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In the late 19th century, Texas became known for its cattle drives, in which cowboys would move herds of cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas and other northern states. The cattle drives were dangerous and difficult work, but they played a key role in the development of the American cattle industry.
Erath County, located in the central region of Texas, has a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s. The area was initially inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Comanches and Tonkawas, who roamed the region for centuries. However, the Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to arrive in the area, with the famed Pedro Vial passing through in 1785.

In the 1850s, settlers began to establish permanent communities in Erath County, attracted by the fertile land and abundant water sources. One of the earliest settlements was Stephenville, which was founded in 1856. The town grew steadily and became a significant hub for trade and commerce in the region. During this time, agriculture, particularly cattle ranching, became the backbone of the economy.

Erath County played a notable role during the Civil War, as many residents joined the Confederate Army. The county also witnessed several skirmishes and raids, as it was located on the Western Frontier, making it an important strategic point. The war had a lasting impact on the area, with the local economy suffering due to the loss of men and resources.

Following the war, Erath County experienced rapid growth and development. The arrival of the railroad in 1889 further boosted the economy and facilitated transportation. The county continued to thrive on agriculture and ranching, while also diversifying into industries such as oil and gas production. Today, Erath County remains a vibrant community, known for its ranching heritage, educational institutions like Tarleton State University, and a strong sense of community spirit.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Erath County, Texas.

  • 1854: Erath County is officially organized and named after George Bernard Erath, a Texas Ranger and surveyor.
  • 1855: The first settlers arrive in the area, primarily from Tennessee and Missouri.
  • 1860: The first post office is established in Stephenville, the county seat.
  • 1865: The Civil War ends, and Erath County begins to recover from the conflict.
  • 1870: The Texas Central Railroad is completed, bringing increased trade and development to the county.
  • 1893: Tarleton State University is founded in Stephenville.
  • 1926: Construction of US Highway 67 begins, providing improved transportation access for Erath County.
  • 1940s: The discovery of oil in the county leads to an economic boom.
  • 1990s: Erath County becomes a popular filming location for movies and television shows, including "Walker, Texas Ranger."