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Young County History 1858

Young County History Written in 1858

Young County.  This is the extreme north-western county in the State, and lies about 350 miles north-west of Austin.

It was formed by the legislature of 1856-7, out of Cook county [sic]. Fort Belknap and the Indian reservation are within its limits. It is a well watered and timbered county, and a desirable place to live. Following the beaten track from Fort Graham, in Hill county, to Fort Belknap, you will, after a tedious journey through the " Cross Timbers," reach a range of ragged, but open, hills, with the Brazos meandering through the narrow valley. Fort Belknap may be seen in the distance : it is a situation of considerable importance, and has a spacious magazine, comfortable quarters for the troops, and buildings for the officers. Below the fort is a fine spring, and a well of considerable depth, affording abundance of good water. South of the fort, at the distance of half a mile, is the county-seat of Young. In the neighborhood is a bed of bituminous coal, of a superior quality, which, at some future day, will be a valuable product. Following the course of the river about three miles up stream, we find, on the west side, the mouth of Post-oak Creek, with farms in close neighborhood: the creek is about eight or ten miles long, and has a body of land about twelve miles in width, covered with post-oak. On the east side of the river are the Belknap Springs, affording plenty of water for ordinary purposes. Pursuing the river still higher up, we find the mouth of Elm Creek : fertile lands border its banks, which are well timbered : there are half-a-dozen families settled on this creek. A little distance higher up is the mouth of California Creek: here is a beautiful valley of land ; only one settler resides in the valley. Six miles further up the Brazos brings the traveler to Boggy Creek: it is of considerable length, fertile soil, and inexhaustible grazing. There are no settlers in this valley. On an elevated point, on the east side of the river, is another of the famous springs of Young county : here is the highest settlement on the river. Taking a northerly course, you ascend the dividing ridge between the head-waters of the Trinity and the valley of the Brazos. From this elevated plateau, the most romantic and enchanting scenery is spread out before the vision : on the one side are seen the numerous little branches of the Trinity, dotted with timber, and, on the other, the vast wilderness of the Brazos valley, stretching far away upon the sight: in other directions, there appears to be no visible terminus of prairie. Here the deer and the antelope freely range, seldom disturbed by the rifles of the white, or the arrows of the red man. The valley of the Brazos, above Fort Belknap, averages between five and six miles wide. It has much good land and timber, sufficient for small farmers and stock-raisers. The highest point of post-oak timber lies about thirty miles above Fort Belknap, where there are many large groves. Here the banks of the Brazos are low : the bed of the river is wide and shallow, and the water becomes quite salt as you ascend. On the high prairie bordering the valley, there is an abundance of mezquit [sic] timber, and fine grazing ; but it is rather sparingly watered. South and east of Belknap, settlements are sprinkled over the country, at short distances. Salt Creek, running into the Brazos from the east side, and Rock Creek, from the west side, have much post-oak timber on their borders, which afford a plentiful supply of mast for hogs. On Salt Creek there is a good supply of building timber. Following a trail from Fort Belknap, about twelve miles, in a south-eastern direction, over rugged hills, you come to the villages of the Wacos and Tonkaways, upon the "Indian Reservation" at the distance of a mile is the large trading-house of Charles Barnard, and the residence of the Indian agent. Six miles further, on a beautiful eminence in the bend of the Brazos, you come to the villages of the Delawares, Caddoes, and Shawnees. The Clear Fork of the Brazos is an important stream : its waters run the whole year, and, unlike the Brazos, are sweet to the taste. The valley is already settled as high up as Camp Cooper, and emigrants are coming in daily.

During the year 1856, about 2500 acres of land were under cultivation, in this county. There are several thousand head of stock in the county. The market is good, but limited, at present, to Fort Belknap and Camp Cooper : beeves are worth $13 per head ; flour $6 to $8 per cwt.; common laborers $20 per month, and scarce : teams find constant employment, at good rates.

There is every reason to believe that this county abounds in gypsum, coal, iron, and many other minerals, as large lumps of coal, and metallic ores, have been found in the beds of all the streams, and in sinking wells. - Braman's information about Texas, 1858