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The Tonkawa Indians once occupied the area of
Irion County. Spanish explorers Hernn Martn and Diego del Castillo
traversed it in 1650; Juan Domnguez de Mendoza and Nicols Lpez
followed in 1684 and reported on local Indians.
From 1858 to 1861 coaches of the San
Antonio-San Diego Mail and the Butterfield Overland Mail crossed the
region. On January 8, 1865, the battle of Dove Creek was fought at
the junction of Spring and Dove creeks between 1,400 Kickapoo
Indians and 370 state border guards under Capt. Henry Fossett. The
Kickapoos were eastern Indians who had been uprooted by the American
government and removed to reservations in Indian Territory; they
were attempting to move to Mexico when intercepted by Fossett's
Thirty-six whites were killed and sixty
wounded in the battle; Indian casualties totaled eleven dead and
thirty-one wounded. The area had been part of the Fisher-Miller Land
Grant of 1843, but no settlements were established in what is now
Irion County until the late 1870s, after the Indian threat had been
eliminated. In 1874 the area became part of Tom Green County, which
was formed that year from 12,500 square miles taken from Bexar
County. G. W. Wood, Richard F. Tankersley, Bruce McCain, and others
established cattle ranches in the area.
In 1889 the Texas legislature
formed Irion County from Tom Green County, and that same year the
county was organized with Sherwood county seat. By 1890, 118 farms
and ranches, encompassing 193,000 acres, had been established in the
county. Though fourteen of these were larger than 1,000 acres, many
were relatively small holdings; the average size was 1,627 acres.
Nevertheless, ranching dominated the local economy.
[Excerpted from Leta Crawford, "A History of
Irion County, Texas" (Waco: Texian, 1966). Irion County Historical
Society, "A History of Irion County, Texas" (San Angelo: Anchor,
Outlaw Tom Ketchum once
maintained a hideout in the county, at the mountain now named for
Cities, Towns and Populated
Irion county is one of the most lightly
populated areas in the state
Mertzon (1990 population, 778) is the county seat and farm
Other communities are Barnhart and
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Irion County Data
Church Histories /
Family Bibles and
- Website Updates:
2014: Sick List: DORMAN, SAUNDERS Crime
News: TAYLOR, WOODWARD, Community News,
HARWELL, BACON, VOTE, WILSON, BEAUCHAMP,
- Gossip News: SUGG, ROBERTS, FUNK, KESTOR,
LACKEY, CARON, DAVIS, HINDE, STONEHOUSE, EMERICK,
WARD, EADEN, LEWIS, COLLIER, CORNER,
- Jan. 2014: World War 2
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