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.

Palo Pinto County, Texas

Palo Pinto, roughly translated "painted stick," refers to the spotted oak which is abundant in this area. It remains the county seat of this beautiful pioneer ranching and trail driving country.

Possum Kingdom lies to the northwest and includes a stop to view Goodnight/Loving's gathering pasture. You can take Hwy. 4 N five miles to find the marker for another pioneer cattleman, George Webb Slaughter. A little further north you cross the Brazos, and you'll notice on the map a red dot to the east, which marks the site where Choctaw Tom and his band were killed. This incident is significant because in 1835, Tom led an attack on Bastrop which many attribute to bringing the Comanches into the war. It was over twenty years later when he was killed on the Brazos, and many attribute that event to starting the Indian wars in North Texas. What is most important is that he and his band were peaceful residents of the Brazos Reservation, which was forced to close as the fighting ensued.

Map of Palo Pinto Square from 1872-1882
Diagram from the book, Painted Pole, by Barbara Belding Gibson

The Palo Pinto jail and museum are certainly worth a visit, and Hwy. 4 to the south may be the most beautiful drive in this part of the world. Stop in the little store at Lone Camp. An electric train passes overhead by handpainted landscapes all the way around the store. Also, don't forget to visit the newly reopened Palo Pinto Cafe located at 108 S. 6th Ave. Their phone number is 940-659-2458.

Palo Pinto Stage Coach
Palo Pinto Stage Coach

Hwy. 4 continues south along Palo Pinto Creek. The legendary Ranger Big Foot Wallace was here in 1837 and claimed the trees produced the best pecans he had ever eaten.

Palo Pinto Jail Museum Picture


Texas State Historical Landmark (erected 1858)

Will be open for tours during weekends in the summer season.

Call 817-798-2332 or 817-659-2555 to make sure they are open.

From Dallas

I-30 west to I-20 west to Farm Road 4 - turn right

From Ft. Worth

I-20 west to Farm Road 4 - turn right 7 miles

From DFW airport

Hwy 360 south to I-20 west to Farm Road 4- turn right.

From Weatherford

Hwy 180 west - through Mineral Wells to Palo Pinto.

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