|Welcome to Stephens County, Texas|
|Texas Genealogy Trails|
This Stephens County Website
is available for adoption.
Our goal is to help you track your ancestors through time by transcribing genealogical and historical data and placing it online for the free use of all researchers.
If you have a love for history, a desire to help others, and basic web-authoring skills, consider joining us! If hosting isn't for you, we can use your help in other ways. Get the details on our Volunteer Page.
[A desire to transcribe data and knowledge of how to make a basic webpage is required.]
We regret that we are unable to perform personal research for folks.
All data we come across will be added to this site. We thank you for visiting and hope you'll come back again to view the updates we make to this site.
* * * NEW DATA ADDED CONSTANTLY * * * . . . CHECK BACK OFTEN . . .
Stephens County Texas
The county was originally named Buchanan County, after U.S. President James Buchanan, but was renamed in 1861 for Alexander H. Stephens, the vice president of the Confederate States of America.
The county seat is Breckenridge.
Comanches and Tonkawas occupied what is now Stephens County before Anglo settlement began in the late 1850s. John R. Baylor, probably the first white settler in the area, built a cabin on the Clear Fork in 1857, and others soon followed. The Texas legislature established Stephens County in 1858 from lands formerly assigned to Bosque County. By 1860 there were 198 people living in the area; the United States census did not report any slaves living in the county at that time. In 1861, after Texas had left the Union, the small town of Picketville was designated the temporary county seat, and the county was renamed to honor the vice president of the Confederacy. During the Civil War about 100 local residents lived together for protection at Fort Davis, a "citizens' fort" in the area; a school was established at the place. A salt works was operated on Big Caddo Creek at this time. County tax rolls reveal that there were thirty-three slaves in the county in 1864, near the end of the war, possibly brought there by slaveholders who moved to the area during the conflict. Though the Tonkawa Indians were friendly, early settlers were in constant danger of attacks by the Comanches and Kiowas who roamed the area. Samuel P. Newcomb, a pioneer schoolteacher, wrote sadly in 1865, "My pen is incapable of doing justice in recording the horrible depredations committed on this frontier by the barbaric, uncivilized savages." The last large Comanche and Kiowa raids on the Clear Fork took place in 1871, although a few settlers lost their lives to raiders as late as 1873. After Indian removal settlers were free to deal with what Newcomb called the county's "disagreeable peculiarities," which included "sand storms in spring, northers in winter, traveling grasshoppers in the fall, and long, severe, and parching droughts in the summer and all other seasons of the year." The agricultural census for 1870 reported twenty-four farms and ranches in Stephens County. Though settlers grew some corn and vegetables for their own consumption, the economy of the area at that time revolved almost entirely around ranching; while only about 600 bushels of corn were produced in the county that year, more than 43,000 cattle were reported. There were only 300 people living in the county in 1870, and as late as 1875 ranchers were still traveling 200 miles to Tarrant County for flour and other necessities. The county was organized in 1876, and Breckenridge became the seat of government. [Excerpted from John Leffler, "STEPHENS COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online; Published by the Texas State Historical Association.]Photo by Renelibrary CC BY-SA 4.0
STEPHENS COUNTY COURTHOUSE
CITIES, TOWNS, AND POPULATED PLACES
* Breckenridge * Caddo * Eolian * Gunsight * Harpersville * Ivan * La Casa * Necessity * Wayland * Reach *
Check your attics!
Dust off your family scrapbooks!
We're looking for DATA for this site!!!
If you are interested in adding your families' information to this website, Email Us.
We'll be happy to help your families' obituaries, news items and other historical data find a home here at Texas Genealogy Trails, where it will remain free for all to view.
Online Data ChurchRecords FamilyRecords MiscellaneousData SchoolRecords Wills/Probate Records Website Updates:
Apr 2018: Court News: TUCKET, FOUNTAIN, SMITH, CANNADY, GANES, ELDER, MCCREARY, CAMPBELL, BAKER, TODD, CROWLEY, BARNES, GRAY, GUEST, HANKS, DODSONSept 2017: Website updated and pages are mobile friendlyJun 2017: County Records: 1900 Fugitives from JusticeSept 2016: Visiting News: ESLICK, WHITE, SWENSON, CLARK, SCHLACHMAN, POWERS, SENSEBAUGH, WINKLER, PARLAMANJun 2016: County Records: 1916 County OfficersMar 2016: World War 1 Draft Registration Cards: ABBE, ACKERS, ADAMS, ADKINS, AKERS, AKIN, ALDREDGE
SEARCH OUR SITES
Submit an Obituary to Us
for any of our county sites.
If you would like to be kept informed of our state and county website updates, subscribe to any or all of our mailing lists
Texas is covered under our "Southwestern States" mailing list.
VISIT OUR PANHANDLE PLAINS REGION PAGE
OR VISIT OUR TEXAS STATE PAGE
OR VISIT OUR NATIONAL SITE
Copyright ©Genealogy Trails
All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.