Donley County
Creeks, Lakes, and Rivers

Source: The Handbook of Texas Online

CLARENDON LAKE
GREENBELT LAKE
KELLY CREEK
BRUSHY CREEK
BARTON CREEK
HORSE CREEK
BIG SANDY CREEK
EAGLE HOLLOW
OAKS CREEK
GLENWOOD CREEK
CALF CREEK
PARKER CREEK
MCCULLUM CREEK
JONAH CREEK
HALL CREEK
BITTER CREEK
BUCK CREEK
PARKS CREEK
COTTONWOOD CREEK
LONE TREE CREEK
BERKLEY CREEK
BARTON CREEK
JESSE ARROYO
OKLAHOMA DRAW
CARROL CREEK
WHITEFISH CREEK

CLARENDON LAKE

Clarendon Lake is a playa on the northeast edge of the Clarendon city limits in central Donley County (at 3456' N, 10053' W). It is used primarily for recreation. The surrounding terrain is flat to gently sloping surfaced by loose, sandy soil that supports mesquite, brush, and grasses.

GREENBELT LAKE

Greenbelt Lake, formerly Greenbelt Reservoir, is in the Red River basin about four miles north of Clarendon in south central Donley County (at 3500' N, 10054' W).

The reservoir, built at the convergence of Carrol and Kelly creeks with the Salt Fork of the Red River, is owned and operated by the Greenbelt Municipal and Industrial Water Authority to supply water for municipal and industrial use.

Adams Construction Company started work on the 5,800-foot-long rolled earthfill dam on April 12, 1966; the dam was closed and water impoundment began on December 5.

By 1968 the lake was on the verge of inundating the original townsite of Old Clarendon, prompting the removal of the old cemetery and other remnants of "Saints' Roost."

The reservoir has a capacity of 59,110 acre-feet with a surface area of 1,990 acres at the service spillway elevation of 2,664 feet above mean sea level, and a capacity of 81,760 acre-feet with a surface area of 2,470 acres at the emergency spillway crest elevation of 2,674 feet above mean sea level. The drainage area above the dam is 288 square miles.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975).

Seth D. Breeding

KELLY CREEK

Kelly Creek rises seven miles west of Clarendon in central western Donley County (at 3456' N, 10058' W) and runs northeast for five miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River, six miles south of Howardwick (at 3500' N, 10054' W).

The lower portion of the stream is now backed up by the waters of Greenbelt Reservoir.

Kelly Creek flows through flat to rolling terrain, with some local escarpments, surfaced by deep, fine sandy loams that support mesquite brush and grasses.



BRUSHY CREEK

Brushy Creek rises twelve miles west of Clarendon in southwestern Donley County (at 4550' N, 10052' W) and flows south for eight miles to its mouth on Mulberry Creek, twenty miles west of Lakeview in northwestern Hall County (at 3440' N, 10052' W).

The stream was once part of the JA Ranch horse pasture and is now on Bitter Creek Ranch property. A small reservoir is impounded upstream near State Highway 70 in southern Donley County.

The creek flows through terrain with moderately steep slopes and locally high relief, surfaced with silt loams in which grow primarily mesquite and grasses.



BARTON CREEK

Barton Creek rises fourteen miles northeast of Howardwick in north central Donley County (at 3511' N, 10051' W) and runs southeast for eleven miles to its mouth on Saddlers Creek, ten miles northeast of Clarendon (at 3504' N, 10045' W).

The stream was named for S. B. Barton, a former buffalo hunter and surveyor who had a horse ranch on McClellan Creek.

One of three line camps on Lewis H. Carhart's Quarter Circle Heart Ranch was on Barton Creek, as was J. F. Evans's original Spade Ranch headquarters; this property was later owned successively by the families of Charlie McMurtry and Thomas L. Griffin.

The surrounding terrain is flat to rolling to steeply sloped and surfaced with locally stony loams and clays.

Native vegetation includes mesquite scrub and grass.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).



HORSE CREEK

Horse Creek rises eleven miles northeast of Howardwick in east central Donley County (at 3504' N, 10043' W) and runs south for four miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River (at 3459' N, 10043' W).

The creek was on the RO Ranch.qv It traverses rolling to steep-sloped terrain surfaced by shallow clay and sandy loams that support native vegetation including juniper, cacti, and sparse grasses



BIG SANDY CREEK

Big Sandy Creek rises in two main branches that meet five miles south of Clarendon in southwestern Donley County (at 3453' N, 10054' W).

The stream flows southwest for twelve miles to its mouth on Mulberry Creek, in the northeastern corner of Briscoe County (at 3443' N, 10005' W).

Sandy Camp, one of the JA Ranch's twelve winter camps, was located near this stream.

Big Sandy Creek flows through an area of moderately steep slopes with locally high relief and a surface of deep silt loams that support mesquite and grasses.



EAGLE HOLLOW

Eagle Hollow, also known as Eagle Arroyo, begins ten miles east of Clarendon in eastern Donley County (at 3457' N, 10044' W) and runs northeast for four miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River, twelve miles southeast of Howardwick (at 3459' N, 10043' W).

The area terrain varies from flat to gently sloping to rolling, with some local escarpments.

Native vegetation includes mesquite shrubs and bushes and grasses in deep, fine, sandy loam and loose sand.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975).



OAKS CREEK

Oaks Creek rises in southern Donley County (at 3449' N, 10046' W) seven miles southwest of Hedley and runs southeast for fifteen miles to its mouth (at 3435' N, 10038' W) on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, in central Hall County ten miles south of Lakeview.

The headquarters of the Oak Creek Ranch is near the head of the stream in Donley County.

The area terrain is characterized by moderate to steep slopes with locally high relief.

Native vegetation consists primarily of mesquite shrubs and grasses in shallow to moderately deep silt loams.



GLENWOOD CREEK

Glenwood Creek, an intermittent stream fed by Glenwood Springs, rises twelve miles northeast of Howardwick in northern Donley County (at 3509' N, 10047' W) and runs south for ten miles to its mouth on Saddlers Creek (at 3501' N, 10046' W).

The stream is on land that was once part of the Quarter Circle Heartqv and RO ranchqv ranges.

It traverses flat to rolling terrain with some local escarpments, and thick, fine sandy loam soils that support native vegetation including mesquite brush and grasses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975).



CALF CREEK

Calf Creek rises ten miles east of Howardwick in north central Donley County (at 3504' N, 10044' W) and runs south for three miles to its mouth on Saddlers Creek, thirteen miles northeast of Clarendon (at 3500' N, 10046' W).

The stream flows through an area that was part of the RO range, where the land is flat to rolling with local escarpments.

Native vegetation consists primarily of mesquite shrubs and grasses in soil composed of mostly deep, fine sandy loam.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).



PARKER CREEK

Parker Creek rises six miles southeast of Hedley in southeastern Donley County (at 3448' N, 10035' W) and flows southeast for twenty miles to its mouth on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, four miles west of Mauldin in eastern Hall County (at 3435' N, 10030' W).

It was once on Diamond Tail Ranchqv property.

The surrounding terrain varies from flat to rolling with local escarpments to moderately steeply sloping with locally high relief. Native vegetation consists primarily of mesquite shrub and grasses in soil that varies from deep, fine, sandy loams to shallow to moderately deep silt loams.



MCCULLUM CREEK

McCullum Creek rises in eastern Armstrong County southwest of Goodnight (at 3501' N, 10114' W) and runs east for eleven miles to the Donley county line, then runs about fourteen miles south before joining Mulberry Creek in southwestern Donley County (at 3449' N, 10102' W).

It was named for Green McCullum, a JA Ranch employee who also served as the first foreman of the RO Ranch.

The creek is in an area of moderately sloping terrain surfaced by shallow silt loams that support primarily mesquite and grasses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).



JONAH CREEK

Jonah Creek rises fourteen miles southeast of Hedley in extreme southeastern Donley County (at 3448' N, 10033' W) and runs southeast for twenty-two miles, crossing parts of southwestern Collingsworth County and northeastern Hall County before joining the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, fifteen miles northwest of Childress in northwestern Childress County (at 3434' N, 10018' W).

The stream, formerly part of the Diamond Tail Ranch pastures, still drains a vast ranching and agricultural area.

Jonah Creek traverses moderately steep terrain with locally high relief. Native vegetation consists of mesquite and grasses in shallow to moderately deep silt loams.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Panhandle Pilgrimage: Illustrated Tales Tracing History in the Texas Panhandle (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1976; 2d ed., Amarillo: Paramount, 1978).



HALL CREEK

Hall (Halls) Creek rises two miles southwest of Clarendon in southwestern Donley County (at 3455' N, 10057' W) and runs southwest for seven miles to its mouth on Mulberry Creek (at 3450' N, 10101' W).

It was probably named for Jack Hall, an Amarillo cattleman who worked at one time as a bookkeeper for the JA Ranch, where the stream is located.

Hall Creek traverses terrain that changes from flat to rolling, with some local escarpments, moderately steep slopes, and locally high relief.

Native vegetation consists of mesquite brush and grasses in soils that change in composition from mostly deep, fine sandy loams to shallow to moderately deep silt loams.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Harley True Burton, A History of the JA Ranch (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1928; rpt., New York: Argonaut, 1966).



BITTER CREEK

The East and West forks of Bitter Creek rise in southern Donley County and flow southwest for ten miles before converging a mile north of State Highway 256 in northwestern Hall County (at 3443' N, 10051' W).

Bitter Creek runs southwest for six miles to its mouth on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, in northwestern Hall County (at 3437' N, 10053' W).

It traverses an area of moderately steep slopes with locally high relief and a surface of silt loam that supports mesquite and grasses.

The creek was probably named for the saline springs downstream.

The land upstream was once part of the JA Ranch horse pasture; this area was later developed as the Bitter Creek Ranch by R. G. Welch of California; in 1959 it became the property of Lawrence R. Hagey, Amarillo businessman and civic leader.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975).



BUCK CREEK

Buck Creek, also known as Spiller Creek, rises in two branches in southeastern Donley County.

The North Fork rises four miles east of Hadley (at 3452' N, 10037' W), and the South Fork three miles southwest of Hadley (at 3450' N, 10041' W). Both branches flow southeastward into Collingsworth County, where they join fifteen miles west of Wellington (at 3450' N, 10031' W).

The main stream flows seventy miles, through northeastern Childress County and into Harmon County, Oklahoma, to its mouth on the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River (at 3450' N, 10041' W).

William Riley Curtisqv established his Diamond Tail Ranch headquarters on Buck Creek in 1879 and later obtained the Morrisons' Doll Baby range upstream, where the town of Giles was later established.

Sam and Joe White ran their OM cattle by the creek in 1880. Buck Creek flows through flat to rolling terrain with local escarpments to moderately steep slopes with locally high relief. Fine sandy or silt loam supports mesquite shrubs and grasses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).



PARKS CREEK

Parks Creek rises in extreme southeastern Gray County (at 3512' N, 10041' W) and flows south nine miles to join Whitefish Creek in northeastern Donley County (at 3505' N, 10040' W).

The stream crosses flat to rolling terrain with local escarpments and mostly deep, fine sandy loams covered with brush and grasses.

Parks Creek was formerly on the RO Ranch properties.



COTTONWOOD CREEK

Cottonwood Creek rises in east central Armstrong County (at 3502' N, 10115' W) and runs east for nine miles, passing north of Goodnight, to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River near the Donley county line (at 3504' N, 10107' W).

The creek traverses sloping mesquite plains with loamy soils. It was on the JA Ranch and later the Goodnight Ranch.



LONE TREE CREEK

Lone Tree Creek rises north of the JA Ranch in southeastern Armstrong County (at 3450' N, 10111' W) and runs southeast for six miles across part of Donley County to its mouth on Battle Creek, in northeastern Briscoe County (at 3449' N, 10102' W).

It remains within the JA Ranch boundaries, in an area characterized by gently rolling terrain with shallow loamy soils.

The vegetation consists primarily of mesquite and grasses.



BERKLEY CREEK

Berkley Creek rises near U.S. Highway 287 in southeastern Donley County (3448' N, 10036' W) and flows southeast for about eight miles to its mouth on Parker Creek, just south of Memphis in northeastern Hall County (at 3442' N, 10032' W).

It extends through an area of moderately steep slopes and locally high relief, surfaced with silt loams that support mesquite and grasses.



BARTON CREEK

Barton Creek rises fourteen miles northeast of Howardwick in north central Donley County (at 3511' N, 10051' W) and runs southeast for eleven miles to its mouth on Saddlers Creek, ten miles northeast of Clarendon (at 3504' N, 10045' W).

The stream was named for S. B. Barton, a former buffalo hunter and surveyor who had a horse ranch on McClellan Creek. One of three line camps on Lewis H. Carhart's Quarter Circle Heart Ranch was on Barton Creek, as was J. F. Evans's original Spade Ranch headquarters; this property was later owned successively by the families of Charlie McMurtry and Thomas L. Griffin.

The surrounding terrain is flat to rolling to steeply sloped and surfaced with locally stony loams and clays. Native vegetation includes mesquite scrub and grass.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).



JESSE ARROYO

Jesse Arroyo rises in east central Donley County (at 3453' N, 10033' W) and runs northeast for nine miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River, twenty miles northwest of Wellington in west central Collingsworth County (at 3500' N, 10031' W).

The arroyo rises in flat to gently sloping terrain and traverses an area with soils ranging from loose sand to clayey and sandy loams. The surrounding vegetation varies from scrub brush and grasses to water-tolerant hardwoods and conifers.

The arroyo was part of the RO ranch pastures



OKLAHOMA DRAW

Oklahoma Draw originates in southeastern Donley County (at 3452' N, 10041' W) a mile southwest of Hedley and runs northeast for twelve miles to its mouth (at 3459' N, 10033' W) on the Salt Fork of the Red River, twenty-five miles northeast of Clarendon near the Donley-Collingsworth county line.

It was once part of the RO and Diamond Tail ranches. The local terrain is flat to gently sloping, and native vegetation consists primarily of mesquite brush and grasses in loose sand.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).



CARROL CREEK

Carrol Creek rises ten miles north of Howardwick in northwestern Donley County (at 3510' N, 10054' W) and formerly ran south for eleven miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River (at 3501' N, 10054' W).

The main headquarters for Lewis Henry Carhart'sqv Quarter Circle Heart Ranch was located on Carrol Creek. The mouth of the creek on the Salt Fork was inundated by Greenbelt Reservoir (now Greenbelt Lake).

Carrol Creek runs through flat to rolling terrain with local escarpments, surfaced by deep fine sandy loam that supports native mesquite brush and grasses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976).



WHITEFISH CREEK

Whitefish Creek rises near Alanreed in southern Gray County (at 3912' N, 10047' W) and flows southeast for twenty-two miles to its mouth on the Salt Fork of the Red River, in eastern Donley County (at 3460' N, 10036' W).

In 1879 Whitefish Creek and its tributaries were occupied by the Quarter Circle Heart Ranch, but in 1880 Alfred Rowe added them to his RO Ranch.

The area is flat to rolling with local escarpments. The soils are deep, fine, sandy loams that support hardwood forests, brush, and grasses at the head.

The creek later reaches a flat area with local shallow depressions, where clay and sandy loam soils support water-tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Panhandle Pilgrimage: Illustrated Tales Tracing History in the Texas Panhandle (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1976; 2d ed., Amarillo: Paramount, 1978).

(information from The Handbook of Texas Online --
a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture.)

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