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 Jack County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Town of Antelope | Bryson | Butterfield Stage Line | Cross, G.D. | Dosher, James B. | Fort Richardson | Fort Richardson Cavalry Post Hospital, 1867 | Fort Richardson | Jack County | Community of Jermyn | Lost Valley | Site of Loving Ranch House | Fort Richardson Officer's Quarters | So-Called "Squaw Mountain" Community | Winn Hill Cemetery | Wizard Wells
Uncommemorated and Unmapped Sites
Calhoun Children | Cox Mountain Fight | Satanta, Satauk (Satank) and Big Tree Arrested | Satanta and Big Tree Trial | Garrison Life at Fort Richardson | Exciting Chase of Pete Lynn and Albert Harrell | Heath, John | Long, Francis M. | Nocona's 1860 Raid | White, David and Britt Johnson | Fort Richardson Tour
Red Flag Uncommemorated Active Battle Map (Stories below are on map.)
Hodges, McGee, and Hill; John Keyser and His Father | Robert Law Prairie (See Below) | Chapman at Burton Spring | Lewis Family | Lost Valley Pen | Isaac F. Knight | Earhart Ranch, J.B | Capt. Will R. Peveler, State Cox, and Others Fight Near Cox Mountain | Wynn Hill Fight | Indian Fight in the Edge of Jacksboro (Cooper Family) | Head (Lorenzo) Riley (See Below) | Josh Lawrence | Lauderdate Massacre | Bill Hollis | Fort Richardson | Landman Family | Gage Family | Henry Riley | Bryson | Howell Walker and Son, Henry | Green Lasater | George McQuerry | Mrs. F.A. Lasater and Her Children | Alf Ross, Son, Ike Ross and Shade Hightower | John F. Bottorff (Butoff) | Charlie E. Rivers | White Massacre on Dillingham Prairie | Rocky Creek Fight Indian Raid | Elonzo White and Sarah Kemp | John Reasoner | Dick Harris (See Below) | Upton Blackwell | Jack and Henry Rolland | Lasater Brothers | Post Oak | Starr, Samuel H. "Paddy" (Post at Jacksboro)
Town of Antelope

Marker Title: Town of Antelope
City: Antelope
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: US 187 - Antelope Business District.
Marker Text: Named for springs where herds of antelope watered and Kiowa Indians had a campsite. In 1875, Walter S. Jones platted townsite on Henrietta-Graham mail route. By 1887, place had 400 people, a general store, post office, a school, doctors, hotel, and spa built around its mineral wells. Town was overnight stop and supply point for cattle trails leading north. The G.R. Christian Camp No. 703, United Confederate Veterans, active 1895-1941, served as city's park association. Economy is based on ranch and oil income; area is known for its churches and hospitality. (1970)


Marker Title: Bryson
City: Bryson
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: US 380, on north side of road, one block east of traffic light.
Marker Text: Jack County Petroleum Capital. Founder, Henry E. Bryson (September 1, 1839 - October 25, 1909), a Civil War veteran, farmer and stockraiser, built first log cabin here in 1878. After Bryson post office was established in 1882, the town developed as a center for the growing of cotton and grain. Rock Island Railroad reached here in 1902. The first oil well was drilled 1925; town in 1920s and 30s had a gasoline plant; from 1935 until late 1954 an oil refinery was in operation here. Churches, schools, social and civic clubs and Masonic bodies have contributed to growth. (1968)

Bryson became a boomtown as the United States prepared for World War II. The town had so many gambling and prostitution joints that there was hardly room for a cafe or a boarding house, so there was a chronic labor shortage. The town's refinery contracted Ernest Tubb to play a free outdoor dance every weekend in order to draw roughnecks and roustabouts to the area. I worked these oilfields in the early 60s and Bryson was then known for great ice cream at its drug store's soda fountain. Today Bryson enjoys a bit of sophistication joining Mineral Wells, Possum Kingdom, Lone Camp and Newcastle as destinations to buy alcoholic beverages.

Butterfield Stage Line

Marker Title: Butterfield Stage Line
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: City limits on US 281, just north of Lost Creek Bridge.
Marker Text: Here ran the Southern Overland Mail Line connecting St. Louis and San Francisco with semi-weekly stage and mail service, 1858-1861. The length of the route, 2,795 miles, and the superior service maintained made this a pioneer enterprise of first magnitude.

G.D. Cross

Marker Title: G.D. Cross
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Picnic area, Sewell Park (south section of Jacksboro, US 281 and Lost Creek).
Marker Text: (1855 - 1941) Born in Arkansas. Served in Hunter's Texas Ranger Company 1873-1874, helping remove Indians from Texas. Later became merchant and farmer. Married Mary A.E. Shawver, 1881. Had 13 children. Built this picnic table (where his ranger unit once camped) to be used at family reunions. (1969)

James B. Dosher

Marker Title: James B. Dosher
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1997
Marker Location: US 281, Jacksboro and Fort Richardson State Park, interpretive center.
Marker Text: James B. Dosher moved to Texas in 1847 and served in Cureton's Company of the Texas Rangers. Discharged in 1848, he married Velma Eddings in 1851. They settled in Jack County in early 1855 and worked their farm south of Jacksboro. Dosher also served with Captain Tackett's Company of Texas Rangers. During the Civil War he was active in the Texas State Troops and the Confederate Army. In 1870 as a civilian guide for the U.S. Army, he received the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during an engagement at Bluff Creek, Texas. (1997)

Fort Richardson

Marker Title: Fort Richardson
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Fort Richardson State Historical Park, at interpretive center.
Marker Text: As partially reconstructed in 1936. Established by the United States War Department on November 26, 1867 as a protection of the frontier against hostile Indians. Named in honor of General Israel B. Richardson, U.S.A., killed at Antietam, September 17, 1862. Abandoned May 23, 1878 as the line of settlement had passed westward.

Fort Richardson Cavalry Post Hospital, 1867

Marker Title: Fort Richardson Cavalry Post Hospital, 1867
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: Fort Richardson State Historical Park.
Marker Text: In fort built to halt Indian depredations in North Texas. One of buildings and units on inspection in May 1871 by General William Tecumseh Sherman, when news came of massacre of Warren Wagon Trail, 24 miles northwest. Killers, later found at Fort Sill, were brought to trial in Jacksboro - first time Indians were ever tried in the white man's court in North Texas. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965.

Fort Richardson

Marker Title: Fort Richardson
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: from Jacksboro take US 281 .5 mile south to marker on east side of highway.
Marker Text: Established November 26, 1867 by the United States Army to defend the frontier against the Indians. A mail station on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line, 1858-1861. Abandoned as a military post May 23, 1879.

Jack County

Marker Title: Jack County
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1965
Marker Location: at west entrance to Courthouse, Courthouse Square, Jacksboro.
Marker Text: Created 1856. Organized 1857. Named for W.H. and P.C. Jack, brothers and patriots in the Texas Revolution. Butterfield Overland Mail, 1858-1861, had 3 stage stops in county. In 1861, Jack County voted against secession, 76-14. Most men fought in frontier units. Some were Confederates; others joined Federal army. Fort Richardson was established in 1867. In 1871 near Jacksboro, Kiowas massacred Warren Wagon Train teamsters. General of the Army W. T. Sherman, then at the fort, sent General Ranald S. MacKenzie, commander, to arrest the Indians. Chiefs Satanta and Big Tree were convicted in first non-tribal trials of Plains Indians in North Texas. By 1875 MacKenzie's raiders had opened West Texas for settlement. A Corn Club founded in Jacksboro by County Agent Tom Marks on September 8, 1907, was the forerunner of the International 4-H Clubs. Fort Richardson, with 7 original buildings standing, is now a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark. Museum is open the year round. Other attractions include circular high school building and old limestones on square, Jacksboro. Recreation centers about lakes, parks, campgrounds. Economy is based on agriculture, oil, cattle, sheep, and goats. (1965)

Community of Jermyn

Marker Title: Community of Jermyn
City: Jermyn
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: SH 114, 1 mile east of Jermyn.
Marker Text: Located on the western edge of Lost Valley, a 20-square mile area of Jack County, Jermyn was founded in 1909 as site of the roundhouse, depot, and office building for the Gulf, Texas & Western Railroad. It was named for J.J. Jermyn (1852-1928), line's president. Land for the town was donated by Oliver Loving II (grandson of "Dean of Texas Trail Drivers") and W.P. Stewart. Many lots were sold and the town embarked on two decades of prosperity and progress. A school was built about 1912 and Jermyn came to have numerous businesses, including a hotel, garage, bank, two general stores, blacksmith shop, land office, cotton gin and warehouse, restaurant, drugstore, ice house, lumber yard, confectionary, U.S Post Office, and a newspaper --The "Enterprise" -- succeeded by the "News". With the sale of the G.T. & W. Railroad to the Frisco system in 1930, however, a gradual decline set in. By 1936 the line curtailed passenger service, then all service. Highway construction hastened the railroad's -- and the town's-- economic demise as citizens moved to the cities to find work, and businesses closed. Today the post office, two churches, and a general store still function and part of the school serves as a civic center. Current economic base is ranching. (1972) (1972)

Lost Valley

Marker Title: Lost Valley
City: Jacksboro vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: from Jacksboro, take US 281 about 12 miles north to roadside park.
Marker Text: Marked by "Seven Blue Hills" in distance. To right is Spy Knob -- a lookout during pioneer days. Noted atrocity site: In 1857, the Cambren and Mason families, settlers, were victims of white renegades and Indians. On May 18, 1871, on western rim, teamsters of Warren Wagon Train were killed soon after General W.T. Sherman of the U.S. Army had traveled safely through this valley. On July 12, 1874, the escort part of Major John B. Jones, Commander of the Frontier Battalion, Texas Rangers, was ambushed here, with two men killed. In later years, this has been peaceful farm-ranch area. (1970)

Site of Loving Ranch House

Marker Title: Site of Loving Ranch House
City: Jermyn vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: from Jermyn, take SH 114 west about 3 miles to ranch site.
Marker Text: Built 1872 by J.C. Loving, the son of pioneer trail driver Oliver Loving. J.C. Loving was an organizer and first secretary of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. Organization's first office was at the ranch, which was later operated by Loving's son, Oliver II. (1968)

Fort Richardson Officer's Quarters

Marker Title: Officers' Quarters
City: Jacksboro
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: Fort Richardson State Historical Park.
Marker Text: Built in 1867 of lumber cut from cottonwoods growing in nearby river bottoms. One of 5 original officers' quarters. Outlasted fort's barracks and stables, which were built of small vertical timbers (pickets). Style typical of 19th century army posts in the west. Only one left standing the United States. Among men quartered here was General Ranald S. MacKenzie, who sent Indians back to reservations, 1871-74. Restored by City of Jacksboro. Maintained by Girl Scouts. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1964

"Squaw Mountain" Community

Marker Title: "Squaw Mountain" Community
City: Jacksboro vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1998
Marker Location: 17 mi. N of Jacksboro on US 281; 2 mi. E on FM 2190.
Marker Text: Legend tells of a mountaintop skirmish between Native Americans and Texas Rangers in 1875. A woman was accidentally killed; the Rangers buried her on the mountain and named the place for her. In 1877 pioneers began to settle here, and in 1892 a post office and a stagecoach relay station were established. At its peak the "Squaw Mountain" community included two cotton gins and a thresher, a general store, blacksmith shop, school, and church. By 1917 a flowing water well and two coal mines had been discovered. In 1997 only the "Squaw Mountain" church and a few scattered buildings remained. (1998)

Winn Hill Cemetery

Marker Title: Winn Hill Cemetery
City: Jacksboro vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1991
Marker Location: from Jacksboro, take US 281 to "Y", continue on SH 114 .5 mile; then south on county road for 2.5 miles, turn west onto county road about 2.75 miles to cemetery.
Marker Text: Located on the historic Butterfield Stage/Overland Mail Route which traversed this area from 1858-61, this graveyard is named for William H. Wynne, who was killed by Indians in this vicinity in 1863. The Winn Hill community grew up around a rural school in the 1870s. The settlement soon included homes and a church, and by the 1880s this cemetery had been established. The earliest documented burial is that of Callie A. Beauchamp, who died in 1884. The county purchased the cemetery property in 1904. It is the last physical reminder of the Winn Hill community. (1991)

Wizard Wells

Marker Title: Wizard Wells
City: Jacksboro vicinity
Year Marker Erected: 1980
Marker Location: 10 miles east of Jacksboro via US 380 and FM 1156, in Wizard Wells.
Marker Text: The Kiowa Indians first visited this location and used the mineral waters for medical purposes. George Washington Vineyard settled here in the 1870s, taking up a claim originally established by David Rowland. Vineyard dug this well for his home but the mineral-tasting water was not used. He suffered from sore eyes and from ulcers on his legs but was cured by bathing in and drinking the water. The news spread and visitors suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, stomach disorders, and skin diseases began coming to the well. Those seeking treatments often camped along Bean's Creek in their wagons. Soon three hotels and several bath houses opened to serve the increased visitor population. The town of Vineyard was laid out in 1882 and J.H. Grisham opened the first general store. The town later included several churches, a newspaper, school; sawmill, blacksmith shop, and post office. In 1898 the Rock Island Railroad bypassed Vineyard and Sebree community was started (2 miles south). Visitors arriving by train took a hack to the resort. H.F. Stamper and his sons, Clint and H.F. Jr., petitioned the Legislature in 1915 and the name of Vineyard became "Wizard Wells". Sebree was changed to Vineyard. (1980)

Indian Experience of Bill Hollis

    Bill Hollis, who was sometimes called Bill Clark, and who lived alone on the Clark Ranch, about twelve miles west of Jacksboro, saw seven or eight Indians about five or six hundred yards from his house, and in the edge of the timber. Hollis closed the door, and watched the movements of the Indians through the cracks. These Indians slowly crept toward the house; and when reasonably close, galloped and circled the house two or three times. Finally when they saw no one, the Indians stopped and lined up in front of the door, and dismounted. They then slowly felt their way toward the house and in a short time were attempting to break on the inside, when Bill Hollis, who had remained quiet, suddenly jerked open the door and shot an Indian in the stomach. This caused the savages to fall back like wild wolves. One Indian ran into a stable adjoining the house, and after Hollis shot his steed, this Indian ran away. This episode occurred about eleven o'clock in the morning, about 1873.

    Note: Author interviewed: A.M. Lasater; James Wood; and one or two others.

Dick Harris

    Dick Harris, about twenty years of age, left the home of Dick Palmer, in Jack County, and started to Mrs. Nancy Williams' Place, to help kill some sheep. He had only gone about two miles when the Indians killed him on Palmer's Prairie, in the southern part of Jack County. Dick Harris was not found until about Friday, and buried where he was killed.

    Note: Author personally interviewed: A.M. Lasater, James Wood, B.L. Ham; Mrs. H.G. Taylor; and others. Also corresponded with Dick Palmer, with whom Dick Harris stayed.

Fight on Robert Law Prairie

    When Joe Bryant, Lee Bennett, and seven or eight others were preparing to camp on Robert Law Prairie about ten miles southwest of Bowie, they heard a gun fire over the hill. An investigation disclosed that fifteen or twenty Indians had killed a beef, and a few seconds later the savages were surprised to see the citizens dashing toward them. A running fight followed with the Indians in the lead. One Indian came upon a dead tree in the tall grass, and was cut off from his crowd. This savage was pursued by Joe Bryant, who had him almost killed when others arrived. The fight lasted only a few minutes.

    Note: Author interviewed: Joe Bryant, who was in the fight.

Head (Lorenzo) Riley

    During November of 1869, the Indians killed Head Riley. He was alone and a short distance from the house where he lived on Bean Creek in Jack County, and about twelve miles east of Jacksboro. Head Riley was about twenty-one years old, and unmarried.

    Note: Author interviewed A.M. Lasater; Joe Fowler; James Wood; and B.L. Ham.

The above story is from the book, The West Texas Frontier, by Joseph Carroll McConnell.

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