Runnels 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. 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 Runnels County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Ballinger | Brown, W.H. | Maverick, Samuel | Parker Cabin, Nancy | Site of Pickettville | Ranger Campsite | Ranger Campsite Water Well | Ranger Peak | Runnels | San Clemente Mission
Uncommemorated and Unmapped Sites
Tom Stark, Abe Hunter and Jim Dofflemyre | J. Frank Thompson | Billy Brown

Marker Title: Ballinger
Address: US 83 and SH 67
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: Highway 83 and Highway 67, Ballinger.
Marker Text: Originally called Hutchins City. Promoted by Santa Fe Rwy. Named for Judge William Pitt Ballinger (1825-1888), railroad attorney and townsite official. Distinguished Texas statesmen, veteran of the Mexican War. In the Civil War helped establish defenses of Galveston, served as Confederate receiver of enemy aliens property, was sent to negotiate peace for Texas. Ballinger is county seat, and farm-ranch center. Industries include dairying, meat products, leather goods manufacturing. Has annual rodeo, livestock and quarterhorse shows.

Lakes: O.H. Ivie Reservoir twenty miles southeast on FM 1929, east of Hwy. 83. Ballinger City Lake, located along historical Elm Creek, features a public swimming pool, playground equipment, picnic area with outdoor cooking facilities, hiking and bike trails, RV hookups, fishing.

Points of Interest: Courthouse, 1909 Carnegie Library (one of thirty-four library buildings funded by Andrew Carnegie and one of only four still in use as a public library), Restored Railroad Depot, Charles H. Noyes Statue (sculptured by Pompeo Coppini and dedicated to the Spirit of the Texas Cowboy), The Cross (erected by the Jim and Doris Studen Family in 1993), Veterans Memorial on Courthouse Square.

Annual Events
April: Texas State Festival of Ethnic Cultures and Arts & Crafts Show, held on the "largest landscaped courthouse lawn in the state," features Colorado River Bike Fest, ethnic food booths, handmade arts and crafts, live entertainment, and a dance on Saturday night.
September: Texas State Championship Pinto Bean Cook-off
November: Christmas in Olde Ballinger

W.H. Brown

Marker Title: W.H. Brown
Address: CR 297 off FM 158 about 20 mi. W of Ballinger
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: from Ballinger, take FM 158 about 19 miles west, then go south on CR 297 .25 mile.
Marker Text: Born in Georgia. With his parents came to Texas 1857. He and a brother, John, were Texas Rangers -- W. H. ("Billy") serving June-December 1874. Billy Brown was the last man killed by Indians in Runnels County, in a fight to regain stolen horses.

Picture of Samuel Maverick
Samuel Maverick
from the book, Panhandle Pilgrimage,
by Pauline Durrett and R.L. Robertson
Samuel Maverick

Marker Title: Maverick
Address: SH 158, about 13.5 mi. W of Ballinger
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: from Ballinger, take SH 158 west about 13.5 miles.
Marker Text: Founded in the 1870s. Named for Samuel A. Maverick (1803-1870), who came to Texas 1835. Fought in the Texas War for Independence. In Secession Convention, 1861, he was made one of the commissioners to negotiate surrender of United States troops in San Antonio. In 1853 he had land in this important ranching area.

Nancy Parker Cabin

Marker Title: Nancy Parker Cabin
Address: FM 382, via FM 1770 E of Winters
City: Winters
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: From Winters, take FM 1770 east 12 miles then FM 382 north about 4 miles.
Marker Text: Home of "Grandma" (Mrs. John) Parker, local herb doctor. Here she brewed medicinal teas in a huge pot over an open fire; walked miles in Indian-infested country to visit the sick. Lived here over a decade. Sold cabin after eyesight failed, 1888. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1970

Site of Pickettville

Marker Title: Site of Pickettville
Address: US 67 & US 83
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location: From Ballinger, take US 67 1.7 miles northeast (1 mile northeast of JCT US 67 and US 83).
Marker Text: First civilian settlement in Runnels County. Founded 1862 by frontiersmen whose picket houses and corrals gave place its name. Original settlers included Mr. and Mrs. John W. Guest and three sons; Henry and R.K. Wylie, their cowboys and African servant; Mrs. Felicia Gordon and five sons. In 1862, "Rich" Coffey's family also moved here. Indian hostilities of Civil War years (1861-65) caused these ranchers to band together for protection. In 1866, they left with cattle for open range. Their picket corrals later penned the trail herds of John Hittson, John and Joseph Henderson, and others.

Ranger Campsite

Marker Title: Ranger Campsite
Address: FM 382 via FM 1770, about 15 mi. NE of Winters
City: Winters
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: from Winters, from FM 1770 east about 12 miles then go north on FM 382 about 3.5 miles.
Marker Text: One-half mile east of here, some twenty-five to thirty Texas rangers of Company E were stationed in 1874, under the command of Capt. W.J. "Jeff" Maltby. They kept sentries posted on nearby "Ranger Peak" to guard against Indians. Remains of a dry well they dug are still visible.

Ranger Campsite Water Well

Marker Title: Ranger Campsite Water Well
Address: FM 382 via FM 1770
City: Winters
Year Marker Erected: 1980
Marker Location: From Winters, take FM 1770 east 12 miles, go north 3.5 miles on FM 382 is in field .5 mile east.
Marker Text: In an effort to protect area settlements, Governor Richard Coke established the frontier battalion in 1874. Comprised of six companies of volunteer Rangers, it was headed by Major John B. Jones. This campsite was part of a defensive line which reached from the Red River to the coastal area. Rangers of Co. E, under the leadership of Captain W.J. Maltby, were stationed here in 1874. The camp consisted of tents, a corral for horses, and this hand-dug well, which failed to provide water. Daily scouting duties included a sentry post on nearby Ranger Peak (0.5 miles west).

Ranger Peak

Marker Title: Ranger Peak
Address: FM 382 via FM 1770
City: Winters
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: from Winters, go east on FM 1770 about 12 miles then go north on FM 382 about 3.5 miles.
Marker Text: Named for Company E, Texas Rangers, which was stationed 1/2 mile east of peak in 1874. Atop peak, Rangers (Under Capt. W.J. "Jeff" Maltby) kept a lookout for Indians. Outfit was part of the frontier battalion, organized to protect Texas settlers on frontier stretching from Red River to the Nueces. Camp was abandoned in 1876.


Marker Title: Runnels
Address: US 83 & 67
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US Hwy. 83 and 67, Ballinger.
Marker Text: Formed from Bexar and Travis counties. Created February 1, 1858; organized February 16, 1880. Named in honor of Hiram G. Runnels 1796-1857. Lawyer and governor of Mississippi. Member of the Texas Legislature. County seat, Runnels City, 1880; Ballinger, since 1888.

San Clemente Mission

Marker Title: San Clemente
Address: US 83, about 6.5 mi. S of Ballinger
City: Ballinger
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: From Ballinger, take Highway 83 south about 6.5 miles.
Marker Text: The first mission known to have been established in Texas east of the Pecos River, San Clemente was a hastily built, two-room structure located on a hill about 17 miles south of present Ballinger. (Some historians place the site farther south, near Junction.) Although earlier than the great Spanish mission movement, this was one of the first (1684) in Texas and was founded by Juan Dominguez de Mendoza and Fray Nicolas Lopez. Named for the San Clemente River (actually the Colorado), the mission was founded at the request of the Jumano Indians, who desired Christianity and the friendship of the Spanish. The buildings was probably constructed of logs, its lower story serving as a chapel and its upper story as a lookout post. Though they stayed only from March 15 to May 1, awaiting envoys from 48 tribes (bands), the Spaniards baptized many of their several thousand Indian allies. Finally, being attacked by hostile Apaches, Mendoza returned with his men to El Paso six months after he had left. Although Mendoza did not know it, French explorer La Salle had landed on the Gulf Coast, 1684. This fact, plus Mendoza's report of seeing a French flag among the Indians quickly led to other Spanish expeditions being sent to chart the Texas wilderness.

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