The development of this county began during the decade of the '70s, after the fear of Indian raids had ceased. Population increased six or sevenfold during the '70s, and since 1880 has increased about three hundred per cent. Erath County is well above the average agriculturally, with cotton its largest crop, is also a producer of apples and peaches, has coal mines in the northern part, and still retains a share of the live stock activities that once were almost the sole industry.
Erath County was created January 25,1856, from Bosque and Coryell counties.It is named for It is named for George Bernard Erath, an early surveyor and a soldier at the Battle of San Jacinto. The seat of the county is Stephenville. It was organized by Its proprietors on July 4, 1855,when they offered land for the county buildings, provided the county seat was located there, and the legislative act above noted designated that town as the seat of justice provided these donations were made.
The population of the county in 1858 was estimated at 766, and only about one thousand five hundred acres were in cultivation. For twenty years after the county was organized it was on the frontier, and property was never secure from Indian raids. After the war this entire region was in the great cattle ranges. In October, 1890, the Fort Worth & Rio Grande Railroad was completed to Stephenville. During the first decade of the present century the Stephenville North & South Texas Railroad was built from Stephenville south to Hamilton, and has since been acquired by the St. Louis Southwestern (the Cotton Belt). Some years ago the Texas & Pacific constructed a short line to tap the coal mines at Thurber. The coal deposits at Thurber have been developed in recent years, and that is now a considerable mining town and also a center for the manufacture of paving brick. In 1890 the principal towns of the county in order of population were Dublin, Stephenville, Thurber, Alexander, Duffau and Bluffdale. Dublin and Stephenville have been close rivals as population and business centers in recent years, and in 1910 the former had a population of 2,551 and the latter 2,561.