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 Brazos Trail Region

Map of Ward County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Butterfield Overland Stage Line | Site of First Ward County Courthouse | Million Barrel Museum | Monahans Sandhills State Park and Museum | Monahans Sandhills State Park Interpractive Center | Ward County
Uncommemorated and Unmapped Sites
Dagger Bend Fight

About the second of March, 1870, J. F. P. Kruse, and ten or eleven men, some of whom had their families, were returning from New Mexico to Texas. When the travelers reached the Dagger Bend of the Pecos, somewhere in the vicinity of the present Ward and Loving Counties, and when citizens saw a mysterious signal smoke in the distance, they camped for the night. The next morning the travelers moved on toward Menard. Late in the evening, another party returning from New Mexico camped at their camping place, and found campfires still burning. The next morning about the break of day, this second group was charged by Indians, and for some time, besieged by the savages, who went away.

Note: Author personally interviewed: J. F. P. Kruse, mentioned above.

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

Butterfield Overland Stage Line

Marker Title: Butterfield Overland Stage Line
Address: SH 18, S of Grandfalls
City: Grandfalls
County: Ward
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: On SH 18 about 2 miles S of Grandfalls
Marker Text: One of the longest stage routes ever established, the Southern Overland Mail Line (Butterfield Route) which provided semi-weekly service St. Louis to San Francisco, 1858-1861. Followed substantially the route of this highway through Ward County.

Site of First Ward County Courthouse

Marker Title: Site of First Ward County Courthouse
Address: FM 518 & 873
City: Barstow
County: Ward
Year Marker Erected: 1985
Marker Location: Jct. of Mackey (FM 518) and FM 873 Barstow
Marker Text: A Three-story red sandstone courthouse with a domed cupola was constructed here in 1893, one year after Barstow was elected first Ward County seat. The first elected officials to serve in the courthouse were R.D. Gage, co. judge; S.D. McWhorter, co. & dist. clerk; W.M. Ware, sheriff & tax collector; John W. Phillips, co. attorney; S.H. Parker, tax assessor; J.B. Carson, surveyor; J.J. Walker, treas.; Pat Wheat, Comm. No. 1; W.C. Carson, Comm. No. 2; Pat Duracke, Comm. No. 3; and A.D. Irvin, Comm. No. 4. The landmark was razed soon after the county seat moved to Monahans in 1938. All that remains is a cornerstone.

Million Barrel Museum

Museum Name: Million Barrel Museum
Mailing Address: 400 E. 4th
City: Monahans
Zip Code: 79756
Street Address: 100 E. Museum Drive
Area Code: 915
Phone: 943-6312
County: Ward
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Historical, Local/Pioneer History

Monahans Sandhills State Park and Museum

Marker Title: Monahans Sandhills State Park and Museum
Address: US 80/IH-20
City: Monohans
County: Ward
Marker Location: About 6 miles E. of Monahans on US 80/I-20 at visitors center in Sandhills State Park.
Marker Text: In these shifting seas of sand, rich in stone evidences of primitive men, today's visitors find flint points, sandstone metates and manos of peoples who were here as early as 10,000 years ago and late as the 1870s. Bones of great mammoths and gigantic bison prove that this desert was in post-glacial times a land of lakes and tall grasses. Cabeza de Vaca in 1535 and Antonio de Espejo in 1583 encountered Jumanos, historic tribe which hunted here. In 1590 Castano de Sosa found a tribe he called Vaqueros because they lived by hunting cows (buffalo)--the tribe later called Apaches. For more than 100 years at this stop on great Comanche War Trail extending into Mexico. Apache fought Comanche for pools of water and acorns of dwarf Shinnery oak. The California or Emigrant Trail through the Sand Hills started with the gold rush. Was first mapped in September 1849 by Capt. Randolph B. Marcy, U.S. topographical engineers, and in 1854 by Capt. John Pope, who explored a railroad route toward the Pacific Ocean. 3,000 acres of Sand Hills were designated in 1957 as a state park, after acquisition and construction of museum by Ward County. Has picnic facilities.

Monahans Sandhills State Park Interpractive Center

Museum Name: Monahans Sandhills State Park Interpractive Center
Mailing Address: Box 1738
City: Monahans
Zip Code: 79756
Street Address: IH20 #86
Area Code: 915
Phone: 943-2092
County: Ward, Winkler
Types of Exhibits/Collections: Science, Art, Military, Natural History, Archeology, Interactive, Historical, Local/Pioneer History

Ward County

Marker Title: Ward County
Address: IH 20, East of Pyote
City: Pyote
County: Ward
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: In Roadside rest area on East bound IH-20 about 4 1/2 miles East of Pyote.
Marker Text: Formed from Tom Green County; created February 26, 1887, organized March 29, 1892. Named in honor of Thomas William Ward, 1807-1872, at the storming of Bexar, December, 1835; Commissioner of the General Land Office, 1841-1848; United States consul at Panama, 1853-1856. Barstow, County Seat.

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