More Comanche County History

Here is more Comanche County History for your reading pleasure…

By: Brandon Mangan

Chief On Comanche Square 2019

Most who come upon it know that the name Comanche comes from the tribe of natives who once occupied the land, although few would be able to tell you just where the name Comanche comes from. In a town full of so many friendly faces it comes to be a bit ironic that the name comes from the Ute tribes word “kimantsi”, which translates to “enemy” or “stranger” (the former word being what the Comanches were to the Ute’s for many years). The Comanche tribe called themselves “numinu”, their word for people.

Today the residents of Comanche County work hard to preserve their history, and it shows. This article will serve as a virtual tour, showcasing a handful of the counties’ many historical markers, as well as a few of its more interesting historical details.

It would be hard to discuss the history of the county without first mentioning the counties’ robust museum.

Comanche County Museum

This museum boasts over 30,000 square feet of history, featuring artifacts ranging back over 150 years. The staff at the museum has worked tirelessly to categorize the areas rich history, with rooms dedicated to historical periods, military heroes, and the communities that makeup the county.

Entrance of Comanche County Museum

As soon as you walk through the front entrance there are relics to examine, from blacksmithing tools and farm implements to an old Model T. This front open-air addition also features a Barber Shop scene before leading into a large and air-conditioned (important in the Texas heat) main building.

Central Room of Comanche County Museum

Here you will find a giftshop, as well as a welcoming and informative staff. It quickly becomes apparent how much work has been put into making this counties history more accessible. This is a place to be experienced, and worth an article on its own. In the photo above you can see the massive flint display, featuring arrowheads of all shapes and sizes, spearheads, atlatl projectiles and myriad native tools (some you can even touch!). 

John Wesley Hardin

There’s a room dedicated to the scene of the infamous John Wesley Hardin and his murder of Brown County Deputy John Webb (of which there’s an article about on this site). There are also books about the events surrounding the murder, as well as a wall of photos and paintings of the men involved. The staircase from the courthouse where the case was heard is also found in the museum. Outside you’ll find the base of the oak tree his brother and kin were hanged from in the aftermath of the shooting.

You’ll also find dioramas of the Jack Wright Saloon and a Native American campsite. There’s a room dedicated to saluting our veterans, with uniforms from bygone eras as well as weapons and stories of the veterans that called Comanche County home. There’s a room featuring vintage doll houses, as well as many rooms explaining the histories of the many communities in the area. Geodes and petrified wood pair with an exhibit detailing the life of famed geologist Robert T. Hill.

There are multiple attractions on the grounds of the museum, including an explorable 19th century log and stone cabin. Plans are in the works for an outside exhibit showcasing a few of the wooden bridges that once served the county, along with a butterfly garden. With so much to explore you owe it to yourself to visit this slice of Texas history, guaranteed that when you do, you’ll find much to experience and the friendliest of people. The museum is free to visit but I’d encourage you to buy a memento and maybe leave a donation, that way we can keep the history alive. For more information visit https://www.comanchecountytxmuseum.com/.

The Fleming Oak, Comanche Square 2019

Heading back into town from the museum you’ll find the city square. The square is steeped in Texas history. You’ll find nearly a dozen historical markers, the oldest log-cabin courthouse in Texas, a guided audio tour, as well as memorials to veterans of law enforcement and war. The oak in the photo above is the Fleming Oak, a storied tree that’s been preserved through care and sheer shotgun stubbornness.

Old Cora Courthouse

In the areas adjacent to the new and old courthouse you’ll find a guide to the many attractions in the city, as well as many shops and highly regarded restaurants. Many of these establishments rest in buildings that have served the community for over a century, with many stories to be told. It’s a perfect place to spend an afternoon and evening.

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Terrill Antique Car Museum

The Terrill Antique Car Museum is located at 500 North Texas Street in De Leon, Texas. The museum opened in 2004, however, the owners, Feltz Terrill and his son have been restoring old cars together since the late 1970s. When they couldn’t find a part they needed for one of their cars, they headed to their machine shop and made it themselves. While Feltz Terrill passed away in 2017, his son Feltz Jr. has kept the legacy alive by maintaining the museum as well as the Terrill Machine Shop which fabricates parts for antique automobiles for customers around the world including fuel pumps for Buicks, Packards, Pontiacs, and other old non-mainstream collectible cars. With that being said, the Terrill Antique Car Museum specializes in Pre-WWII cars as well as “oddball stuff” as Feltz Jr. likes to call it. For example, some of the cars in their collection include a one of a kind, Coffin Steam Carriage, Crow-Elkhart Cloverleaf, REO Speedwagon 3/4 ton truck,  a 1927 Pierce Arrow touring car, a 1931 Studebaker, Series 54, Six Cylinder Regal Tourer, a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster, a rare 1901 Coffin steam car, created by Howard Earle Coffin which has spent 34 years in the Henry Ford Automobile Museum until now, and many more pieces. The museum is even listed on the North Texas Car Museum Trail which is composed of must-see stops for car enthusiasts in North Texas. Therefore, if you are a car connoisseur or are looking for something fun to do with your family then stop on by the Terrill Antique Car Museum in De Leon, Texas. You can also visit their FaceBook Page for more information. Also, be sure to check out what else Comanche County has to offer.

A Little White House Bed and Breakfast

Alittlewhitehouse is a bed and breakfast located at 916 E Reynosa Ave. in De Leon, Texas. It is currently owned by Carrie Morris. The house was originally built in the 1930s by Mr. and Mrs.Sloan who later sold the house to Robert and Faye Howard, Carrie’s grandparents,  in 1967. The house has remained in the family since then but has been renovated and fully restored in the last few years to give it an antique French country vibe. It has three main bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, a laundry room, two sitting porches, and is fully furnished. Furthermore, Alittlewhitehouse provides complimentary bicycles for residents to use in order to explore downtown De Leon and enjoy the laid-back small-town lifestyle. Additionally, it has a pack and play for guest’s children upon request.

Alittlewhitehouse can comfortably sleep six people and more sleeping accommodations can be provided if needed. The cost to stay per night is $165.00 or $185.00 including breakfast. There is a two-night minimum stay on holidays and cancellations can be made up to seven days before your reservation for a full refund. With that being said, Carrie invites you to “come on down and pop open the screen door, enjoy the porch, and drink lots of ice tea while you are here. That’s how her granny liked it!” To make reservations call (254) 979-4670.