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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.

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Surrounding Counties


Erath County (north)

Bosque County (northeast)

Coryell County (southeast)

Lampasas County (south)

Mills County (southwest)

Comanche County (northwest)


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