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

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Cowboy Country Museum | Fort Phantom Hill | Jones County | Jones County Courthouse | Swenson Land and Cattle Company Headquarters | Texas Cowboy Reunion Oldtimers' Association
Cowboy Country Museum

Museum Name: Cowboy Country Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1206
City: Stamford
Zip Code: 79553
Street Address: 113 South Wetherbee Street
Area Code: 915
Phone: 773-2411
County: Jones

Fort Phantom Hill

Marker Title: Fort Phantom Hill
City: Anson vicinity
County: Jones
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: from Anson, take US 180 east about 10 miles to FM 600, then take FM 600 south about 8.5 miles to fort ruins
Marker Text: Established November 14, 1851, as unit in chain of forts from Red River to Rio Grande, to defend frontier settlers and west-bound 49ers. Officially "Post on Clear Fork of the Brazos", everyday name became "Phantom Hill," either from prevalent mirages or sighting of ghostly Indian in moonlight. Abandoned by U.S. Army on April 6, 1854, fort served in 1858-61 as stage stand for Southern Overland Mail. In 1871-72, the army again used this as a sub-post of Fort Griffin, 40 miles northeast. The adjacent village was temporary county seat when Jones County was organized in 1881. Erected by the State of Texas, 1971.

Jones County

Marker Title: Jones County
City: Anson
County: Jones
Year Marker Erected: 1935
Marker Location: Courthouse square, intersection of US 277 and 180
Marker Text: Site of emigrant trail, the frontier military road, and Fort Phantom Hill, founded in 1851 to guard the military road. County created 1858 from Bexar and Bosque counties. Named for Anson Jones (1798-1858), a veteran of San Jacinto, minister to the U.S., Secretary of State and last President of the Texas Republic. Phantom Hill, in 1858-1861 a Butterfield Overland Mail Station, was in 1861-1865 a Civil War patrol point, trying to curb frontier raids by Indians. The county was recreated in 1876, organized 1881. Anson (at first called Jones City) is county seat. (1965)

Jones County Courthouse

Marker Title: Jones County Courthouse
City: Anson
County: Jones
Year Marker Erected: 2000
Marker Location: 11th St. and Commercial (US 277/83), Anson
Marker Text: The Seventh Texas Legislature created Jones County in 1858 and named it for Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. The Civil War, Reconstruction, and the area's untamed wilderness combined to postpone the county's formal organization until 1881. Voters selected Jones City, later renamed Anson, as permanent county seat. The first permanent courthouse was a small frame building, which served until the county purchased a hotel in 1884 for use as a courthouse. An 1886 brick courthouse served the county for the next 24 years. In late 1909, the Jones County commissioners court, led by County Judge J.R. Stinson, determined that the growth of the county called for a larger courthouse. They selected Elmer G. Withers of Stamford (15 mi. N) and the Texas Building Company of Fort Worth as architect and contractor, respectively. Completed in 1910, the Jones County courthouse is an excellent example of Beaux Arts styling, with influences from the Arts and Crafts movement found in the decorative painting uncovered during a 1990s rehabilitation on the ceiling of the district courtroom. Other notable features include the statue of Lady Justice atop the domed clock tower and the pedimented porticoes with flanking pairs of Ionic columns on each façade. Constructed of brick and Pecos red sandstone, the Jones County courthouse continues to stand as an important part of Anson's architectural heritage and a center of politics and government for the citizens of the county. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000

Swenson Land and Cattle Company Headquarters

Marker Title: Swenson Land and Cattle Company Headquarters
Address: 210 E. McHarg St.
City: Stamford
County: Jones
Year Marker Erected: 1995
Marker Text: Businessman Swen (Svante) Magnus Swenson (1816-1896), first Swedish settler in Texas, is closely associated with Sam Houston and his effort to keep Texas in the Union prior to the Civil War. In 1854 Swenson purchased large land tracts here which he greatly expanded by the mid-1880s with school tracts and railroad scrips. A a result of new state taxes on land Swenson leased his West Texas land to his sons Eric Pierson and Swen Albin in 1882. Eric and Swen formed the Swenson Brothers partnership and by 1885 their ranching operations consisted of 1800 shorthorn and 180 Indiana pure crossbred Hereford-shorthorn cows bearing a distinctive reversed (SMS) cattle brand still in use today. Initially comprised of the Flat Top, Ericksdahl, and Throckmorton ranches, the Swenson family holdings were expanded to include the Tongue River Ranch in 1900 and the Spur Ranch in 1906, making it one of the largest ranches in Texas with over 500,000 acres. Swenson Land & Cattle Company, incorporated in 1926, established its headquarters here in 1927. It is noted for its introduction of an innovative mail-order system for selling cattle, brush management programs, and integrated ranching operations. The ranch was divided into four separate family-owned corporations in 1978. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995.

Texas Cowboy Reunion Oldtimers' Association

Marker Title: Texas Cowboy Reunion Oldtimers' Association
City: Stamford
County: Jones
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: At reunion headquarters, 0.75 mile west of Stamford town square, on US 277/92.
Marker Text: Founded 1930, jointly with Texas Cowboy Reunion - to "hand down to posterity, customs and traditions" of early cattle people who lived in dugouts and fought drouths, die-outs, heat and freeze-ups, raising the longhorns that finally brought settlement to the southwest. Here (1930) were 335 men who had been cowboys prior to 1895. Besides regular cowmen, early members included musician Paul Whiteman, editor Amon Carter, Ranger Captain Tom Hickman and Will Rogers, ex-cowhand, internationally famous entertainer and columnist. Colonel R.L. Penick was first president. In 1932, donation of a bull started building fund for bunkhouse and roundup hall standing nearby. Ranch donated site. The interior and exterior of the bunkhouse feature ranch brands of many members. Oldtimers' Reunion and Rodeo held 3 days annually (including July 4th) features chuckwagon meals, square dancing, and oldtimers' memories and songs. Town celebrates with cowboy parade and thousands come to see what is called "world's largest amateur cowboy show," with actual cowhands performing. These oldtimers represent the end of the open range and beginning of the era of barbed wire. They opened Texas' last frontier. (1969)

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