, Campbell moved to De Leon in 1883 and was active in the Methodist Church. According to tradition, he chose the site for the De Leon Cemetery. His was the first grave here. Recorded - 1981

The Comanche Chief

Marker Title: The Comanche Chief
Address: 203 W. Grand
City: Comanche
County: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Text: Army engineers laid out a military road in this area in 1850. By 1855 thirty to forty families had settled in the vicinity. Comanche County was created in 1856, and Comanche became the second county seat in 1859. Its citizens, who entertained dreams of greatness for their town, envisioned a newspaper. Geraldo Alonzo Beeman, an experienced newspaperman, obtained an idle printing press and became the first editor of "The Comanche Chief." Its first issue published on August 21, 1873, the "Chief's" main goals were to draw more settlers to the area and to lobby for the protection and improvement of the lives of Comanche residents. The paper was instrumental in securing a Texas Ranger force for the area and in promoting legislation for placing public school lands on the market. By 1873, after the last of the Comanche tribe in the area was relegated to a reservation in Oklahoma, the town began to grow. "The Comanche Chief" was influential in social and political life, from chronicling the daily events of the neighborhood to lobbying for proper representation in the state legislature. It found its way to other regions of the country, advertising the advantages of the Comanche area and attracting new settlers. Sixteen-year-old Robert Thomas Hill (1858-1941), later called the Father of Texas Geology, began working at the "Chief" with his brother Joe in 1874. The Hills became co-editors of the paper and operated it together until Robert went to Cornell University in 1882. Other newspapers were organized and discontinued over the decades, but "The Comanche Chief" thrived; it was sold to the Wilkerson family in 1925. One hundred and forty-two years old at the dawn of the 21st century, "The Comanche Chief" is recognized as the oldest business in Comanche County. (2000)

Comanche County

Marker Title: Comanche County
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 0.25 mile west of town on US 377/67.
Marker Text: First settled in 1854 by five families, the county, created and organized 1856, was named for Comanche Indians, Lords of Texas frontier, who were losing hunting grounds to settlers. First county seat was Cora. Comanche has been county seat since July 18, 1859. Indians harassed settlers, stealing cattle and horses, and keeping farmers out of fields. Food from neighboring bell county kept people here from starvation in 1862. By 1879 a stage line crossed county; the Texas Central Railroad came through in 1880; Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad in 1890. An oil boom occurred in 1918-1920. Agriculture has long been major industry. (1967) 1936 Text: Created January 25, 1856; Organized May 17, 1856; Named for the Comanche Indians, nomads of the Plains; successful hunters, superb horsemen, and courageous warriors; the terror of Texas frontier settlers, who dispossessed them of their hunting grounds. County Seat Troy (changed to Cora), 1856; Comanche, since July 18, 1859.


Marker Title: Cora
City: Gustine
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: on SH 36, Gustine.
Marker Text: Founded 1854, as Troy. Later renamed in honor of a Miss Beeman of Bell County. In 1856 organization of Comanche County--then extending farther south and east than today's boundaries--Cora became county seat. A log cabin residence in Cora was the first Comanche County courthouse, serving until the county seat was relocated in 1859 in new town of Comanche. That first courthouse and all the other buildings are gone from site of Old Cora. Only a cemetery--the oldest in Comanche County--remains. Thus Cora is an example of the many early, important towns no longer existent in Texas. In the 254 counties of Texas, there have been 126 cases of redesignation of county seats. (Two counties have had five county seats each.) Boundary changes (as in Comanche County), shifts in travel routes (as when railroads were built), changes from agrarian to industrial economy have caused counties to move their county seats to new locations. Old courthouses have found later usefulness as ranch headquarters, municipal buildings, or private homes. The first log cabin courthouse of Comanche County reverted to use as a residence, but later was restored and used--as are many former courthouses--as part of a museum. (1967)

Old Corn Trail

Marker Title: Old Corn Trail
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: From Comanche, go west about .25 mile on US 67/377.
Marker Text: Surveyed in 1850 by Army engineers, this was the first wagon road to penetrate this area. Point of origin was San Antonio, site of U.S. Army District Headquarters after annexation of Texas in 1846. This segment of road extended from Fort Gates (in Coryell County) to Fort Griffin (Shackelford County) and Fort Belknap (Young County). Although used for communications and troop movements, most common traffic was in supplies--especially feed for Army horses and mules. Hence the name "Corn Trail." Presence of the road and its traffic from fort to fort encouraged settlement. In 1851 John A. and J.M. McGuire moved to a site near here on Indian Creek. James H. Neel settled on Resley's Creek in 1852; in 1854 James Mercer and Capt. Frank Collier pitched tents on Mercer Creek, soon to be joined by their families and the Holmsleys and Tuggles. Collier put up first log house; Holmsley plowed first furrow. By Christmas of 1855 there were enough citizens here to petition for a county, and Comanche County was created by the Texas Legislature Jan. 25, 1856. The Corn Trail was a main civilian thoroughfare, and continued to serve its original purpose as a route for frontier troops and supplies. (1967)

Cunningham Family Reunion

Marker Title: Cunningham Family Reunion
City: Comanche vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1989
Marker Location: From Comanche, take SH 16 about 9 miles south (marker is on west side of SH 16 inside iron gate in private picnic area).
Marker Text: James (1816-1894) and Susannah (1817-1899) Cunningham came to the Republic of Texas in 1839-40 and settled in this area in 1855. An influential family in the county, the Cunninghams were active in military defense against hostile Indians. In 1889, James, Susannah, and their 12 children gathered for their first family reunion. Additional reunions were held sporadically until 1901, when they became an annual event. Acreage adjoining the family property was purchased to insure continuation of the historical gatherings, which take place for two days each summer. (1989)

James Cunningham

Marker Title: James Cunningham
City: Comanche vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: From Comanche, take SH 16 south about 10 miles, then go east on FM 1416 about 1/2 mile to Newburg Cemetery.
Marker Text: Born in Alabama, settled in Comanche County, 1855. Commander of Texas Ranger Company stationed in Comanche County, 1858. Helped bring law and order to county--drove out renegades and wild Indians. Cunningham commanded men from Comanche County in Dove Creek Battle, Jan. 8, 1864 (500 white men against 1,000 Indians). His sons became sheriffs in Comanche, Mills and Taylor counties. Recorded - 1967

Fleming Oak

Marker Title: Fleming Oak
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Courthouse square, Comanche.
Marker Text: Camped here in 1854 with his father, young Martin V. Fleming hid behind this tree and saved himself when hostile Indians rode through the grove. Years later paving contractors started to cut the oak, but were stopped by "Uncle Mart" with his gun. (1965)

George Washington Gentry

Marker Title: George Washington Gentry
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1980
Marker Location: Oakwood Cemetery, corner of Cedar and Bryan Streets, Comanche.
Marker Text: (1808 - 1883) A member of Stephen F. Austin's Colony, George Washington Gentry came to Texas in 1835 with his father and brother. Settling in what is now Washington County, he worked as a farmer and surveyor. He participated in the Texas Revolution, several Indian skirmishes, and the defense of San Antonio during the 1842 invasions of Rafael Vasquez and Adrian Woll. He later moved to Comanche County, where he was a farmer and rancher. Recorded - 1980

Site of Old Gill Farm

Marker Title: Site of Old Gill Farm
City: Comanche vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: from Comanche, take SH 16 NE about 4 miles, then go east on county road about 4 miles, at Old Gill Farm and Family Cemetery, Copperas Creek Park on Proctor Lake.
Marker Text: Settled 1874 by W.A. Gill (1843-1889), son of W.S. Gill, hero of Battle of San Jacinto. W.A. fought in Civil War and was a Captain in the Texas Rangers. His sons E.V. and Fleet lived here for many years. Remains in this family plot were moved in 1964 to Buffalo Cemetery (1mile N). (1968)

M.R. (Boss) Greene

Marker Title: M.R. (Boss) Greene
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: Oakwood Cemetery, Cedar and Bryan Streets, Comanche.
Marker Text: (Oct. 14, 1843 - May 12, 1877) Deputy U.S. Marshal: pursued Dee and James Bailey for passing counterfeit quarters in Comanche. After 10 mile chase, he captured and disarmed brothers. Catching Greene off guard (because of an unruly horse), one prisoner took Greene's rifle and shot him. He returned fire with hand gun but was fatally wounded in exchange. Prisoners escaped only to be recaptured and hanged on live oak tree here in cemetery where Greene is buried. Recorded - 1968

Hanging Oak

Marker Title: Hanging Oak
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: Comanche County Museum, W. city limits, on Moorman Road, .2 mile west of intersection with Hilcrest, Comanche.
Marker Text: Oak used 1874 by mob to hang Joe Hardin, Tom and Bud Dixon, kinsmen of John Wesley Hardin in reprisal for murder of Deputy Chas. Webb. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1967

John Wesley Hardin

Marker Title: Hardin, John Wesley
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: Comanche County Museum, located west of city limits, on Moorman Road, 2 miles west of intersection with Hilcrest, Comanche.
Marker Text: Champion gunfighter in personal combat, Hardin was brought to justice for first time for murder of Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb here in Comanche in 1874. Served 15 years in prison. On release, opened law office in El Paso, 1894. Killed at age of 42 when shot in back, 1895. (1966)

Site of Indian Creek Community

Marker Title: Site of Indian Creek Community
City: Comanche vicinity
County: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: From Comanche, take SH 36 SE about 1.25 mile, then go east on county road about 2 miles, then north about 0.5 mile to Indian Creek Cemetery.
Marker Text: One of the first settlements in Comanche County; founded in 1851 by John A. McGuire. The first public building here was a stockade that enclosed several log cabins. Named "Double Pens" for its double walls, it was a storehouse for emergency supplies of grain, water and other food to be used by the settlers when they took refuge there during Indian raids. When the men were away, the women and children slept at Double Pens. Church services were also held inside the walls and a school was organized there in 1876. The first teacher was R.W. Welborne. The Indian Creek Methodist Church was formed in 1880 with the Rev. H.B. Henry as pastor. Land for a building was given by J.M. (Mart) McGuire. The church was noted for its summer camp meetings, held yearly for two weeks after cultivation of the crops was finished. The campers, from a wide area, would bring chickens for eggs and meat and cows to supply milk. The church was also known for the large number of preachers it produced. In 1922 the present building was erected. Services were discontinued in 1958. The first burial in the cemetery was made in 1880. The land, then property of R.C. Coker, was given to the church by later owner J.H. Watson in 1894. (1968)

Indian Raid in Comanche

Marker Title: Indian Raid in Comanche
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Courthouse Square, Comanche.
Marker Text: One of boldest depredations in Texas history, made in May 1861, during the "Bright Moon." A braying mule wakened town after nearly all horses were stolen. Citizens spent rest of night molding bullets. Pursuit began at dawn, under command of Capt. James Cunningham, assisted by 17 boys and men, using hounds. Posse finally caught Indians on Brown's Creek (about 36 mi. SW), killing 19 in close fighting. White men's only casualty was a slight wound given to Capt. Cunningham. Relentless pursuit of Indian raiders was key to a town's survival on the frontier. (1969)

Jones Crossing

Marker Title: Jones Crossing
City: DeLeon vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1971
Marker Location: 6 miles southeast of De Leon on county road.
Marker Text: Named for "Sut" (Sutton) Jones, 1850s pioneer who lived near the ford and used his horses to aid freighters hauling heavy loads. This was on trail from Waco to scattered ranches in present Abilene-Albany area. Ford was notorious for 1870s use by horse thieves. Nearby settlers were warned to be deaf to sounds of horses "escaping" across the ford. A few robbed men objected, however, and went after stolen animals. Some of the thieves were later hanged. First spanned by a bridge in 1899, the ford is now included in Proctor Reservoir acreage. (1971)

Andrew Miller

Marker Title: Andrew Miller
City: Hamilton vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: From Hamilton, take SH 36 about 8 miles NW and go NE on County Road about 1/2 mile; at Gentry's Mill Cemetery.
Marker Text: (1823-1900) A frontier settler from Monroe County, Virginia, Andrew Miller migrated to Texas while still a young man. In 1856 he settled in Comanche County near the Hamilton County line. He married Hannah Margaret Shockley in 1861. They had seven children. Miller served with the 2nd Frontier Ranger Group, defending nearby pioneer settlements against Comanche Indian raids. A founder of the First Presbyterian Church of Hamilton, Miller also donated land for Warren's Creek Church in Comanche County and for a church, school, and cemetery at Gentry's Mill. (1978)

Mollie E. Moore

Marker Title: Mollie E. Moore
City: Proctor
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: US 67 and 377, (Proctor Grocery Store), Proctor.
Marker Text: (1844-1909) During the Civil War, wrote poems Texans memorized, cut out of newspapers, sent their boys on the battlefront: about the deaths of heroes, Texans' units, Confederate victories and such topics. She also did social work and nursing at Camp Ford, Tyler. She was a lively, spirited girl who went horseback riding with a pistol strapped to her side. After war, became nationally known poet, novelist, columnist. Married a newspaper editor. Led New Orleans society 20 years. Near this marker site, at Old Mooresville (now Proctor) often visited her brother's family. (1965)

Choctaw Robinson Tree

Marker Title: Choctaw Robinson Tree
City: Comanche
Year Marker Erected: 1975
Marker Location: Comanche County Museum.
Marker Text: The Rev. William Robinson (1809-98), pioneer Baptist missionary, was born in North Carolina and came to Texas in 1848. He organized and served as pastor to churches in Rusk, Johnson, Erath and Comanche counties. At the same time, he supported his large family by farming. He was called "Choctaw Bill" because a band of Choctaw Indians once complained about his long sermons. The Rev. Mr. Robinson often preached for hours beneath this tree, near a rough frontier town. While he spoke, he rested his gun in the fork of the tree. His grave is located in nearby Baggett Cemetery. (1975)

Communities and Related Links
Comanche Community

Defeat Gap Fight

During 1858, Maliki Cox, Don Cox, Simm Welsh, Jack White, Baz Cox, and possibly one or two others, were out about thirteen miles west of Comanche to hunt with dogs. When they reached a point near Defeat Gap, the dogs discovered the presence of Indians, who soon charged the whites. In the fight that followed, Maliki Cox was pinned to his saddle with an arrow. This forced the few whites to retreat, and because of this fight, a gap nearby, has since been known as the Defeat Gap. Ref.: Joel Nabers, Dave and Dick Cunningham and others.

Don Cox Kills Indian

    During 1861, or 62, Don and Baz Cox, who lived about one half mile east of Sidney, staked out a little brown pony the Indians had dropped on a previous raid. It was night and before the Cox boys reached home, two of their dogs bayed at a lone Indian. These dogs were soon joined by five or six others, which came charging from the house. John Cox shot at the savage but apparently missed him. The report of the gun, however, caused the dogs to charge the Indian who had been warding them off with an arrow. Don Cox then rushed up and killed the warrior with a butcher knife. Don, himself, was killed by Indians about four years later in the famous Dove Creek Fight.

    Ref.: Joel Nabers, Richard Cunningham, Dave Cunningham and others who were living in Comanche County at the time.

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