Shackelford County
Historical Markers

Compiled for this website by Duston Brooks 2000

 


There are over 11,000 historical markers in Texas, which describe historical events, places, buildings, persons, communities, etc.  There are 29 historical markers in the county.  The historical marker program is operated by the Texas Historical Commission, assisted by local historical commissions. Shackelford County Historical markers help to preserve and promote Texas history.  If anyone is interested in applying for a historical marker to be placed in Shackelford County or any other county in Texas, please contact the Texas Historical Commission to obtain an application. Below is an alphabetical list of all the historical markers currently in Shackelford County, along with the marker text and the location.


 

BUD MATTHEWS SWITCH OF THE TEXAS-CENTRAL RAILWAY

In 1900, the Texas-Central Railway extended a line northwest of Albany across this portion of Rose Ella (Matthews) Conrad's cattle ranch.  Ella and her brother, John A. "Bud" Matthews, for whom this site is named, promptly constructed cattle pens and a loading chute at this location.  Surrounding ranchers were soon shipping their cattle from this switch to markets in Fort Worth.  As many as 105,000 head of cattle were shipped annually until the railroad ceased operations in 1967.  Since that year, local ranchers have continued to load cattle onto trucks from this site.  (1993)

(Marker located 14 miles west of Albany on US Highway 180)


BUTTERFIELD OVERLAND MAIL

The trail of the Butterfield Overland Mail passed this point in 1858.   (Lee's Legion Chapter DAR 1958)

(Limestone slab marker located 14 miles west of Albany on US Highway 180 near Bud Matthews Switch)


CITY OF ALBANY

Chosen as the county seat of Shackelford in 1874, Albany had a 43-acre townsite donated by Sheriff Henry C. Jacobs.  County clerk W. R. Cruger named city for his old home, Albany, GA.  A wooden picket courthouse was erected.  The post office opened August 1, 1876.  By late 1877, there were 16 buildings --- homes, hotels, saloons, a blacksmith shop.  Merchants were T. E. Jackson and firm of Woody and Hatcher.  Physicians W. T. Baird and W. M. Powell and lawyer A. A. Clarke located here.  D. H. Meyer and Edgar Rye began (1879) publishing "Albany Tomahawk". Already on the Western Cattle Trail, the city expanded as a frontier shipping point when the Houston & Texas Central Railroad built a terminus here in 1881.  By 1882, a church building had been erected.  Music lovers organized a cornet band. In 1883, an opera hall opened, and a permanent courthouse of native stone was built. Succeeding D. R. Britt as the school principal, W. S. Dalrymple founded an adult study club, "The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle".  Albany had an academy, and then a college in 1898 - 1915.  Local activities include ranching, petroleum production, small farming, and annual staging of the historical drama, "The Fort Griffin Fandangle".  (1975)

(Marker located in downtown Albany at First National Bank Park on Main Street)


COOK RANCH OIL FIELD

William Ivy Cook (1857 - 1923) and his wife Matilda moved to this county in 1885. With brother-in-law, J. H. Nail, Cook purchased a 27.75 section ranch.  The Cooks bought out Nail in 1898, and have owned the ranch ever since.  During the 1918 Breckenridge and Ranger oil booms, Cook sold leases but prophesied he could drink from his hat all of the oil under his land.  In 1925, his widow leased all open acreage to Charles Roeser, Tol Pendleton, and Marshall R. Yount, of Roeser & Pendleton, Inc.  This firm's second well in 1926 struck oil at 1241 feet and flowed at 1000 barrells a day.  This prolific flow at such a shallow depth has been one of Cook Ranch Field's remarkable features. Commercial low pressure gas injection was started on the ranch in 1927 and helped elevate recovery standards internationally. With the oil wealth, Mrs. Cook founded the W. I. Cook Memorial Hospital in Fort Worth in 1929. Cook Ranch Field enriched Albany and its trade area by expanding petroleum-related business activities.  Of the 1087 wells drilled on the ranch, 825 yielded oil and four gas. Production has now exceeded thirty million barrells.  Marshall R. Young remains owner of the oil firm.  (1976)

(Marker located in western Albany in City Park at the intersection of US Highways 180 and 283)


COTTLE NO. 1, FIRST GAS WELL IN SHACKELFORD COUNTY

The appearance in 1908 of oil and gas in water wells in this vicinity prompted the Texas Company (later Texaco, Inc.) in June of 1909 to begin leasing large tracts of land.  After a surface geological survey, a wooden derrick complete with cable tools and steam engine was erected by contractor F. J. Winston on a prospective location on the Jim Cottle Ranch and on September 23, 1909, drilling operations began.  Equipment breakdowns were frequent and sometimes lengthy, but finally, on November 9, 1910, after 13 months of drilling, the Cottle No. 1 struck natural gas at a depth of 2660 feet.  This discovery opened the Moran Field, and was the first commercial gas well completed in this vast West Texas area.  In the spring of 1911, gas was piped to Moran for residential and business use.  Within two years (in 1913) the cities of Albany, Cisco, and Abilene were supplied for the first time with natural gas.  By October 1913, with five producing gas wells, the Moran Field won recognition as one of the most important sources of fossil fuels in Texas.  Although the Cottle No. 1 was plugged years ago, the Moran Field continues to be an economic mainstay in this area.  (1974) 

(Marker located in Moran at the intersection of TX State Highway 6 and Farm to Market Road 576)  


FAMILY FORTS

Few in number and with little protection from the military but refusing to abandon their country, certain families of courageous and determined people on the Texas frontier during the Civil War gathered together in hastily constructed stockades and held out against the threats of hostile Indians and renegade whites.  Known as "forting up", this plan was encouraged by the military for this part of the state.  Most of the men age 18 to 45 were away in the Confederate service and those age 17 and over 45 were subject to periodic militia duty for frontier protection.  Family forts gave settlers a way to protect stock, farms, and provide some schooling for their children.  The best known family fort in this sector was Fort Davis, located 8 miles east of Fort Griffin on the bank of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in Stephens County, where some 120 people lived during the last year of the Civil War. Named for Confederate president Jefferson Davis, it was laid off in lots.  Log houses with dirt roofs, mud in cracks, dirt floors, were connected by pickets driven into the ground.  A blockhouse was used by women and children during raids.  There were no luxuries, little food, and all clothes, soap, soda, and candles were made.  The nearest supplies were 100 miles away, a doctor 65 miles.  Yet, there were dances, candy pulls, weddings, "feasts", Sunday school, occasional sermon, and blue-backed spellers. Other family forts near were: Lynch and Green ranches and Mugginsville in Shackelford County; Blair's Fort and Allen's Ranch in Eastland County; Buffalo Springs in Clay County; Bragg's and Murray's in Young County; Picketville and Owl's Head in Stephens County.  Erected by the State of Texas (1963).

(Pink granite marker located at Fort Griffin State Park headquarters on Westward Drive 15 miles north of Albany off of US Highway 283)


FIRST PRODUCING OIL WELL IN WEST TEXAS

The Texas Company ---- J. E. Wild A-1 Survey 65, University Lands, Shackelford County, completed November 9, 1913.  Presented to the Texas Company by Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association at Albany Chamber of Commerce Commemoration Dinner on February 12, 1940.  (1940)

(Marker is a bronze plate attached to a miniature steel oil well derrick located in downtown Albany on the Shackelford County Courthouse Square)


FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF ALBANY

Oldest congregation in Northwest Texas Conference of Methodist Churches.  First church of any denomination founded in Shackelford County.  Organized in 1873 at ranch home (8 miles east) of J. C. Lynch (1828 - 1912), a later county judge after Shackelford County was organized in 1874.  At the request of Lynch, Rev. Levi Collins (1827 - 1912) came here from the Weatherford circuit to meet with pioneers of the Methodist faith.  The charter members were Peter, Mollie, and S. A. Gunsolus; Mr. and Mrs. Lynch; Elizabeth and Malinda McNutt.  The Reverend William Manly was the first regular minister.  By 1882, a small frame church had been erected on schoolhouse hill in Albany.  After its loss in an 1888 tornado, a second church was built on the same site (1889), but relocated in 1909 on Main Street.  In 1913, under leadership of the Reverend O. P. Clark (born 1881), a red brick building with a dome was erected at present site.  Its auditorium was resplendent with gas lights, but outside there were still hitching racks.  Razed in 1947, that building was replaced (1948) with present sanctuary and fellowship hall.  Educational Annex was constructed in 1957, to complete plant.  Membership in this church now numbers 334.  (1973)

(Marker located in Albany at intersection of N. Jacobs & N. 2nd Streets)


FORT GRIFFIN CIVIL JAIL

This structure was the jail used in the town of Fort Griffin located 15 miles north of here, near the United States Army Post of Fort Griffin, which defended the frontier from 1867 to 1881. During this period, lawlessness was common in the town.  Citizens built this thick-walled jail in 1878, although a conspicuous stone bears an earlier date.  Gamblers, trail drivers, buffalo hunters, and skinners were frequently held here, as many as 18 at one time.  Used as a cowshed after the 1880's, the jail was moved here in 1954 by W. G. Webb and the county commissioners.  (1974)

(Marker located at City Park in Albany on North Avenue and Railroad Street)


FORT GRIFFIN LODGE HALL

On site acquired August 18, 1877, for Fort Griffin Lodge No. 489, A. F. & A. M., chartered on December 14, 1878.  Stone was quarried nearby on Collins Creek.  Volunteers built hall. School, civic affairs, and church services of many denominations were held downstairs, the lodge upstairs.  In 1881, the community was dealt two blows.  The U. S. Army vacated Fort Griffin and the Texas Central Railroad line bypassed the town.  In 1886, the lodge moved to Throckmorton.  The school, held here until 1937, was consolidated with Albany in 1942. Structure is still used by clubs and for church services.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1973)

(Marker is a medallion & plate attached to the building and is located at site of Old Fort Griffin town 2 miles west of US Highway 283 on County Road 184, which is just past the Fort Griffin State Park entrance 16 miles north of Albany)


H.C. JACOBS HOUSE

First permanent home in Albany.  Built in 1875 of stone from nearby deposits by Henry Carter Jacobs (1842 - 1894), an organizer and the first sheriff of Shackelford County.  A Kentuckian, Civil War veteran, and surveyor, Jacobs platted town of Albany, donated courthouse and Presbyterian church sites, led in move for a railroad here.  He was a merchant, land developer and agent, published "Albany Sun", bred fine horses, and played in cornet band.  He married Mary Josephine Whately; they had five children.  He and his wife helped organize Presbyterian church.  Their pioneer home was restored in 1973.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1974) 

(Marker located on Jacobs Street in Albany)


JACKSON WAREHOUSE

T. E. Jackson, a prominent businessman from Fort Griffin (15 miles north), built this structure in the late 1870's as a warehouse for a general merchandise store.  For more than 100 years, it served the town of Albany as the site of various commercial businesses, including photography studios and a cafe.  The well-known department store Sanger Brothers owned the Jackson Warehouse from 1887 until 1906.  The Jackson Warehouse is important as a reminder of the commercial business that made Albany an important supply point for the West Texas cattle industry.  Texas Sesquicentennial (1986)

(Marker located at 322 S. Main Street in Albany)


LEDBETTER PICKET HOUSE

William Henry Ledbetter (1833 - 1884), a native of Georgia, came to Texas in 1858, and established a salt works on Hubbard Creek (8 miles southwest) in 1862.  Ledbetter withstood fierce Indian attacks before moving near Fort Griffin (15 miles north).  He was elected first county judge in 1875.  In the mid 1870's, Ledbetter built this picket house near the army post, using construction methods typical of this frontier region. It was moved here and restored by the City of Albany in 1953.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1962)

(Marker is a medallion and plate located at Webb Park on 112 Main Street in Albany)


LEDBETTER SALT WORKS

Located 8 miles southwest on the Salt Prong of Hubbard Creek.  Discovered in 1861 by trail drives.  W. H. Ledbetter began extensive development of deposits in 1862 with increased Civil War demand for salt.  A large furnace was built and kettles and materials for refining were brought from East Texas by wagon.  Salt in large quantities was furnished to Confederate troops west of the Mississippi, State Militia, and area ranches and towns. Smoking or salting were only ways to preserve meat.  When South levied a meat tithe, the salt was vital to cure bacon for the military.  Salt was a must for horses and mules used by cavalry, artillery, and supply wagons.  Hides were preserved with salt to make shoes and harnesses.  Rangers used it to treat rattlesnake bites and ailments.  Settlers came from a 200 mile radius for salt, taking it by saddlebag and wagon.  The frontier regiment Texas Cavalry guarded the works and roads from hostile Indians during the war.  Indian troubles continued after the war.  In 1867, nearby U. S. Fort Griffin was established and a "six-pounder" cannon was loaned to the works for defense.  Salt was produced until 1880.  A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy.  Erected by the State of Texas (1963)  

(Pink granite marker located on the Shackelford County Courthouse Square in downtown Albany)


MATTHEWS MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Constructed in 1898.  Remodeled in 1954 under the leadership of Watt Matthews.  Stone for floors was quarried and cut at Lueders, much of it laid by the men of the church.  Much of the stained glass was preserved from original church, but lunettes and round windows over organ cut and leaded here by Joe Blanton and Elmer Smith with help from others in the church. Building houses magnificent handmade pipe organ with 1,293 pipes, case designed by Joe Blanton.

(Marker is a medallion located at the corner of Jacobs and S. 2nd Streets in Albany)


MORAN

Pioneers came to this area as early as the 1860's.  During the Civil War (1861 - 1865), they built the temporary fortress settlement of Mugginsville on Deep Creek.  At one time, a branch of the Western Cattle Trail passed nearby.  Population increased after the arrival of the Texas Central Railroad in 1881.  The town of Moran was established by Swope Hull, who operated a grocery store at the Rail Crossing on Deep Creek, in 1883.  He was postmaster of the community's first post office, called "Hulltown", which opened August 29, 1883.  Hull bought 160 acres between Post Oak and Deep Creeks and platted a townsite in March of 1884.  Most of the property was bought by Bem Scott, who sold his interests in 1890 to M. D. Bray (1845 - 1926), a prominent local merchant and landowner.  The town's name was changed in 1890 to "Hicks" and in 1892 to "Moran" for Texas Central Railroad president John J. Moran.  By the 1890's, the community had a school and Baptist, Church of Christ, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Methodist congregations.  A newspaper was begun in 1895 and a bank in 1902.  Incorporated in 1919, Moran was a shipping point for drilling supplies during the oil and gas boom of 1910 - 1930.  Today the area's economy is based on farming, ranching, and oil and gas production. (1976) 

(Marker located at the intersection of TX State Highway 6 and Farm to Market Road 576 in Moran)


RUSSELL YOUNG GILBERT

In memory of Russel Young Gilbert, November 7, 1841 - October 30, 1870.  Served under General Sul Ross in Belknap Rangers, 1862 - 1866.  Government scout out of Fort Griffin 1867 - 1870.  Erected by his son, J. R. Gilbert (1954) 

(Gray subject marker is located at Fort Griffin State Park's Scenic Overlook off of the western entrance to the park from US Highway 283 15 miles north of Albany)


RYE-CAPERTON HOUSE

Built in 1874 and used as an office building, this structure was moved here in 1879 from Fort Griffin.  Owner Edgar Rye was a newspaper publisher, cartoonist, and held numerous elective offices.  Rye sold the building in 1896 to Anna F. Caperton, who modified its appearance in 1902 - 1906, and used it as a home.  Sold again in 1906, it was converted to apartments in the 1940's, and was restored as a single family dwelling in the 1990's. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1996)

(Marker is located at 225 South Walnut in Albany)


SHACKELFORD COUNTY

Formed from Bosque County - created February 1, 1858; Organized September 12, 1874. Named in honor of Dr. Jack Shackelford (1790 - 1857).  Captain of the "Red Rovers", a company from Alabama which became a unit of Fannin's command, one of the few spared by the Mexicans in the Massacre at Goliad.  Albany, the county seat.  (1936) 

(Pink 1936 Centennial highway marker located in the center of city park at the intersection of US Highways 180 & 283 in Albany)


SHACKELFORD COUNTY

First inhabited by Nomadic Indian tribes, Shackelford County was created in 1858 and named for Dr. John Shackelford (1790 - 1857).  The first permanent Anglo-American settlers in this area included J. C. Lynch (1828 - 1912), a native of Ireland who moved here in 1858; W. H. Ledbetter (1833 - 1884), who arrived in 1859 and later started the Ledbetter Salt Works; T. E. Jackson (b. 1820), a merchant who settled in the northern part of the county before 1860; and G. W. Greer (1812 - 1893), who operated a stage station on Hubbard Creek after 1861. During the Civil War (1861 - 1865), settlers took refuge at "family forts" such as Fort Mugginsville and Fort Hubbard.  They gained military protection from frontier perils when the U. S. Army established Fort Griffin in 1867.  Griffin, the lawless settlement that grew up around the fort, attracted buffalo hide hunters and cattlemen driving herds up the Western Cattle Trail.  Shackelford County was organized September 12, 1874, with Fort Griffin as temporary county seat.  Albany was chosen permanent county seat in November 1874.  The county's population increased sharply after the arrival of the Texas Central Railroad in 1881. Petroleum production generated an economic boom, 1910 - 1930.  Chief industries today are petroleum and ranching.  (1976)

(Marker located on the Shackelford County Courthouse Square in downtown Albany)


SHACKELFORD COUNTY COURTHOUSE

Built 1883 - 1884 from plans by J. E. Flanders of Dallas, architect for several other 1880's courthouses.  Edgar Rye of Albany was construction superintendent.  Kilted Scottish masons erected the walls of stone quarried a few miles southwest of town.  The foundations rest two feet deep on "natural concrete" (caliche).  Budgeted at $27,000, final cost was $49,433.75. Clock tower was added at public's request.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1962)

(Marker is a medallion and plate located on the Shackelford County Courthouse Square in downtown Albany)


SHACKELFORD COUNTY'S FIRST PERMANENT JAIL

Erected 1877 - 1878 by architects and builders Thomas & Woerner of Fort Worth.  Gerard B. Allen of St. Louis furnished ironwork.  Initials on many of the native limestone blocks show masons' claims to payment for work.  An early prisoner, John Selman, later killed notorious gunman John Wesley Hardin in El Paso. Superseded 1929 by a new jail, this became vault for archives (1940 - 1968) of playwright Robert Nail. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1962) 

(Marker is medallion and plate located on South 2nd Street in Albany)


SITE OF REYNOLDS PRESBYTERIAN ACADEMY

Founded on counsel of the Rev. French McAfee; named in honor of pioneer rancher, Barber Watkins Reynolds (d. 1882), the Reynolds Presbyterian Academy opened in 1898, with classes meeting in a vacant storehouse.  A Richardsonian Romanesque-style building was finished and occupied in 1899, and a dormitory added in 1907.  Dramas, lectures, and musicals drew patrons from a large region.  In 1909, the school became a college; closed about 1915.  Reynolds Presbyterian Orphanage used the plant in 1916 - 1923.  Site was sold and the fine masonry building razed in 1928.  (1974) 

(Marker located in Trinity Churchyard on Avenue B in Albany)


SMITH'S STATION

From 1858 until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, a station of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route was located here.  Despite a brief existence, it was an important stop of the early stage line that reached from Missouri to California.  Stages made the trip in under 25 days, a marked improvement on earlier communication links with the rapidly developing west. Located on Chimney Creek between stage stops at Clear Fork (26 miles northeast) and Fort Phantom Hill (12 miles southwest), Smith's Station was the only Butterfield stop located in present Shackelford County.  (1982) 

(Marker located on hiking trail on County Road 220, 2 miles south of US Highway 180, 12 miles west of Albany)


TEXAS CATTLE TRAIL

In memory of TEXAS CATTLE TRAIL - To Dodge City, Kansas and other northern points 1875 - 1890. (1964)

(Marker located on the Shackelford County Courthouse Square in downtown Albany)


TEXAS CENTRAL RAILWAY COMPANY

The Houston & Texas Central Railway, which began building north from Houston in 1856, was tapped in 1872 by a branch line from Waco.  In 1879, the Texas Central Railway Co. was chartered to extend the branch from Ross, 11 miles north of Waco, to the Panhandle.  By 1881, the track stretched 177 miles through Whitney, Hico, Dublin, and Cisco, to Albany. Because financial problems prevented further building, Albany remained the rail terminus for 19 years.  Realizing the value of rail service on the frontier, the citizens of Albany had raised $50,000 to win the railroad away from the nearby town of Ft. Griffin.  As the end of the rail line, Albany experienced a long period of growth and prosperity.  It became a shipping center for cattle, buffalo bones, and building stone.  Hotels and stores sprang up to accommodate visitors and new residents arriving by train.  In 1900, the railroad started to build again, extending the line from Albany to Stamford.  Purchased in 1914 by the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway Co., the Texas Central Railway was part of that system until the growth of highway travel reduced rail service.  In 1967, the line was discontinued except for a short section between Gorman and Dublin.  (1973)  

(Marker located in Webb Park at 112 Main Street in Albany)


THE LYNCH BUILDING

This was Albany's first stone mercantile store.  It was erected in stages, combining Greek Revival and Victorian Italianate designs.  In 1878, W. H. Miller built one-story east unit, and permitted the Albany Masonic Lodge to erect a second story.  Local rancher J. C. Lynch in 1881 built the two-story west unit.  The "Live and Let Live" drug store was an early tenant. L. H. Hill and family owned the property from 1896 - 1974.  Clifton Caldwell bought and restored it in 1974 - 1975.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1975)

(Marker is a medallion and plate located at the intersection of S. Texas State Highway 6 and US Highway 180 in Albany)


TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH

The oldest church building in Albany.  Methodists, who organized their church in 1873, built this sanctuary on Schoolhouse Hill in 1889, and moved it to Main Street in 1909.  Trinity Episcopal Mission, founded 1910, bought structure in 1913, remodeled it (1914), removed it in 1954 to this site (former location of Reynolds Presbyterian Academy) given by Watt Matthews, and added steeple designed by Floyd M. Johnson and Joe Blanton.  Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (1962)

(Marker is a medallion and plate located at North 2nd Street and Avenue B in Albany)


NATIONAL REGISTER LISTINGS

 

FORT GRIFFIN

Located 15 miles north of Albany in Ft. Griffin State Park on US Highway 283

FORT GRIFFIN BRAZOS RIVER BRIDGE

Located 1/2 mile northeast of Ft. Griffin State Park on County Road 188

HUBBARD CREEK BRIDGE

Located 8 1/2 miles southeast of Albany on Farm to Market Road 601

SHACKELFORD CO. COURTHOUSE HISTORIC DISTRICT

Located in the historic area surrounding the Shackelford County Courthouse in Albany

US HWY 283 BRIDGE OVER BRAZOS RIVER

Located 2.3 miles south of Shackelford/Throckmorton County Line on US Highway 283

 

Last Update Saturday, 19-Jan-2013 00:53:59 EST

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