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Hudspeth County Historical Markers

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. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Map of Hudspeth County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Hot Springs | Byrne, Killing of General J.J. | Crow Springs | Fort Quitman, C.S.A. | Replica of Fort Quitman | Fransal, August | Hudspeth County | Hudspeth County Courthouse
Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Hot Springs

Marker Title: The Buffalo Soldiers and Indian Hot Springs
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1988
Marker Location: Indian Springs FM 1111 31 miles S. of Sierra Blanca
Marker Text: The natural hot springs in this area have been used for centuries by people seeking curative waters. Known as Indian hot Springs, they were used by generations of nomadic Indian tribes. Following the Civil War, the U.S. army established several regiments of black soldiers, including the 10th Cavalry. Called "buffalo soldiers", by their Indian adversaries, the soldiers conducted numerous scouting and mapping expeditions in this region. Pursuing raiding bands of Mescalero Apache Indians, members of the 10th Cavalry were sent to guard water holes and river crossings known to be frequented by the Indians. At dawn on October 28, 1880, soldiers of companies B and K were attacked on a ridge near this site by Apaches. Although official and contemporary accounts of the battle vary, at least five buffalo soldiers were reported slain in the attack and were buried where they fell. They were: Carter Burns, George Mills, William Backus, Jeremiah Griffin, and James Stanley. Two soldiers, Scott Graves and Thomas Rach, were reported missing. Their bodies were said to have been found and buried with their comrades weeks later. The seven graves were relocated in this vicinity in the 1960s.

Killing of General J.J. Byrne

Marker Title: The Killing of General J.J. Byrne
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: Located at intersection of Business IH-10 and FM 1111, Sierra Blanca.
Marker Text: One of the final acts of violence in raiding led during 1880 by the feared Apache chieftain, Victorio. Just prior to this incident, Victorio's band--100 to 200 strong-- had finished a sanguinary two years of raiding in southwest Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. His brilliant guerrilla tactics baffled his U. S. Army pursuers and earned their grudging admiration. J. J. Byrne, a surveyor and retired military man, had fought in U. S. Army in the Civil War (1861-65), having been cited both for gallantry and meritorious conduct. At the time of his death, he was the lone passenger on the stage bound for Fort Davis. Drawn by small, swift Mexican mules, the coach left Fort Quitman, a former Army post on the Rio Grande, August 13, 1880. As it entered a steep canyon Victorio's men attacked. Gen. Byrne was killed almost at once but the driver, Ed Walde, turned the stage and raced back to the fort for safety. Later in 1880 the United States and Mexico fielded 5,000 soldiers to hunt down Victorio, who was finally killed in Mexico. Thus ended the career of one of the most notable Indian chiefs in the southwest. Byrne, born in Ireland about 1842, was buried near Fort Quitman but later reinterred in Fort Worth.

Crow Springs

Marker Title: Crow Springs
City: Salt Flats
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1974
Marker Location: 4.5 miles E. of Salt Flats on US 62/180 R.O.W., Salt Flats.
Marker Text: Named for birds habitually there in abundance, Crow Springs was an oasis for Indians for centuries. The Butterfield Overland Mail in 1858 built a stage relay station at the Springs, but used it less than a year before shifting the route south, to go by Fort Davis. During the Apache wars of the early 1880s, Texas rangers and the U. S. 10th Cavalry camped at Crow Springs occasionally, to prevent Indians in New Mexico from joining the war leaders, Victorio and Nana, in Mexico. Today the Springs are dry, the station has fallen to dust, and the Crows have disappeared.

Fort Quitman, C.S.A.

Marker Title: Fort Quitman, C.S.A.
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: located on Courthouse Lawn, ( 3 block N. of Business IH-10 and just west of FM 1111) Sierra Blanca.
Marker Text: Site 16 miles southwest on Rio Grande on old military and stage road from San Antonio to El Paso. When U.S. posts were surrendered at outbreak of civil war, designated part confederate far western frontier defense line. Occupied by unit of Texas mounted rifles. On supply and communication line for troops to and from 1861-1862 Arizona-New Mexico campaign designed to make the Confederacy an ocean to ocean nation. Occupied briefly by Union troops from California, August 1862. 90,000 Texas troops served the South. Source of supply and gateway to vital trade thru Mexico, Texas was storehouse of the western Confederacy. Texas also had to guard a 2000 mile frontier and coastline from Union troops and the constant threat of savage Indians. 400 miles east, frontier defenders set up a line of camps, separated by a day's ride, from the Red River to the Rio Grande. A few Confederate troops joined by rangers, the organized militia, and citizens' posses held on until war's end though short on mounts and arms.

Replica of Fort Quitman

Marker Title: Replica of Fort Quitman
City: McNary
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: Replica was located 10 miles E. of McNary on Eastbound IH-10; replica was torn down.
Marker Text: In 1858 travel here was made so hazardous by Apache Indians and Mexican bandits that Fort Quitman was founded to protect stages and wagon trains. The fort was given over to Confederates during the Civil War, but afterward became the center of efforts against the "Apache Napoleon" Victorio. In 1877, disputes over rights to use salt deposits north of here led to the bloody El Paso Salt War. This caused cavalry patrols to be continued in the area even though the Indian menace was over and the fort was abandoned earlier that year.

August Fransal

Marker Title: August Fransal
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: located south central section of Sierra Blanca Cemetery) (Cemetery is East of FM 1111 about 5 blocks N of Business IH-10) Sierra Blanca.
Marker Text: One of the many fearless stage drivers who traveled on the Ben Ficklin Overland Mail Line from San Antonio to El Paso. On this dangerous route, threatened by wild Apaches, Fransal regularly drove his mule-drawn stage. He served as a Texas Ranger 1881-1882 and in 1883 under Capt. George W. Baylor. He was also a teamster at Fort Davis. Later he was a hunter, selling fresh game (a welcome substitute for dried, cured meat) in El Paso.

Hudspeth County

Marker Title: Hudspeth County
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: located at intersection of Business IH-10 and FM 1111, Sierra Blanca.
Marker Text: Formed from El Paso County; created February 16, 1917, organized August 25, 1917. Named in honor of Claude Benton Hudspeth born in 1877. A native Texan, holder of larger ranching interests, member of the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress. Sierra Blanca, the county seat.

Hudspeth County Courthouse

Marker Title: Hudspeth County Courthouse
City: Sierra Blanca
County: Hudspeth
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: located 3 blocks N. of Business IH-10 and just West of FM 1111, Sierra Blanca.
Marker Text: Built 1917. Only adobe county courthouse in state.

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