Historical Markers

If you have historical marker photos from McMullen County and would like to donate them for use on this project please send them to the McMullen County Coordinator

The Historical Marker Information comes from theTexas Historical Commission The historical marker search engine can be found at Texas Historic Site Atlas.  The THC Copyright page can be found here.
 
 

Index to Historical Markers in McMullen County.

 
McMullen County Historic Courthouse Boot Hill Cemetery Calliham
Camp Rio Frio, CSA Louisa Renshaw Covey Cross
Site of Old Crowther Ranch Dog Town Jail Franklin Ranch
First Oil Producing Gas Well in McMullen County and First Gas Pipeline to San Antonio
Moses William Hinds Loma Alta McMullen County
Old McMullen College Old Rock Store San Caja Hill
Stringfield Massacre Tilden Townsite of Wentz
Yarbrough Bend John Swanson Yarbrough Townsite of Zella
  Old San Antonio-Laredo Road  

 
  

McMullen County Courthouse Photo.  Click to go to the McMullen County Courthouse Past and Present page.

 

Marker Title: McMullen County, Historic Courthouse
No Historical 

Marker Photo 

Currently Available

Photos: McMullen County Courthouse Past and Present
City: Tilden
Current Use: Active Courthouse
Owner: County
Style: Classical Revival with Mission influences
Description:
Dark brick with limestone water table, window lintels and sills. Symmetrical facades with shall temple entries supported by Doric columns. Four square plan with corbelled chimneys and curvilinear dormers. Original pressed metal ceilings in courtroom.
 

Boot Hill Cemetery Historical Marker Photo.  Click for a larger copy of photo.

 

Marker Title: Boot Hill Cemetery

Boot Hill Cemetery Entrance Photo.  Click for a larger copy of the photo.

 

Photos: Boothill Cemetery  submitted by Renee Smelley
Marker Location:
Across from Town Square, Route 72, one block East of intersection of 72 and Highway 16, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Began with grave of a suicide. Some occupants are: Dick Gosset, killed in Ft. Ewell gunfight, Feb. 1869. E.M. Crain, Confederate veteran; one of 4 cholera victims, 1869. John Smithwick, murdered, 1870. Jim--, assassinated from door of old Rock Store, 1872. Unknown, killed in gun battle while standing in front of old Rock Store, 1873. Unknown, killed unintentionally by Clabe Young, while playing a prank. S. Glenn Greer (12/7/1848-11/9/1874) thrown from a horse. Unknown, a Negro drowned in the Nueces, 1875. Unknown, murderer of James Minter, presumed to have been a Dalton gang member. Lige Harrison, Jr., killed at age 17 in a hunting accident, 1876. Samuel Wm. McCreery, murdered at his sheep ranch, 1877. Pemanio Palacios and Phelix Wheeler (infant), both died of natural causes. (1964)
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Calliham, Texas
City: Calliham
County: McMullen
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location:
Enter Choke Canyon Lake Park off of Highway 72, 2 miles west of McMullen County line and follow Park Road to Park Gym/Store, "Calliham Shore"; marker is in front of store - in Calliham.
Marker Text:
In 1918 had a post office, Guffeyola, in store of H.H. McGuffey. After oil and gas discoveries, 1917-1922, was tent city, then town of shotgun houses. Piped first natural gas to San Antonio. Name was changed 1923 to honor J.T. Calliham, rancher and townsite owner. Still produces oil and exports fine rocks and petrified wood.
Links of Interest Calliham, TX - Handbook of Texas Online
 

Camp Frio Rio Cemetery Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Camp Rio Frio, C.S.A.
Photo: Camp Rio Frio Photo Submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location:
On Highway 16 1/2 miles north of intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 72 (across from Caja Hill), Tilden, Texas.
Marker Text:
A Civil War home guard post, acting as buffer to protect older settlements from Apaches and bandits. Scattered local men were members of the 29th Brigade, Texas Militia. Picket homes with dirt floors. Diet of prickly pear salad and fruit, Spanish dagger blooms, hominy, turkey, quail and deer meat. Homespun and linsey clothing dyed blue with Brazil root or gold with agarita. Such was local scene the home guard protected. Camp Rio Frio was later Dogtown, then became Tilden. It proved itself in a rugged era. (1964)
 

Louisa Renshaw Covey Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Louisa Renshaw Covey
Photos: Historical Marker Courtesy of Carmen Ream 
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location:
Located in Hilltop Cemetery; take local road off of Highway 16 two blocks south of intersection with Highway 72. Follow road to top of hill to cemetery, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Born in Philadelphia; married Dr. J.V.E. Covey, Baptist minister and teacher, in 1845. They came to Texas during the 1850's as missionary-teachers. Regarded by her associates as a gifted instructor, Mrs. Covey aided her husband in founding and operating three colleges. In 1857 they established Alma Institute at Hallettsville; then during the Civil War, Concrete College near Cuero; an in 1881, McMullen College at Tilden. Recorded -- 1969
Links ofInterest: McMullen College - Handbook of Texas Online

Concrete College - Handbook of Texas Online

Alma Institute - Handbook of Texas Online

Hill Top Cemetery

 

Cross Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Cross, Texas

Cross Bar-B-Q Store Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Photos: Historical Marker | Cross Bar-B-Q Store submitted by Renee Smelley

The Cross Bar-B-Q Store is no longer in operation.

Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 16 about 5 miles north to Marker on Highway 16 R.O.W.
Marker Text:
This community (earlier known as Nopal, San Miguel, Franklin) is one of area's first permanent settlements. Named for Samuel C. Cross, who opened grocery store, became first postmaster, 1924. Post office closed, 1934. Gas well completed nearby, 1953, was largest in state at that time. Ranching also is important to economy. (1967)
Links ofInterest: Cross, TX - Handbook of Texas Online
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Site of Old Crowther Ranch
County: McMullen
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 72 east about 8 miles, then take Route 99 East about 10 miles. Marker located on curve on south side of 99 East. Just before line from McMullen-across from Ranch driveway.
Marker Text:
Townsite of 1600 acres established by 1902. Named in honor of Samuel Crowther on whose land it was located. Purchased by S.A. Hopkins in 1903. Extensive promotion failed to develop community into oil and farming center despite early oil discoveries. Became a ghost town by 1921. Bought by George T. Jambers, 1933. (1968)
Links ofInterest: Crowther, TX - Handbook of Texas Online
 

Dogtown Jail Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Dog Town Jail

Dogtown Jail Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Year Marker Erected: 1966
Photos: Historical Marker | Dogtown Jail Photos submitted by Renee Smelley
Designations: Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location:
Behind courthouse, located at intersection of Highway 72 and Highway 16, Tilden.
Marker Text:
First County Jail, built 1880 at cost of $2800. First expenses included 2 blankets, pair of leg irons, 2 pairs handcuffs. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1966.
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: First Producing Gas Well in McMullen County and First Gas Pipeline to San Antonio
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location:
Enter Choke Canyon Lake Park off of Highway 72, 2 miles west of County Line and follow Park Road to Park Gym/Store, "Calliham Shore"; marker is in yard in front of store, Calliham.
Marker Text:
Thirty years before the first producing gas well was drilled in this county, traces of salt water, sulphur, gas, and oil in water wells gave hints of the presence of petroleum here. For years wildcat drilling went on, but with only moderate success. Then in 1908, a well on Charles Byrne's land began to blow warm sulphur water and gas 120 feet into the air every 8 days, arousing much interest. After this discovery, Byrne, a promoter, set out to locate capitalists to develop his petroleum deposits. Armed with a picture of the gusher and a bottle of area oil, he attracted the attention of W.M. "Bee" Stephenson, his sons Light and Donald, and others. The well they drilled here in 1917-1918, on the Tom Brown Tract, blew in at 816 feet with 62,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, but for 3 months it spewed out of control because of the intense subsurface pressure and inadequate equipment. After other producers were drilled, W.M. Stephenson arranged to pipe gas to San Antonio, 68 miles north, in 1922. Among those joining this enterprise was H.A. Pagenkopf, Wichita Falls oil man. Thus petroleum took a leading role in the economy of McMullen County. 1970
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Franklin Ranch
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 16 about 4.5 miles north, turn west onto Franklin Ranch Road and Marker is immediately on right at top of hill.
Marker Text:
Ranch founder, Ralph S. "Rafe" Franklin, was born in Louisiana, April 4, 1848. He came to McMullen County in the early 1860's with his family. He started this ranch about 1870, building it up until he owned 40,000 acres, one of the largest holdings in this area. On Nov. 4, 1870, he married Minerva Holland; their children were: Murray; Buddy; R.S. Jr.; Green; Felix; Chapman; Amy; Claude; Tom; John; Margaret; Sam; Julius. The ranch headquartered on San Miguel Creek. In 1913, the present ranch home was built at the same location. It was a travelers' refuge; relatives and friends from near and far visited oftent to attend parties, dances, picnics and other social gatherings. For a short time Franklin ran sheep and goats but changed to cattle. In 1902, he purchased a herd of black angus, the first in this part of the country. The old "San Antonio-Laredo Stage Road" traverses ranch, crossing San Miguel Creek below ranch home. During the Civil War much cotton passed over this road headed for the Mexican border. The Franklins were pioneers in truest sense--few were more dynamic than they in early McMullen County development. "Rafe" Franklin died March 14, 1913. 1967
Links of Interest:
 

Moses William Hindes Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Moses William Hindes
Photo: Historical Marker submitted by Renee Smelley 
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
Located in Boot Hill Cemetery across from town square on Route 72, one block east of intersection of Highway 72 and Highway 16, Tilden.
Marker Text:
A pioneer in settling of southwest Texas. Born in South Carolina; married Mary Jane Mason. Moved in 1840's to Alabama, then to Mississippi. With wife and 6 children came in 1855 by ox-wagon and horse-drawn hack to Texas. After a year in Lockhart, moved (1856) to this area of sparse settlements. To have adequate water for cattle raising, tried living on Ash and San Miguel Creeks. Then settled on the Frio, where in drouths "wells" were sunk in the river bed. During the Civil War (1861-1865) Hindes and his son George were Confederate scouts. In that time Indians plundered this area, stealing children and horses. On Aug. 1, 1865, warning came of a new Indian raid. Neighbors went to Hindes' home (9 mi. sw) for safety. 6 men took turns guarding 40 horses held in the corral. At daybreak when the Indians attacked, Moses Hindes was shot to death defending his homestead. Buried at first in this Boothill, he was later reburied in Pleasanton Cemetery, Atascosa County. His heirs remain loyal to this area for which Mr. Hindes died. George, the eldest son, founded the town of Hindes, Atascosa County. The Hindes & Beever Store, Pearsall, sold first pearburner ever marketed. Every generation has had men who rode with Texas Rangers. 1968 Incise in base: Erected by great-grandchildren, Carrie Hindes Eppright and Leroy Hindes.
Links of Interest:
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Loma Alta
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 16 South about 23 miles, turn east onto Route 624 and follow about 3.5 miles east to Marker.
Marker Text:
First settlers moved into region in early 1880s. Community was named for Loma Alta/Hills. School, built 1896, moved several times in area until consolidation, 1943. Post office, established Jan. 3, 1910, was discontinued April 15, 1921. School and post office served large area of this ranching country. 1973
Links of Interest Loma Alta, TX - Handbook of Texas Online
 
McMullen County Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: McMullen County
Photo: Historical Marker submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: In front of courthouse on corner of Highway 16 and Highway 72, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Created 1858. Organized 1862. Abandoned because of bandit activities in thicket area during the Civil War. Reorganized 1877, with Tilden as county seat. Named for John McMullen (1785-1853), founded with James McGloin of the Irish Colony at San Patricio; President Pro Tempore of the General Council which governed Texas in 1836, on the eve of the Republic. Of the 254 Texas counties, 42 bear Indian, French or Spanish names. 10 commemorate such colonizers as McMullen and Stephen F. Austin, "Father of Texas". 12 honor Washington and other American patriots. 96 were named for men who fought in the Texas war for independence (15 dying at the Alamo), signed the Declaration of Independence from Mexico, or served as statesmen in the Republic of Texas. 23 have the names of frontiersmen and pioneers. 11 honor American statesmen who worked for the annexation of Texas; 10, leaders in Texas since statehood, including jurists, ministers, educators, historians, statesmen; and 36, men prominent in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Rockwall and 8 others have geographical names. San Jacinto and Val Verde were named for battles; Live Oak and Orange, for trees; and Mason for a fort. 1964
 

Old McMullen College Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger copy.

 

Marker Title: Old McMullen College
Thumbnail of Old McMullen College Postcard.  Click to view a larger copy.
Photo: Historical Marker submitted by Renee Smelley 

McMullen College Postcard submitted by Beth Walker

Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location:
On Highway 16, 2-3 blocks south of intersection of Highway 16 with Highway 72. Located in front yard of elementary school, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Established 1881 under leadership of Dr. John Van Epps Covey, founder of three Texas colleges--aided here by civic leaders S.F. Dixon, Dr. M.W.C. Frazier, C.F.H. Hiers, R.W. Johnson, M.F. Lowe and L. Wheeler. A 3-acre site was bought from James Lowe, and S.D. Frazier constructed the building. Funds were raised by subscription to defray initial costs. Dr. Covey, his wife, and the Rev. Woodlief Thomas were teachers during the first year. Accommodations were planned for 100 students. The curriculum included spelling, mathematics, geography, surveying, bookkeeping, logic, history, reading, Latin, other liberal arts courses. In September 1897, after 16 years of service, the college ended its career. Its building was turned over to the trustees of the newly-organized Tilden School District, and used as a public school until January 1926, when a new structure replaced it. Texas had numerous early schools with similar histories. Like McMullen College, these were founded by dedicated civic groups eager to see that young Texans were offered sound education. Most of these small local colleges had primitive facilities and endured repeated financial crises, but they held to ideals they were never able to attain. 1967
Links of Interest McMullen College - Handbook of Texas Online
 

Old Rock Store Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Old Rock Store

Old Rock Store Photo.  Rock Store located on the right.  Click to view a larger copy.

 

Photos: Old Rock Store Historical Marker | Old Rock Store Photos submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Designations: Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location:
Faces courthouse across from courthouse on Route 16 at intersection with Highway 72, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Built about 1865 by Pat Cavanaugh, Irish stonemason, assisted by Dick Barker. Site of gun battles in Dog Town (now Tilden), "wide open" during lawless era of the 1860's and 1870's. Preserved since 1929 by Clifton Wheeler, owner. Recorded Texas Historic Lankmark, 1966.
Links of Interest: McMullen County Historical Museum and Archives 
 

Old Rock Store Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger photo.

 

Marker Title: Old San Antonio-Laredo Road

 
 

 

Photos: San Antonio Laredo Road | Marker Text  Photos submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1973
Marker Location:
Highway 72 about 5 miles west of Tilden, Texas
Marker Text:
Shortly after the founding of Laredo, in 1755, the Spanish established a transportation-communication route across this site.  The road provided necessary abundance of water and grass for travel across the arid region, and served as a vital link between San Antonio and Laredo for well over a century.  Although under constant surveillance by hostile Indian tribes, this route was traversed by numerous notable people.  Fray Gaspar Jose De Solis passed this site on Aug. 21, 1868, on return from an inspection of Spanish Texas Mssions.  Stephen F. Austin, en route to Mexico City to seek a colonization grant, crossed here about March 18, 1822.  On Feb. 26, 1828, Manuel De Mier Y Teran passed on his way to survey Anglo-American strength in Mexican Texas.  The Somervell Expedition, in punitive retaliation for a Mexican invasion of Texas, crossed here on Dec. 1, 1842, bound for Laredo.  Before and after the Civil War the road was used as a military supply route from San Antonio to Forts Ewell (1852-1854), at Nueces River Crossing, and McIntosh, at Laredo, and as a trade outlet for early settlers.  Although abandoned after ranches were fenced and a railroad from San Antonio to Laredo was built in 1881, the road is still visible on the open range.  (1973)
 

San Caja Hill Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view larger photo.

 

Marker Title: San Caja Hill
Photos: Historical Marker | Historical Marker Text photos submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
Highway 16 just .5 miles north of Wheeler Store on west side of road before bridge, Tilden.
Marker Text:
The name, originally "Sin Caja", means "without coffin" in Spanish and may refer to the grim aftermath of the Turkey Creek Indian Battle, which was fought a short distance west of the hill in December 1872. The fight developed after raiding Indians had stolen livestock, chased young rancher Andrew Tullis, and dragged a herder to death at the J. Campbell place. The day following the killing, 13 ranchers from Oakville overtook the band at Turkey (now "Hill") Creek. Five Indians were slain, while one white man, Sebastian Beall, had a tooth shot out. Others in the fight were Caleb Coker, Tim Cude, John Edwards, Bob and Sam Nations, Tobe Odom, Cullen Sanders, Andrew and Woodie Tullis, Rans Tullos, Pleas Waller, John Wilson. The bones of the warriors, put in a cave in San Caja Hill, later mysteriously disappeared. They were supposedly removed by members of the same tribe. Legends of treasure also hinge upon the name of the hill, for "Caja" can mean "box" or "chest." This is thought to refer to money hidden in boxes here by Mexican bandits who raided wagon trains and stages traveling on the nearby Laredo-Goliad Road. Other tales tell of silver from the rich San Saba mines once buried nearby, but now lost to history. 1968
Links of Interest: San Caja Hill - Handbook of Texas Online
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Stringfield Massacre
Address:
City:
County: McMullen
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Designations: na
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 16 about 23 miles to Route 624, go west about 2.5 miles to rest stop.
Marker Text:
On Sept. 28, 1870, the Thomas W. Stringfield family was ambushed by Indians and bandits raiding from Mexico. Overtaken in their horse-drawn wagon, the victims ran for a nearby house, but did not reach it. Thomas and wife Sarah Jane were stabbed and shot to death. Six-year-old son Adolphus was also murdered, but the fate of Thomas, 4 years, was never known. The survivor, 8-year-old Ida Alice, fought to avoid capture. She was then speared 7 times, trampled by the raiders' horses, and left for dead. She was later rescued and lived until 1937. 1968
 

 

Marker Title: Tilden, Texas
Photo: Tilden Historical Marker Photo submitted by Renee Smelley
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: At intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 72 in front of Courthouse, Tilden.
Marker Text:
Settled 1858 as Rio Frio. Later called "Dog Town" because ranchers used many dogs to round up cattle. 1871 townsite was laid out as Colfax. Made county seat 1877. Renamed for S.J. Tilden, who won popular vote for U.S. President, 1876. Ranching and petroleum center. Noted for fine rural high school, annual rodeo, historic sites. 1966
Links of Interest: McMullen County Courthouse Past and Present

McMullen County Historical Museum and Archives

 

Townsite of Wentz Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger copy.

 

Marker Title: Townsite of Wentz
Photos: Historical Marker submitted by Michael Tope 
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
(In roadside turnaround with Yarbrough Bend Marker), from Tilden, take Highway 72 East about 6 miles to markers.
Marker Text:
Founded as market center for a 44,000-acre farm development. Thrived for 3 years, 1914-1916. Wentz townsite was named for C.C. Wentz (1872-1957), agent of the Two Rivers Ranch Company. He promoted the townsite for the absentee Kansas landlords, and was also a well-known businessman in West Virginia before coming to Texas. The town grew to have about 200 people by 1916. A limousine was hired to meet each train at Three Rivers and bring the mail to Wentz. A severe drouth in 1917, though, forced most citizens to move. The post office closed, 1921; the two schools in 1948. 1968
Links of Interest: Wentz, TX - Handbook of Texas Online
 

Yarbrough Bend Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger copy.

 

Marker Title: Yarbrough Bend
Photos: Historical Marker submitted by Michael Tope  Panaramic View of Marker - Submitted by Renee Smelley 
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
(With Townsite of Wentz Marker), from Tilden, take Highway 72 six miles east to road side marker.
Marker Text:
Founded 1858. Named for John Swanson Yarbrough, an original settler. Town contained about 30 log "picket houses". Settlers were often harassed by Indians, cattle thieves and wild animals. Other original settlers were: Dr. George Dilworth, John Moore, James Tope, N.H. Walker, Joe Walker and Benjamin Franklin Winters. 1968
Links of Interest: John Swanson Yarbrough Archives - Site includes: Yarbrough, Moore, Tope, Walker & Winters surnames.
 

John Swanson Yarbrough Historical Marker Photo.  Click to view a larger copy.

 

Marker Title: John Swanson Yarbrough
Photos: Historical Marker | White Poinsettias were planted at the Yarbrough Cemetery graves by Jan Hinds on December 19, 2001 a GR GR GR Granddaughter of John Swanson Yarbrough.  The marker dedication took place on December 8, 2001 at the Courthouse in Tilden.  Photos submitted by Beth Walker. 
Year Marker Erected: 2001
Marker Location: in Hill Top Cemetery, 0.8 mile east of SH 16 on Hackberry St./Cemetery Rd., Tilden
Marker Size: Grave Marker
Marker Text: (Dec. 25, 1774 - Oct. 20, 1862) A native of North Carolina, John Swanson Yarbrough came to Texas in 1832 and settled in what is now Houston County in east Texas. A veteran of the Texas War for Independence, Yarbrough participated in the 1835 Siege of Bexar and in the decisive Battle of San Jacinto. He moved from Houston County about 1850 and led a group of settlers to the Frio River in 1858 to establish the Yarbrough Bend settlement in what became McMullen County. Yarbrough's grave was relocated to this site from the Yarbrough Bend Cemetery in 1982 as part of the construction of Choke Canyon Reservoir. Recorded - 2001
Links: Hill Top Cemetery in Tilden, Texas
 
No Historical Marker Photo Currently Available
Marker Title: Townsite of Zella

 

Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location:
From Tilden, take Highway 72 west about 15 miles, make a right onto 92 and go north/east about 6 miles to Zella townsite (on left just over cattle guard) just before Franklin Ranch Road.
Marker Text:
Organized 1913, with 189 city blocks laid off along San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf Railroad. Structures built included depot, store-post office, schoolhouse, hotel. A water well was drilled. War and the 1917 drouth stifled growth. Few lots were sold; land ownership was retained by founders. 1968 Incise on back: Founders were C. A. Nelson, Howard Bland and R. B. Pumphrey, owners of Zella Townsite Company.
Links of Interest: Zella, TX - Handbook of Texas Online

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