Cyrus Campbell | historical markers – Comanche County Texas

Here are the available historical markers in Comanche County. Anyone could make a day of driving around and looking at them!

We have included their location along with a bit of history for each one. Enjoy!

Historical Markers Located In Comanche, Texas

  Amity Cemetery

32 02.815′ N 98 53.753′ W

When 14-year-old Charles Farley died in Feb. 1878, his parents buried him near their farmhouse, as this frontier locality had no cemetery at the time. Three months later Fannie Nichols (1875-78) died and was buried nearby. The Farleys then donated an acre of land as a community graveyard. The neighbors built an adjacent brush arbor for funerals and general gatherings. In the summer of 1878, Baptists organized a church, naming it Amity (friendship). Before erecting their own buildings, Baptists and Methodists held services in the brush arbor or at Amity School (1 mi. NW). William H. Lindley (1840-1913) bought land south of the Farley Farm in 1885. When new surveys placed the cemetery on his land, Lindley deeded the burial ground to the public. Later his son-in-law, George Brown, gave an additional acre to be used if needed. A large tabernacle with permanent fixtures replaced the brush arbor and was used for funerals until 1938 or 1939, when it was severely damaged by a storm. Free-will donations have maintained the cemetery since 1951. A “First Sunday in June Singing” which Amity Baptist Church originated in 1897 now serves as an annual memorial day and homecoming. By 1978 Amity Cemetery has nearly 400 graves

  Captain James Cunningham 1855

From Comanche, take SH 16 south about 10 miles, then go east on FM 1416 about 1/2 mile to Newburg Cemetery.
Texas Ranger Captain James Cunningham Born in Alabama, settled in Comanche County, 1855. Commander of Texas Ranger Company stationed in Comanche County, 1858. Helped bring law and order to county–drove out renegades and wild Indians. Cunningham commanded men from Comanche County in Dove Creek Battle, Jan. 8, 1864 (500 white men against 1,000 Indians). His sons became sheriffs in Comanche, Mills and Taylor counties. Recorded – 1967

Central Christian Church of Comanche

31 54.044′ N 98 32.236′ W
In 1855, Dr. G. W. Montgomery came to Comanche from Mississippi. He
built a log cabin near his home, holding religious services there. In the late 1860s and 1870s the building was used for both a church and a school. It is believed that most members of this church transferred their membership to the Central Christian Church of Comanche after Dr. Montgomery’s death. Organized in 1894 by a visiting evangelist and 31 charter members, the Central Christian Church of Comanche shared services with the Presbyterians. The Christian church’s first pastor was Addison Clark, later president of Texas Christian University. In 1896, the congregation purchased a badly damaged Baptist church building for $475. By 1904 the church had moved into a new building. Several beloved pastors have served the congregation, including ministerial students. When the church was without a pastor, members served as lay ministers. Church women, always active, helped to pay all financial debts on both church buildings, organized maintenance projects, and founded Christian womens’ assocations. The members of the Central Christian Church of Comanche continue a tradition of active worship and service to the community.

Comanche Chief

31 53.903′ N 98 36.314′ W

Army engineers laid out a military road in this area in 1850. By 1855 thirty to forty families had settled in the vicinity. Comanche County was created in 1856, and Comanche became the second county seat in 1859. Its citizens, who entertained dreams of greatness for their town, envisioned a newspaper. Geraldo Alonzo Beeman, an experienced newspaperman, obtained an idle printing press and became the first editor of “The Comanche Chief.” Its first issue published on August 21, 1873, the “Chief’s” main goals were to draw more settlers to the area and to lobby for the protection and improvement of the lives of Comanche residents. The paper was instrumental in securing a Texas Ranger force for the area and in promoting legislation for placing public school lands on the market. By 1873, after the last of the Comanche tribe in the area was relegated to a reservation in Oklahoma, the town began to grow. “The Comanche Chief” was influential in social and political life, from chronicling the daily events of the neighborhood to lobbying for proper representation in the state legislature. It found its way to other regions of the country, advertising the advantages of the Comanche area and attracting new settlers. Sixteen-year-old Robert Thomas Hill (1858-1941), later called the Father of Texas Geology, began working at the “Chief” with his brother Joe in 1874. The Hills became co-editors of the paper and operated it together until Robert went to Cornell University in 1882. Other newspapers were organized and discontinued over the decades, but “The Comanche Chief” thrived; it was sold to the Wilkerson family in 1925. One hundred and forty-two years old at the dawn of the 21st century, “The Comanche Chief” is recognized as the oldest business in Comanche County.

Comanche County Historical Marker

31 53.862′ N 98 36.851′ W

First settled in 1854 by five families, the county, created and organized 1856, was named for Comanche Indians, Lords of Texas frontier, who were losing hunting grounds to settlers. The t county seat was Cora. Comanche has been county seat since July 18, 1859. Indians harassed settlers, stealing cattle and horses, and keeping farmers out of fields. Food from neighboring Bell County kept people here from starvation in 1861. By 1879 a stage line crossed county; the Texas Central Railroad came through in 1880; Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad in 1890. An oil boom occurred in 1918-1920. Agriculture has long been a major industry (1966) 1936 Text: Created January 25, 1856. Organized May 17, 1856. Named for the Comanche Indians, nomads of the Plains; successful hunters, superb horsemen, and courageous warriors; the terror of Texas frontier settlers, who dispossessed them of their hunting grounds. County Seat Troy (changed to Cora), 1856; Comanche, since July 18, 1859.

Comanche National Bank

31 53.837′ N 98 36.199′ W

The Comanche National Bank The Comanche National Bank was organized in December 1889 with beginning capital of $50,000. The primary organizer was John B. Chilton, who met with other local businessmen in his second-floor downtown living quarters to establish the bank and elect a board of directors. The first elected officers were J.B. Chilton, President; T.J. Holmsley, Vice President; W.B. Cunningham, Cashier; and R.V. Neely, Assistant Cashier. Opened to the public in March 1890, the Comanche National Bank saw immediate success, as Comanche was poised for economic growth by the early 1890s. The railroad arrived in 1891, the same year in which the county constructed a new courthouse. Also in 1891, the bank directors purchased the lot on the southwest corner of the courthouse square and constructed a building that served the bank’s operations until 1969. T.J. Holmsley followed J.B. Chilton as bank president from 1891 until 1901. Chilton returned and served for the next 32 years, until his death in 1933. William C. Chilton then became president and served until retiring in 1959. With a change in control, Dr. J.C. Terrell was elected chairman of the bank’s board of directors in 1959. He served until his death in 1980. During his tenure, presidents Jack W. Moore, from 1960 to 1972, and Reginald K. Waggoner, from 1973 to 1979, continued to provide strong leadership that helped the financial institution weather economic downturns and prosper during periods of growth. Located at this site since 1987, Comanche National Bank continues to serve the community as a significant part of Comanche’s business history.

First Comanche County Courthouse

31 53.854′ N 98 36.287′ W

  General Ashbel Smith

101 West Central Avenue, Comanche TX 76442

Born in Connecticut. Graduated at 19 from Yale. Studied medicine in France, where friends were Revolutionary War hero Lafayette and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. As a North Carolina doctor he later took interest in politics and government.Came to Texas 1837. Was made Surgeon-General of Army. As headright (settler’s land bounty) and pay for army service, obtained in 1839 Comanche County tract on South Leon River, near this site.Was sent to England and France, 1842, as Texas charge d’affaires. In Cabinet of President Anson Jones, was last Secretary of State of Republic of Texas.Served in U.S. Army in Mexican War. As member of Texas Legislature, 1855-1857, worked in behalf of schools and railroads.Won Civil War citations for bravery. Commanded 2nd Texas Infantry. Built defenses and helped to save Texas Coast from Federal invasion. In 1865, at the end of the war, served as one of commissioners empowered to negotiate peace terms for Texas. Was elected to Legislature in 1865 and in 1877. Serving as first chairman of Board of Regents of University of Texas, set ideals of scholarship.

Old Corn Trail

US 377 at the Texas SH 36 west of downtown Comanche

Surveyed in 1850 by Army engineers, this was the first wagon road to penetrate this area. Point of origin was San Antonio, site of U.S. Army District Headquarters after the annexation of Texas in 1846. This segment of road extended from Fort Gates (in Coryell County) to Fort Griffin (Shackelford County) and Fort Belknap (Young County). Although used for communications and troop movements, most common traffic was in supplies–especially feed for Army horses and mules. Hence the name “Corn Trail.” Presence of the road and its traffic from fort to fort encouraged settlement. In 1851 John A. and J. M. McGuire moved to a site near here on Indian Creek. James H. Neel settled on Resley’s Creek in 1852; in 1854 James Mercer and Capt. Frank Collier pitched tents on Mercer Creek, soon to be joined by their families and the Holmsleys and Tuggles. Collier put up first log house; Holmsley plowed the first furrow. By Christmas of 1855,  there were enough citizens here to petition for a county, and Comanche County was created by the Texas Legislature Jan. 25, 1856. The Corn Trail was a main civilian thoroughfare, and continued to serve its original purpose as a route for frontier troops and supplies. (1967)

  Robert Thomas Hill

SW corner of Courthouse Square, Comanche
Robert Thomas Hill began life on August 11, 1858, in the aristocratic comforts of his parents’ Nashville, Tennessee, home. His family, however, suffered tragic losses during the Civil War and by 1864 young Robert was an orphan living in his grandmother’s Nashville home. He left Nashville in 1874 for Comanche County, Texas, to join his brother, Joe, as an employee of a local newspaper known as the “Comanche Chief.” Hill’s interest in the area’s geology inspired him in 1882 to enter Cornell University where he graduated with honors in geology in 1887. In 1888 he became assistant professor of geology at the University of Texas. He participated in the State Geological Survey and identified and named the Balcones Escarpment. In 1891 Hill became president of the prestigious Cosmos Club, a society of the nation’s most distinguished scientists. In the 1890s and early 1900s Hill studied the aquifers of Texas, New Mexico, and the Indian territory, and explored the geology of the trans-Pecos, Southwest U.S., West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. Hill’s publications represent one of the most distinguished geological studies produced by one individual. He died on July 28, 1941. He was cremated and his ashes scattered over Round Mountain, a butte near Comanche. (1995)

Community of Comyn-Theney

32 04.297′ N 98 28.290′ W

Directions: Start at the intersection of CR-442 and FM-1946. The marker is on the west side of the intersection.

During the rapid settlement of this area following the removal of the Indian threat, about 1875, a rural community developed here. Besides a few homes and a school, it had a trading post-store, operated by W. F. Matheney. His name, shortened to “Theney” for business purposes also came to designate the town. Among the pioneer families was that of B. F. Barnes, at nearby Jones Crossing, 1876. His great-grandson Ben Barnes, Lt. Gov. of Texas, was reared in Comyn-Theney. During 1881 the Texas Central Railroad was built through here and a depot established. M. T. Comyn, a railroad official, succeeded in having the town and depot named for him, but the school remained Theney. Soon the settlement could boast several general stores, a post office, drug store, blacksmith shop, lumber yard, cotton gin, cafe, barber shop, and a hall for the Woodmen of the World. In 1918, when Humble Pipeline Company began building a tank farm here to store oil from new West Texas fields, a tent city of several hundred sprang up. But when construction ceased in 1919, the townspeople moved away. Theney Consolidated School, formed in 1924, soon built a new plant and became an outstanding high school. Declining attendance caused it to close, 1952. (1969)

Historical Markers in De Leon, Texas

  Cyrus Campbell

32 06.608′ N 98 32.715′ W
October 11, 1810 – September 12, 1883 A blacksmith by trade, Cyrus Campbell migrated to Texas in 1828. He performed a number of jobs for the Republic of Texas, including the making of leg irons for Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna after his capture at San Jacinto in 1836. Married twice, Campbell moved to De Leon in 1883 and was active in the Methodist Church. According to tradition, he chose the site for the De Leon Cemetery. His was the first grave here.

Francis Marie Sparks Brown

(October 17, 1849 – January 1, 1934) Frances Marie Sparks, a native of North Carolina and daughter of Daniel and Kezziah Sparks, married Thomas Brown in 1865. They lived in Grayson County, Texas, before moving to a 410-acre farm near here about 1876. During the 1880s and 1890s Frances served as a midwife and lay doctor for families in the area. Known as “Aunt Fanny” she often rode 6-8 miles by horseback at night to deliver a baby. Despite her husband’s death in 1912 Frances skillfully managed her farm and reared 12 children while continuing to nurse many of her neighbors back to health. (1993)

  Peanut Company

303 N. Texas St. De Leon, Texas
Cotton was the major cash crop for farmers in Comanche County until the early 20th Century. The combined effects of disastrous weather conditions in 1908-09, a national economic downturn, and a major infestation of the Mexican boll weevil in 1914 caused many Comanche County farmers to abandon their decades-long reliance on cotton and turn to the more lucrative prospect of peanut farming. Because shipping peanuts to Fort Worth for processing reduced local farmers’ profits, N. T. Haskins organized the De Leon Peanut Company in 1912. Its first board of directors included R. W. Higginbotham, W. H. Williams, B. T. Higginbotham, Jr., J. B. Wilson, A. E. Hampton, and W. E. Lowe. By 1914, peanuts were the leading cash crop in the county, and the company enlarged its operations to meet growing demand. A six-story main building was completed in 1917; soon the plant was processing up to ten railroad carloads of peanuts per day. The business survived an economic crisis in the 1920s and remained a strong force in the local community, which has been called “The Peanut Capital of the World.” Acquired by a national company in 1967, the De Leon Peanut Company has played a vital role in Comanche County history. (1994)

Texas Central Railway

302 N. Texas St. De Leon, Texas

Railroad construction in Texas, interrupted by the Civil War and by the national economic depression of the early 1870s, began a period of recovery in the late 1870s and early 1880s. Chartered on May 31, 1879, the Texas Central Railway was owned by the Houston & Texas Central Railway and was in competition with the Texas Pacific to build a line westward through North Central Texas. Extending from Ross Station near Waco in 1879, the Texas Central reached the Erath-Comanche County line in 1880. The Texas Central laid out the town of De Leon on April 10, 1881, and railroad official Robert M. Elgin conducted the sale of town lots from the back of a flatcar on July 7. Although the initial sale of lots was slow, the town soon developed and attracted new settlers from the Southeastern United States. Railroad offices, shops, and a roundhouse were built here, and De Leon became the area’s primary shipping point for cotton and, later, peanuts and other products. Acquired by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (Katy) Railroad in 1910, the line continued to operate until 1967, when local backers purchased part of the line and continued to provide shipping service to customers along The Peanut Line connecting Dublin, De Leon, and Gorman. (1994)


Choctaw Robinson Tree

31 53.129′ N 98 20.096′ W

The Rev. William Robinson (1809-98), pioneer Baptist missionary, was born in North Carolina and came to Texas in 1848. He organized and served as pastor to churches in Rusk, Johnson, Erath and Comanche counties. At the same time, he supported his large family by farming. He was called “Choctaw Bill” because a band of Choctaw Indians once complained about his long sermons. The Rev. Mr. Robinson often preached for hours beneath this tree, near a rough frontier town. While he spoke, he rested his gun in the fork of the tree. His grave is located in nearby Baggett Cemetery.

Cora

31 50.770′ N 98 24.238′ W

Founded 1854, as Troy. Later renamed in honor of a Miss Beeman of Bell County. In 1856 organization of Comanche County–then extending farther south and east than today’s boundaries–Cora became county seat. A log cabin residence in Cora was the first Comanche County courthouse, serving until the county seat was relocated in 1859 in new town of Comanche. That first courthouse and all the other buildings are gone from site of Old Cora. Only a cemetery–the oldest in Comanche County–remains. Thus Cora is an example of the many early, important towns no longer existent in Texas. In the 254 counties of Texas, there have been 126 cases of redesignation of county seats. (Two counties have had five county seats each.) Boundary changes (as in Comanche County), shifts in travel routes (as when railroads were built), changes from agrarian to industrial economy have caused counties to move their county seats to new locations. Old courthouses have found later usefulness as ranch headquarters, municipal buildings, or private homes. The first log cabin courthouse of Comanche County reverted to use as a residence, but later was restored and used–as are many former courthouses–as part of a museum.

The Penny Grave

Not much is known about this mysterious spot, but if you live in the surrounding area of Comanche Country, more than likely you’ve heard the legend of the Penny Grave.

Located off of FM 1477, you can check this one out for yourself at all times of the year. A marker labeled with “grave of little girl, age 3, 1870s” can be found with a few others, but more than likely you will find gifts fit for a toddler girl laid out on top of these markers.

Many stories can be speculated as to how this grave marker came about. One is that a family was traveling west when their daughter fell off the back and died instantly from head injuries. Another says that cause of death was that the child died from illness. The family had decided to bury their daughter there either way. However, this was a too common scenario for this time period. Typically, when families were in travel as this one was, the best they could do was bury the child and mark the grave with a cross made of sticks or stones.

The story, interesting enough, continues. Why would this grave be remembered if this was a too common thing? It’s apparently because the family took refuge for the night nearby in a cabin owned by some locals. When the mother of the child expressed concern for no one watching over her grave, the lady in charge promised to look over it. Whether this is true, who knows? However, it makes for an extremely touching story that holds true to what still stands today.

So take the time to check it out! Make a date of it or a exploration with siblings. See what others have left, and maybe leave something yourself! Any money that is left is collected and donated to the local fire station-so don’t worry about that.

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