AHGP Transcription Project

Texas County

Texas County, in the southern part of the State, is bounded north by Pulaski, Phelps and Dent Counties, east by Dent and Shannon, south by Howell and Douglas, and west by Wright and Laclede, and contains about 700,000 acres.

Population in 1850, 2,312; in i860, 6,067; in 1870, 9,618; of whom 9,523 were white and 95 colored; 4,935 male and 4,683 female; 9,477 native (5,834 born in Missouri,) and 141 foreign.

The Boones and Paddies, trappers and hunters, settled here in 1816. After a successful season they would load their ponies and start for St. Louis, following the old Indian trail, there being no roads. They built the mill on Paddie's Spring, which was the first in this part of the State. The next settlers were the McDonalds and Burkhardts, who settled on Robidoux Creek, and were followed by John Sherrill, Wm. Thornton, the Baldridges and the Carters, with their families, who located at Buffalo Lick, now the town of Licking.

William Thornton, still living in the county, was one of the first members of the county court, and used to ride 50 or 60 miles from his home to the county seat, receiving two dollars per diem, and no mileage for going or returning.

The first town settled was Ellsworth, on Piney River, in 1837. The county was organized Feb. 14th, 1845, and in 1846, Houston, the present county seat, was laid out. R. Y. Smiley, who built the first house and was the first merchant in the place, is still living in the county on Elk Creek.

Texas County suffered greatly during the Civil War, but is now growing steadily, the fertility, healthfulness and beauty of the county, all attracting an excellent class of people. Land is still cheap, improved farms selling at from $5 to $10 per acre.

Physical Features
The Ozark Mountains extend through this county and a considerable part of the surface is broken. There is but little prairie land, all of which is good, and the bottoms on the streams are exceedingly rich.

The county is well watered by Big Piney, which flows through the central part, and its numerous tributaries, chief of which on the east are Boone, Brushy, Indian, Hog and Elk Creeks; on the west, Hamilton and Peavine. In the northwestern part is Robidoux, in the eastern, Current River, and in the southeastern, Jack's Fork of Current River with its affluents, Pine and Little Pine.

The timber consists of oak, walnut, hickory and three large pineries, one in the central part of the county, one in the northeast and one in the southeast, on Jack's Fork.

There is a large cave about two miles from Houston said to be well worth exploring.

The Agricultural Productions are wheat, corn, rye, oats, grass and tobacco. This last is becoming an important production. Several varieties of fruits have been tried and succeed admirably.

Mineral Resources
The indications of lead and iron have been sufficiently tested to show that they exist in paying quantities. Silver is also thought to exist.

The Manufacturing Interests consist of several flouring and saw mills and 2 tobacco factories.

Valuation of the county per census of 1870, $2,500,000.*

The Exports are corn, wheat, rye, hides and stock.

Educational Interest's
Public schools are established in nearly all the districts, and there are several private schools of considerable importance.

Texas County Places in 1875

Big Creek, is a post office 12 miles south east of Houston.

Casto, is a post office 18 miles south east of Houston.

Cedar Bluff, is a post office 18 miles south south west of Houston.

Dykes, is a post office 10 miles west of Houston.

Elk Cree, is a post office 12 miles south of Houston.

Ellsworth, is a post office on Big Piney, 10 miles north of Houston.

Gravel Point, is a post office 18 miles south west of Houston.

Hickory Springs, is a post office 25 miles south west of Houston.

HOUSTON, the county seat, situated on Brushy Creek, near the center of the county, about 55 miles south south west of Rolla, Phelps County, has about 200 inhabitants. It has a good court-house and an academy, 4 stores, and is quite a business place for an inland town.

Licking, 16 miles north north east of Houston, is a growing village situated in a rich farming district. It has 1 steam mill, 3 stores, 2 churches, M. E. and M. E. Church South, and a population of about 200.

Plato, 23 miles north west of Houston, is a new town, containing 2 stores, and surrounded by a fertile and well watered country.

Plum Valley, is a post office 10 miles west north wwest of Houston.

Raymondville, is a post office 9 miles north east of Houston.

Robidoux, is a post office 17 miles north west of Houston.

Ruth, is a post office 13 miles north east of Houston.

Sherrill, is a post office 20 miles north north east of Houston.

Stanford, is a post office 8 miles south west of Houston.

Summersville, 24 miles south east of Houston, located in a productive valley, has 2 stores.

*Assessed valuation in 1873, $1,166,375. Taxation, $1.25 per $100. Floating debt, $600.

Source: Campbell's Gazetteer of Missouri, Revised Edition, by R. A. Campbell, Published by R. A. Campbell,
St. Louis, Missouri, 1875

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