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County Court House
The first permanent white settlers in
the area were probably Robert Carter and his family, who arrived in
1854. By 1855 a number of others, including James Rice, Henry
Standefer, Frederic Bookerman, William Beauchamp, and Asa Langford had
settled there. Rice and Standefer opened a store that soon developed
into the town of Hamilton.
Population grew rather rapidly, and in
1856 settlers circulated a petition asking that a new county be formed
to accommodate their needs. Later that year the Texas legislature
approved the request and marked off Hamilton County from land
previously assigned to Comanche, Bosque, and Lampasas counties. Two
years later a five-man commission selected the town of Hamilton to be
the county seat.
Between 1880 and 1900 cotton farming,
grain production, and sheep and cattle ranching expanded despite
periodic droughts and financial difficulties experienced by local
farmers. During the 1880s and 1890s many settlers bought farm tracts
from speculators who subdivided former rangeland; others purchased
public school lands. Fence-cutting disputes occurred, conflicts
erupted between cattlemen and the increasing numbers of sheep raisers,
and a drought devastated the county from 1881 to 1887.
Cities and towns
Lampasas County (south)
Comanche County (northwest)
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