Palo Pinto History 1922
Palo Pinto History Written in 1922
This county has always been a center for cattlemen, its abundant water supply and its rugged surface affording excellent winter quarters for live stock. Many of the old-time cattle kings of Texashad their headquarters at different times in Palo Pinto County. In the wave of migration that crossed North Texasduring the early '50s settlement went beyond Parker into this county, and as a result of the movement an act of Legislature on August 27, 1856, created a separate county territory. The act directed that the chief justice of Bosque County, from a portion of which and from Navarro County the territory was taken. should organize the local government. The county was organized April 27, 1857. The act creating the county directed the county officers to select the county seat and lay off a town, and "the county site shall be called Golconda." That name, so far as can be ascertained, was never confirmed and had no place in the county's geography. In 1858 the Legislature donated 320 acres of public land for county site purposes, and the county seat acquired the name Palo Pinto. Such settlers as occupied the county during the '50s were in such exposed position with reference to the hostile Indians that the county was practically depopulated in the years between 1860 and 1870. The Texas Almanac for 1867 said briefly that the county was "principally devoted to stock raising. though Indians keep the inhabitants in constant alarm." Permanent progress began in the '70s, when some of the land was cultivated to wheat and cotton, and the limits of the cattle range were first intruded.
A report on the county seat for 1882 enumerates the stock interests, in round numbers, as 28,000 cattle, 5,000 horses and mules, 6,000 sheep. and about 6.000 hogs. From the same report other factors in the county's economic condition were described as follows : "The Texas & Pacific Railroad, which reached the county in 1880. runs through its southern part, and has three stations, Sparta. Strawn and Gordon, with respectively 50,200 and 350 inhabitants. Palo Pinto, the county seat, is beautifully located on Little Eagle Creek. and has about four hundred inhabitants. In this county are located a number of mineral wells, around which a town of about two thousand inhabitants. known as Mineral Wells. has grown up within the last two or three years. The town is surrounded by mountains and the scenery is picturesque. Coal of good quality has been discovered in the county, and two mines have been opened, the yield from which is about ninety tons per day."
During the decade of the '70s the one principal village, Palo Pinto. had aspirations to become a station on the Texas & Pacific Railroad. In 1876 the business directory of the town shows six dry goods stores, several saloons, two blacksmith shops, one wood shop, six lawyers, five physicians, two schools, and a Masonic Hall. The railroad never came to Palo Pinto, and its chief distinction is yet as the seat of county government. Outside of Palo Pinto the only postoffice in 1876 was Grand Ranche, a noted headquarters for cattlemen, located in the south part of the county, on Palo Pinto Creek, about two miles east of present town of Santo.
In 1860 Palo Pinto County had a population of 1,524. Conditions were such that no separate enumeration was made in the county at the census of 1870. In 1880 the population was 5,885 ; in 1890, 8,230 : in 1900, 12,291 ; in 1910, 19,506; in 1920, 23,421. In 1870 the assessed values of taxable property was $275,548; in 1882, $1,708,475; in 1903 $3,852,326; in 1913, $10,865,370; in 1920, $14,748,820. Palo Pinto has an area of 613,120 acres, and the last Federal census reported 472,842 acres occupied as farms or ranches, with about 105,000 acres in "improved land." There were enumerated 1,921 farms in 1910, as compared with 1,271 in 1900. Live stock interests are : Cattle, 30,053 ; horses and mules, 6,500; hogs, 1,907; goats, 1,823. In 1909, 31,655 acres were planted to cotton, 7,918 acres in corn, 4,253 acres in hay and forage crops. and a smaller acreage in kaffir corn and milo maize and in oats. Considerable attention is paid to fruit growing in the county, and the last census enumerated about 67,000 orchard fruit trees, about 13,000 grape vines, and over 14,000 pecan trees. The mineral resources of the county have for many years been a valuable asset. Coal is mined at Thurber, Strawn, Lyra and Mingus in the southern part of the county, and a natural gas field has been developed beginning two miles south of Mineral Wells and extending to the town of Brazos. Other gas fields have been found in various parts of the county but have not been developed commercially. Probably the greatest single factor in drawing wealth to the county are the famous mineral waters at Mineral Wells, which has attained the reputation of being one of the most noted and popular health resorts in the Southwest. There are more than fifty mineral wells, the chief city of the county has developed around them, besides the thousands of people who reside temporarily at Mineral Wells because of its health and resort advantages, a large industry has been built up in the shipping of the waters over many states. Mineral Wells in 1890 had a population of 577; in 1900, 2,048; in 1910, 3,950; and in 1920, 9,018.
About the year 1891 the Weatherford, Mineral Wells & Northwestern was constructed to Mineral Wells, thus placing that health resort within easy communication with the main railway system of Texasand the permanent growth of the city dated from that event. Within the present decade what is known as the Gulf, Texas & Western Railroad has been constructed south from Jacksboro to a connection with the Mineral Wells & Northwestern at Salesville. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.