Comanche County History 1922
Comanche County History 1922
Comanche County. This county was created in 1856 and organized, with a local government, on March 17th of the same year. Its territory was taken from Coryell and Bosque counties, and was originally a part of the great Milam District, which was a nominal jurisdiction from the time of the Texas Revolution. Comanche was one of twenty or more counties in Central Texas that came into existence before the war, but it was on the western frontier, and was very sparsely inhabited, living conditions were primitive, industry was pastoral rather than agricultural, and for the greater part of two decades the people were able to accomplish little more than maintain their precarious foothold. The wave of immigration that settled the Upper Brazos Valley also extended to Comanche County, and in 1860 its population was officially 709. During the following decade the resources of the older counties were absorbed in the struggle of the war, while the hostilities of the Indian tribes made settled conditions impossible along the border. The real development of the county began about 1870, when its population was 1,001. By 1880 population had increased to 8,608 : in the following decade, though a portion of Comanche was taken to form Mills County, population increased to 15,608 by 1890; in 1900 it was 23,009; in 1910, 27,186; in 1920, 25,748.
Comanche was a border county until about 1880. In 1881 the Texas Central Railway was constructed across the northern corner of the county to a connection with the Texas & Pacific at Cisco, and that railroad did a great deal to change the county from one of purely pastoral activities to a farming section. A large portion of the county is included in a belt of woodland known as the Upper Cross Timbers, and about a fourth of the county is still classified as woodland. The decade of the '80s marked the introduction of agriculture and the breaking up of the range lands, and since then this development has progressed until Comanche is ranked among the agricultural sections of Central West Texas. At the last census there were 4,372 farms in the county, compared with 3,548 farms in 1900. Of a total area of 606,720 acres, 541,475 acres were occupied as farms. and approximately 253,000 acres were "improved lands." In 1882 the stock interests were estimated in round numbers at 31,000 cattle. 5,500 horses and mules, 9,000 sheep, and 9,000 hogs. At the last census the live stock interests were 25,623 cattle, about 12,026 horses and mules, 9,760 hogs, about 7,210 sheep and goats. In 1909, 136,945 acres were planted in cotton, 29,323 acres in corn, 13,323 acres in hay and forage crops. about 800 acres were in potatoes, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, and minor crops according to acreage were oats, wheat and peanuts. The county claims importance as a center of fruit and nut production, about 195,000 orchard fruit trees being enumerated at the last census, and over 23,000 pecan trees.
In 1881 the wealth of the county, as estimated by taxable values, was $1,377,285, more than a fourth of which was represented by live stock; in 1903, $5,117,176; in 1913, $11,789,449; in 1920, $20,387,552. During 1890-91 the line of the Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad was built through the county. Comanche, the county seat, was a small town and noteworthy only as the seat of government until the coming of the railroad. The population in 1890 was 1,226; in 1900, 2,070; in 1910, 2,756, and in 1920, 3,542. The town of DeLeon originated as a station on the Texas Central Railway, and had a population in 1890 of 364, in 1900, of 807, and in 1910, of 1,015. Other towns are Sipe Springs, along the new branch of the Texas Central, where a small oil and gas field has been developed ; Proctor, Hasse, Gustine, Lamkin, Comyn and Sidney. The old town of Comanche was for several years an important station on the Great Continental stage coach line covering the distance of 1,700 miles from Fort Worth, then the terminus of the Texas & Pacific Railway, to Fort Yuma and there connecting with the California system of transportation. This line of coaches was operated regularly from July, 1878. through Comanche, until the progress of construction on the Texas & Pacific had made this method of transportation obsolete. This old stage route was no inconsiderable factor in the development of Comanche County during the decade of the '70s. In the last nine years Comanche has become the junction point for the new line of the Cotton Belt constructed from Gatesville to Comanche, its present terminus.- History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.