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Eastland County

Father and son lake fishing

Eastland County boasts some of the Texas West Cross Timbers regions’ prettiest tree-covered recreational hunting land, less than two hours west of the Metroplex down I-20. The county was named for William Mosby Eastland, the only officer in the Texas Revolution Mier Expedition executed during the 1842 “Black Bean Executions.” The world-famous Ranger Oil Boom happened here, with stories of wild saloons, midnight killings and soaring “black gold” gushers drawing tycoons from around the world.

Eastland, Cisco, Ranger, Carbon and Gorman call this county home. The city of Eastland offers Walmart, Tractor Supply and many other stores and restaurants, convenient to your ranch’s front gate. Land ranges from quiet valleys and mountains on the east, to more rolling vistas in the center and west of the county. Unique “pay attention” land and ground water traits in the area make hiring a real estate professional with local knowledge a good idea.

Elevations range from about 1,200 to 1,800 feet above sea level. Most of the county is drained by tributaries to the Leon River, the Sabanna River and Palo Pinto Creek. The average annual rainfall is just over 27 inches.

Big Foot Wallace is said to have traveled through the county in 1837, but the earliest known documented settler was Frank Sanchez, settling along the Jim Neal Creek south of Ranger in the 1850s. The base of his log cabin’s chimney still exists.

The McGough Springs and Mansker Lake communities (later “Alameda”) were established before the Civil War. Blair’s Fort (near present day Desdemona) was built around 1860, allowing several local pioneer families to “fort up” together in protection against Penetekah Comanche raids. The Comanche, Kiowa and other Native peoples made their home here, with artifacts continually coming to light to this day. Prehistoric mastodon remains and fossil evidence of our times just after the glaciers have been discovered in several areas of the county.

The Texas and Pacific Railway reached Eastland County in 1881, which was a game changer. Suddenly the county was a path to the expanding west and able to receive and ship goods back to the east. Oil was struck in Ranger in 1917, inaugurating the legendary Ranger Oil Boom and epic oil and gas production in this and surrounding counties. Thousands of characters both interesting and picturesque came to the county during that time seeking their fortunes. The Eastland County Museum on Eastland’s courthouse square boasts one of the premier collections in the area, put together largely by local pioneering families.

Eastland County is now largely agricultural, though growing numbers of Metroplex residents enjoy second homes and recreational ranches here.

 


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