Palo Pinto County on Tour

 Raf, his sister Mary, and I went on the Palo Pinto County Tour presented each year by the Palo Pinto County Historical Commission.  Our first stop was Lovers Retreat.

Lovers Retreat is west of Palo Pinto just off of US Highway 180, situated on part of the old Bankhead Highway.  Now, you may be surprised, but we have never been there, and we were astounded with its beauty.

The name originally came, in one story, because a settler named Lovers who settled in Golconda, the first name of Palo Pinto, was out chasing stray cows when Indians spotted him.  He was able to hide from them in a cave above Eagle Creek near a spring.  He was successful in eluding the Indians.

The land was purchased by the Barney Carter family in 1932 is now in the hands of a Carter descendant, Mrs. Eloise Beckworth Davidson.  Her son, veteran Carter Beckworth, is buried on the land very near the creek.

From Lovers Retreat we traveled to Johnson League Ranch off Highway 919 about five miles north of the town of Gordon.  It was owned in 1880 by brothers William Whipple Johnson and Harvey Johnson who were instrumental in the discover of coal in Thurber, Texas, in 1887, as well as being the first settlers of Strawn, Texas.

This land was part of the John Bird League Survey of 1850 and was the first deeded land in Palo Pinto County.  When the Johnsons purchased the league, or 4,200 acres, it was named the Johnson League Ranch.  It was sold in the 1940s to Claude Allen, and A. D. Crawford inherited it in 1960.  Today it is a working cattle ranch owned by the Crawford family.

 Here Raf is visiting with former student, Jeff Crawford, whose family owns the ranch.

We ate lunch at Mary's Cafe in Strawn, Texas.  The food is good, but, honestly, there is WAY too much of it!
 We went to the new Palo Pinto Mountain State Park west of Strawn on Tucker Lake.

Another historical ranch we visited was the Belding Ranch off Highway 16 near Possum Kingdom Lake.  Henry Belding settled there in 1859 with his wife, who was Oliver Loving’s niece.  The core of the ranch home is the remains of the log house first built there.  It is one of only five long cabins still in Palo Pinto County, and the Belding family owns the property to this day.

It was a very beautiful day!


Felisol said…
Wow. What a day. You've seen more in 24 hours than most of us do in a month. I'm amazed about the many different spaces and input you got on your one day travel. I liked the place of Lovers retreat. Honestly, I thought of other lovers than a refugee. The scenery was marvellous. I always find that water enhances any location.
You seem to have full summer, while we hardly have said goodbye to king Winter.
I am a tiny bit envious.
Very good and inspiring report though.
Annie said…
This is all so fascinating, Sue. I would love to see the hanging bridge in the early pictures. Perhaps I will since Don and I will be in Texas next January. We will be on our way to Missouri but have plans to make two stops in Texas and you and Raf are one of them. SURPRISE!!
That looks like a fun day for you guys.
judie said…
You know what, it looks like a lovely place down by Lovers Creek to spend time sketching, or that wide landcape doing some painting. Nice place! Thanks for sharing.
Barbara said…
Interesting visit and glad to share it with you. I do not like rope bridges though. The worst I did was the Mile High bridge on Grand Father Mountain in North Carolina.
Goodolelady said…
my mother was born and raised in Caddo, TX in Stephens county, near Palo Pinto. my Grandmother grew up in Mineral Wells. Loved the Pal Pinto tour, and was wondering what that little fortlike structure was, made of rock?

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