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Hamilton, 1900

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Hamilton, 1938

Click each picture to see a larger view.

Pictured here are two views of Hamilton, taken from the hill near the John Eidson home.  The older one was made about the turn of the century, and the late one was made last week.  Trees have grown until it was impossible to get a good view from the exact spot of the original.  In fact, growth of trees is one noticeable difference.  Hamilton is now noted for its beautiful.  


In the foreground in each picture is the home of Mrs. J. C. Main.  The present home fo O. D. Henderson, which shows plainly in the old picture,  which is completely hidden by trees in the latter picture. [The O D. Henderson House is across the street from the postoffice.]



The Diversified Center, Hamilton County, depression-proof, is located in mid-Texas, bounded on the north by Erath County, on the south by Lampasas and Coryell, on the west by Comanche and Mills, and on the east by Bosque. It is on the rolling terrain of Grand Prairie, and has a wide variety of soils ranging from deep black to deep sand.

Traversing the county southeastward, the Leon River drains the central part. Cowhouse Creek drains the northwest and southern portions, and the Bosque drains the north. All three have fertile valleys. The surface of the county varies to include hilly, rocky, rolling, and prairie lands.

Diversified Interests

Hamilton County is well adapted to most types of farming and stock raising, and is fast becoming recognized as one of the diversified centers of Texas. It now leads the state in average egg production per hen, the total revenue flowing into the county each year through the poultry industry exceeding $1,000,000. [As a child my allowance was determined by the income produced from selling the eggs my chickens laid. My chickens laid brown eggs, while the chickens belonging to my parents laid white eggs. Even prior to beginning first grade at the age of five, Daddy required that I calculate my weekly allowance, before he would give it to me.--Elreeta Weathers]

The county is noted for its oats and other small grains, the oat crop often exceeding one and one-half million bushels annually. From 10,000 to 15,000 bales of cotton are raised each year, a half-million bushels of corn, and heavy crops of sorghum feeds. Other farm, garden, and orchard products are grown in abundance. Whatever grows in Central Texas does exceptionally well in Hamilton County.

Livestock Raised

Sheep, goats, mules, cattle, horses and hogs are grown extensively in the county, and all of them do well. It is one of the best mule producing centers in the state, buyers paying premiums for young mules grown here. Both beef and dairy cattle are grown.

There are about 33,000 head of cattle in the county; 90,000 head of sheep and lambs; 12,000 head of hogs; 8,000 head of mules, horses, and colts; 200,000 chickens, and 70,000 turkeys. These numbers have increased steadily since 1930.

People Own Homes

There are 2,019 farm families, about three-fourths of the population, living on small farms or ranches; and over one-half of these people own their homes. Several settlements are made up of families of German and Norwegian descent. They are among the most progressive and financially independent farmers of the county.

Native stock Americans compose the major part of the population, which is about 15,000. There are no Negroes in the county, and very few Mexicans.

Soil Protected

About 1,400 of the 2,000 farms in Hamilton County are under contract yearly for some type of soil conservation. Soil conserving or soil building programs are being carried out on 35,000 acres, and 50,000 acres have been terraced since 1930.

The average annual rainfall in the county is approximately 30 inches, and the average altitude is 1,150 feet. The area of the county is 833 square miles, and the assessed valuation is almost $9,000,000, About 170,000 acres are in cultivation, and about 20,000 more acres are available for cultivation.

Over 400 miles of farm-to-market roads lead to towns and trading centers. Highways 66 [now US 281] 36, 22, and 7 traverse the county, the Cotton Belt Railroad comes to Hamilton, and the M. K. & T. comes through Hico.

Natural Resources Abound

In addition to her varied, fertile soil, Hamilton County has many other valuable resources. Subterranean and surface water abound. Dams are being planned on the Leon and Cowhouse, and a few lakes have already been built.

Among other valuable resources are gas, oil, stone, gravel, sand, clay, and other building materials. No larger scale exploitation of these natural resources has been promoted, though most of them are being used locally.

Building Materials

One gravel and sand pit, located only five miles from Hamilton, has enough materials in it to build hundred of homes and buildings and hundreds of miles of highways. It covers 100 acres, and the gravel and deposits average 12 feet in depth.

The county has good grade limestone, sandstone, rubble rock of various varieties, and some mixed stones. Practically all rock structures in the county are built with stone quarried within the county. The Hamilton courthouse is one of the best examples.

Good Gas Wells

Hamilton County has a gas field belonging to Lone Star that holds great possibilities for development of the manufacture of several products when a great amount of heat is needed.

The two gas wells near Pottsville in the western part of the county produce about 35,000,000 cubic feet of gas. Plans are being made to put it to use.

Large quantities of sand, suitable for glass manufacture, are


in the county. Clay deposits suitable for brick and tile also abound, and with abundant fuel close at hand these industries could be profitably developed.

Good Oil Showing Found

Though oil has not been found in paying quantities in the county, it is known that a number of excellent structures exist. Nineteen wells have been drilled, several of which made good showing of oil, gas, or both. The territory is far from condemned. Preparations are now going forward to drill a well near Energy.

The first well to make a strong showing in the county was the Gladys Belle Blansit No. 1, located in the northeast corner of the A. G. Moore survey, drilled in 1918. It produced several hundred barrels, but was ruined by a shot.

Potential Industries

Most of the soil in Hamilton County is well adapted to the growth of pecan trees, and walnuts, started in recent ears, and doing well. Native pecans are plentiful over most of the county, and paper shell pecans, budded grafted or set out, are producing in commercial quantities. Hundreds of acres of new orchards are being developed.

Peaches, plums, pears, apples, apricots, and other fruit produce abundantly in this county, and these orchards are being developed rapidly. Grapes and berries grow exceptionally well in some sections, larger vineyards and berry patches are being set out annually.

All types of vegetables and melons suitable for growth in Central Texas are produced in Hamilton County, and this industry is developing rapidly.

Good Dairy Country

Though dairying is not an extensive industry in the county, it is being successfully done on a small scale by many farmers. The county is well adapted to the production of dairy cattle, and large dairies will be operated here within the near future. Bull rings are now being formed to improve herds. Large quantities of cream are now shipped Out of the country, coming in small quantities from many farms where "live at home" diversification practices are practiced.

Cheese factories and creameries are among the many potential industries of the county.

Canning and otherwise preserving foods is carried on extensively By individuals, though no large canneries are located in the county.

Hamilton County Seat

Located near the center of the county is Hamilton, county seat and largest town. Its population is approximately 2,800, all white. There are in Hamilton three banks, two newspapers, and more than 100 other business firms. Included among there area mill and elevator, a cotton oil mill, four feed manufacturing establishments, and several large warehouses.

A municipal swimming pool is now under construction, the water system is municipally owned and operated, and the fairpark, fully equipped to handle fairs, picnic, horse races, and ball games is municipally owned. The park is also equipped with lights for night football and softball, owned by the High School Athletic Association.

Schools and Churches

There are two are schools and a fully affiliated high school with 29 credits. More than 600 boys and girls attend the schools regularly and about 55 graduate annually. There are 22 regular members in the faculty.

The Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, First Christian, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Presbyterian, and other denominations have regular church organizations in Hamilton, and all named but the Lutherans have buildings in town.

Town Grows Steadily

Throughout the depression Hamilton has grown steadily. None of the three banks have ever been in any danger of closing, no businesses have been forced to close, there are no vacant buildings, and building has gone forward at all times. The business section has far out-grown the square and business houses have been erected on all streets leading off the square.

More than 280 new residences have been built here within he last three years, yet there are no vacant houses. An unusually large proportion of the residents own their homes. They are well improved, have all utilities, and beautiful lawns, flowers, and trees. Hamilton is noted for its flowers and trees.

Little Unemployment

At no time in Hamilton has the unemployment problem been grave. In fact, Hamilton County and the towns of Hamilton has now and has had during the entire depression fewer persons on relief rolls than have other counties in this section.

At the present there are only 178 eligible workers on the relief rolls in this county; whereas in neighboring counties there are from 250 to 310. Of the 178 eligibles in the county, 161 are at work, others are temporarily unemployed, and only two are awaiting assignments.

In neighboring counties smaller proportions of those on the rolls are at work. During the last three months the case load has increased in other counties, but has decreased in Hamilton County.

Other Towns in County

Next in size to Hamilton in this county is Hico, located in the extreme north corner, and having a good trade territory in [unreadable on my copy]

Other towns in the county are Carlton, Pottsville, (unreadable) (unreadable), Fairy, Aleman, and Shive.

County Settled Early

Robert Carter from Bell County, who moved into what is now the Evant community in 1854, was probably the first settler of the portion of Central Texas which in 1858 war organized into Hamilton County. He was soon followed by Asa Langford, James and Henry Carter, and others.

In 1855 Henry Standefer, Jim Rice, and E. Manning moved in, and Rice and Standefer opened a store near the southeast corner of the present square, hauling goods from Galveston by ox wagon. A picture of the building is elsewhere in this paper.

Before long a number of adventurous families had settled in the county and principally through the efforts of Rice and Standefer. Hamilton County was cut off from Comanche and organized in 1858.

County Named

The name of Hamilton was bestowed upon the new county by the legislature for a man who had recently died after rendering patriotic services to the Republic of Texas without receiving political reward. His name was James Hamilton. During his lifetime of 71 years he was soldier, patriot, financier, and statesman, having been three times governor of South Carolina. Under President Lamar at the Republic of Texas he sold bonds for the struggling young country in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He was also


instrumental in gaining treaties with the British Empire.

Hamilton drowned at sea when a ship in which he was returning to Texas collided with another on the foggy night of November 15, 1857, off the coast of Galveston. IT is said that he gave his life preserver to a woman for her child, clung to the wreckage until exhausted, and then sank into the water.

Officers Elected

Immediately after the county was organized in 1858 the 80 or 85 voters in the county elected officers as follows: Jim Rice, county judge; Zeke Manning, sheriff; I. S. Standefer, county clerk; and John A. Baugh, county surveyor.

By 1860 there were 463 people in the county and stock raising had become an established business. Sheep were first introduced in 1880, and Hamilton County became an important sheep raising center in this section of the state.

Land at that time sold for $1 an acre on 40 years’ time at four per cent interest. The coming of barbed wire cut the county up into pastures, threw larger areas into cultivation, and increased the value of property. By 1900 some land sold as high as $25 an acre.

More interesting historical facts about Hamilton County may be found throughout this paper.




Friday, June 24, 1938

W. F. Billingslea, Publisher, Hamilton County, TX



Until comparatively recent times panthers occasionally screamed along the breaks of the Leon River and struck terror into the hearts of inhabitants on dark nights.


Prairie fires were once dreaded occurrences in this section.







Friday, June 24, 1938

W. F. Billingslea, Publisher, Hamilton County, TX


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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress