Armstrong County Historical Markers

Texas Plains Trail Region

Map of Armstrong County

Topics (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Armstrong County | Armstrong County Jail | Armstrong County Museum | Coronado Expedition, Route of | Dye, Dugout of W.M. | Goodnight Ranch, Site of Old | Goodnight, Charles | Goodnight, Town of | Hamblen Family, S.P. | Home Ranch, Old | Indian Scare of 1891, Great Panhandle | Palo Duro, First Battle of the

Armstrong County

Marker Title: Armstrong County
City: Claude
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Courthouse lawn, northwest corner of US 287 and Trice St., Claude.
Marker Text: Created 1876. Name honors several Texas pioneers named Armstrong. Ranching became the chief industry when huge JA Ranch was established here in 1876. Farming was introduced after the railroad came through, 1887. County was organized in 1890. Present courthouse was built 1912. (1969)

Armstrong County Jail

Marker Title: Armstrong County Jail
City: Claude
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: On US 287, one block west of Courthouse Square, Claude.
Marker Text: Erected in 1953, this building is constructed of stone used to build the first masonry jail in Armstrong County, 1894. Stone for the structure (which replaced a primitive, frame "calaboose") was quarried 14 miles south at Dripping Springs in Palo Duro Canyon and then hauled here in wagons driven by local citizens. The rock was cut at this site. The 1894 building had two stories, topped by a dome, and 20-inch walls. So sturdy was it that dangerous convicts from other counties were kept here. Old-timers remember that only three prisoners ever escaped. (1969)

Armstrong County Museum

Museum Name: The Armstrong County Museum, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 450
City: Claude
Zip Code: 79019-0450
Street Address: 120 N. Trice Street
Area Code: 806
Phone: 226-2187
County: Armstrong
Museum Classification: General, History, Art, Non-Historic Structure.

Route of Coronado Expedition

Marker Title: Route of Coronado Expedition
City: Claude
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: Courthouse Square, northwest corner of US 287 and Trice Street, Claude.
Marker Text: Led by Francisco Vazquez de Coronado, this trail-blazing expedition set out from Mexico City in 1541 in search of Cibola, fabled 7 Cities of Gold. Finding only Indian pueblos, Coronado changed his course for Quivira, a supposedly wealthy Indian kingdom. This quest brought the entourage across the Panhandle plains to present Tule Canyon. Then with 30 men, Coronado went north by "Needle Point" -- a route taking in Palo Duro Canyon and present Armstrong County, via Claude. He next continued into Kansas, but failing to find riches, returned to Mexico in 1542. (1969)

Dugout of W.M. Dye

Marker Title: Dugout of W.M. Dye
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1983
Marker Location: From Claude, take SH 207 about 13 miles south, then take FM 2227 about 3.5 miles east to roadside marker.
Marker Text: William Miles Dye was born in Kentucky in 1864 and moved to Texas with his parents in 1870. He settled in this area in 1891, one year after the organization of Armstrong County. By hauling rock from Palo Duro Canyon, Dye helped in the construction of the first county jail in Claude (13 mi. N). Still visible (10 yds. N) is the lower portion of the dugout he built for his family. Dugouts often were constructed in areas, such as the Texas Panhandle, where building materials were in short supply. (1983)

Site of Old Goodnight Ranch

Marker Title: Site of Old Goodnight Ranch
City: Goodnight
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: near intersection of US 287 and FM 294, 1 mile east of Goodnight.
Marker Text: First ranch in the Texas Panhandle; established in 1876 by Charles Goodnight 1836-1929; noted scout, Indian fighter, trail blazer and rancher; The Burbank of the Range.

Charles Goodnight

Marker Title: Charles Goodnight
City: Goodnight
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: US 287, east city limits, Goodnight
Marker Text: (1836-1929). Illinois-born, came to Texas in 1845. At 19, on way to gold field, saw ranching possibilities, and started herd in Palo Pinto area. In the Civil War scouted for the frontier regiment in northwest Texas, New Mexico and Indian Territory. With Oliver Loving, pioneered Goodnight-Loving Trail across deserts and Indian lands, 1866. Established in 1876 the first Texas Panhandle ranch, in Palo Duro Canyon, longtime winter shelter of Plains Indians. Later with Irish partner, expanded into the great JA Ranch. Founded old Goodnight College. (1964)

Town of Goodnight

Marker Title: Town of Goodnight
City: Goodnight
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Roadside Park on US 287 at eastern city limits of Goodnight
Marker Text: Named in honor of Charles Goodnight, 1836-1929, noted scout, Indian fighter and trail blazer who established the first ranch in the Texas Panhandle in 1876 and is also known as the Burbank of the Range.

S.P. Hamblen Family

Marker Title: S.P. Hamblen Family
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: From Claude, take SH 207 about 17.5 miles south to roadside park inside Palo Duro Canyon Grounds.
Marker Text: Pioneered at this site, in dugout to the west. S.P. Hamblen (1846-1930) and wife Virginia Ann (1861-1950) settled in Lakeview area (9 mi. S of Claude) in 1889. Hamblen helped establish Lakeview School, 1890. He engaged in farming and stockraising, and also dealt in cedar posts cut in Palo Duro Canyon and sold in Amarillo at 3 cents each. Hauls over the old Indian trail were made with such great effort that W.H. Hamblen (oldest son, who helped his father) longed for good roads and later was designer of Hamblen Drive. Mrs. Hamblen, at home with her children, tended the ranch, courageously protecting family from the prevalent rattlesnakes, and repulsing vicious lobo wolves that attacked the young cattle. The Hamblens lived at this site, known as Mesquite Flat, in 1901-1902. The father and older sons, W.H., David and Claude, put up corrals and a barn, and then built the rockwalled 24 x 36-foot dugout. The tenth child of the family, Luther Ray Hamblen, was born in the Mesquite Flat dugout on March 3, 1902. Moving from this place, the Hamblens sought the best location for educating their children, who in the tradition of their parents became respected citizens of the west. (1970)

Old Home Ranch

Marker Title: Old Home Ranch
City: Claude
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1970
Marker Location: At Harrell Ranch Headquarters, 27.5 miles SW of Claude on FM 1288.
Marker Text: First ranch in the Panhandle, established in 1876 by Charles Goodnight (1836-1929). The original ranch headquarters, located on the south side of the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River (7 miles SE), was built by Goodnight in the fall of 1876. In June 1877, Goodnight entered a partnership with Irishman John G. Adair and founded the "JA" Ranch. Adair died in 1885, and his wife, Cornelia Ritchie Adair, assumed the partnership with Goodnight until its dissolution in 1887. The Old Home Ranch headquarters burned in 1904. Edward Harrell purchased 35,000 acres of the "JA" in 1917, including the old ranch. (1970).

Great Panhandle Indian Scare of 1891

Marker Title: Great Panhandle Indian Scare of 1891
City: Claude
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1983
Marker Location: Courthouse Square, northwest corner of US 287 and Trice Street, Claude.
Marker Text: Although most Indians had left the Texas Panhandle by the 1880s, fear of Indian attacks was still prevalent among settlers who arrived in the next decade. On Jan. 29, 1891, rumors of approaching Indians spread throughout the entire region. For three days settlers barricaded their homes and communities and prepared to defend themselves. Later it was discovered that the rumored Indian war cries and smoke signals were actually cowboys in pursuit of a steer they finally caught and cooked over an open fire. (1983)

Palo Duro, First Battle of the

Marker Title: First Battle of the Palo Duro
City: Wayside
County: Armstrong
Year Marker Erected: 1971
Marker Location: from Wayside, take SH 207 8 miles north to roadside park
Marker Text: (Aug. 30, 1874) Opening fight in 1874-75 U.S. action against tribes supposedly on Indian Territory reservations (present Oklahoma), but actually occupying the Texas Panhandle. South from Fort Dodge, Kans., marched 750 soldiers under Gen. Nelson A. Miles, who on Aug. 28 had to leave guards with his stalled supply train. Attacked on Aug. 30 in rugged terrain by superior numbers of Cheyennes, Comanches, and Kiowas, Miles won victory in 5-hour fight at Battle Creek (10 mi. E of here) -- first of 14 fights in Red River War that broke the Indians' power in Texas Panhandle. (1971) More


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