Cities and Towns of Irion County, Texas
Marker Title: Arden Community
Address: on FM 853, about 14 mi. NE of Mertzon
Arden, on Rocky Creek in northeastern Irion County, was named for John and Katie Arden, who settled a claim at the site by 1885. The community acquired a post office in 1890 with W. P. Moore as postmaster. A local public school was established in 1892. Two short-lived schools had operated before this in the Arden district, one on Rocky Creek and the other at Sawyer. In 1915 Arden had a post office, a school, a church, and a population of fourteen. In 1947, when the community had one business and thirty residents, the Arden school was consolidated with that of Mertzon. All of the businesses had been abandoned as of 1966, except for a polling place used to preserve precinct lines. The passing of the school, low cotton prices, drought, and better opportunities in nearby larger towns were the primary causes for the decline of Arden. Since 1952 an Arden reunion has been held each Labor Day on Rocky Creek.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). Tracey L. Compton
Index Entry: Barnhart
Marker Location: off US 67, Barnhart
Barnhart, off U.S. Highway 67 and State Highway 163 in southwestern Irion County, was established in 1910 at the building of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway and was named for William F. Barnhart, agent for the railroad. In 1912 a post office was acquired with C. C. Luther as postmaster, and the first school was established with Mrs. Maude Branch as the teacher. The Barnhart Independent School District was established on February 27, 1917; the school operated until 1969. By 1920 the town also had the Barnhart State Bank, which was moved to Rankin in 1927, and a newspaper, the Barnhart Range, published by Ed Downing. In the 1920s and 1930s Barnhart became a large-volume shipping point, due to its location between major railroad lines. The population was reported as fifty in 1915. In 1947 Barnhart had 250 residents and six businesses and in 1980 seventy-four residents, a business, and a post office. In 1990 the population was 135.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leta Crawford, A History of Irion County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1966). Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). Tracey L. Compton
Index Entry: Coughlin’s Stage Stand, Site of
Marker Location: from Mertzon take FM 2469 W about 22 mi. to FM 163, go N about 10.5 mi. to private ranch road – Marker is on ranch on private property
Marker Text: On the southern overland route, St. Louis to San Francisco, 1858-1861. Later known as Camp Charlotte.
Camp Charlotte was a Civil War-era military installation located on the Middle Concho River below its confluence with Kiowa Creek in northwestern Irion County. It was established in April 1858. The site was forty-five miles west of San Angelo at the intersection of the Butterfield Overland and El Paso mail routes. The purpose of the camp was the usual one for frontier posts-protecting against Indian depredations, especially those against the overland mail. A stockade measuring 115 by 190 feet encompassed some facilities, but the officers’ quarters and guardhouse were built outside the compound. A small settlement grew up around the stage station near the fort. By the middle 1870s the post had only infantry troops, who found it difficult to police the area against Indian raids. William Garrison established a post office in the settlement in 1885, when what later became Irion County was still a part of Tom Green County. The office served the area until it was discontinued and moved to San Angelo in 1899. The site of the camp is in an isolated area of northwest Irion County west of State Highway 163. Little of the camp remained there by the 1970s except some foundations and a historical marker.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roscoe P. and Margaret B Conkling, The Butterfield Overland Mail, 1857-1869 (3 vols., Glendale, California: Clark, 1947). J. Evetts Haley, Fort Concho and the Texas Frontier (San Angelo Standard-Times, 1952). Charles G. Davis
Hughes, between Spring Creek and the Middle Concho River in east central Irion County, was named after Duwain E. Hughes, on whose ranch the settlement was located. The Hughes community was receiving its mail from Tankersley in Tom Green County in the early 1950s; the townsite was not shown on later maps.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ed Ellsworth Bartholomew, The Encyclopedia of Texas Ghost Towns (Fort Davis, Texas, 1982). Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). Charles G. Davis
Mertzon, the county seat of Irion County, is on Spring Creek, U.S. Highway 67, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line, twenty-six miles southwest of San Angelo in the east central part of the county. It was established as a post office in 1908 and was named for M. L. Mertz, a San Angelo banker who was also a director of the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway, which provided service beginning in 1911. The railroad helped Mertzon develop as the county’s largest town by attracting businesses, including two hotels, from nearby Sherwood. The community’s population was reported as 550 in 1915, and Mertzon had several churches, a school, a bank, a weekly newspaper, and other businesses. By 1933 the town was incorporated. It carried the county seat election after a spirited contest with Sherwood in 1936. During the late 1930s Mertzon’s population peaked at 950, served by some twenty-four businesses. From the 1940s to the late 1970s its population gradually declined, reaching by 1977 a low of 507. In 1988 its population was reported as 837, with nineteen businesses. At that time the town was a ranching and warehouse center for the area. It has benefited from local oil discoveries. In 1990 Mertzon reported a population of 778.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leta Crawford, A History of Irion County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1966). Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982). William R. Hunt
Noelke is on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad and a local road ten miles southwest of Mertzon in south central Irion County. The small settlement began as Monument Switch on the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway when the road built through the area in 1910. The community was renamed Noelke in 1933 in honor of a local ranch owner, Walter Montgomery Noelke. The Monument switch continued in service in Noelke for some time after that, but county maps of the 1980s show only the location of the Noelke community.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leta Crawford, A History of Irion County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1966). Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). John Leeds Kerr and Frank Donovan, Destination Topolobampo: The Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway (San Marino, California: Golden West, 1968). Charles G. Davis
Sherwood, on Farm roads 853 and 72, two miles east of Spring Creek in east central Irion County, was named for the land’s original settler, Granville B. Sherwood. According to differing sources, a post office opened in either 1881 or 1890. The town was laid out in 1886. When the county was organized in 1889, Sherwood became the county seat, and a courthouse was built. With a population of 339 in 1900 Sherwood was virtually the county’s only population center. In 1900 the voters approved the sale of bonds to construct a new courthouse, which was completed in 1901. The Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway bypassed the community in its 1910-11 construction, however. The new railroad town of Mertzon arose to draw most of the people and businesses from Sherwood. In 1936 an election designated Mertzon the county seat. In 1986 Sherwood had a population of forty-seven. In 1990 the population was seventy-three.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leta Crawford, A History of Irion County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1966). Irion County Historical Society, A History of Irion County, Texas (San Angelo: Anchor, 1978). William R. Hunt
Information above obtained from The Handbook of Texas