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Although the area was still sparsely populated, the demands of the advancing frontier were such that on February 1, 1858, the Texas legislature established twenty-three new counties. One of these was Runnels County, named in honor of Hiram G. Runnels, an ex-governor of Mississippi and a Texas state legislator.
During the 1870s the rich grasslands of Runnels County attracted more and more stockmen who were willing to risk Indian attacks. By 1876, after the Texas Rangers and United States troops such as those led by Col. Ranald S. Mackenzie had broken Indian resistance and driven them into Oklahoma, settlement began in earnest.
In the late 1870s and early 1880s cattlemen, mostly from the southern United States, took possession of Runnels County, establishing camps along the Colorado River and its tributaries. Runnels County was organized in February 1880 and had a population of 980. It had no towns, only scattered settlements.
[Excerpted from: Kathryn Pinkney, "RUNNELS COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online. Published by the Texas State Historical Association]
Cities, Towns and Populated Areas
Miles * Rowena * Winters * Ballinger