Pecos County Historical Commission
Outline of Pecos County, Texas
   
 

Map of Pecos County

 

Markers in the Bakersfield Area
McKenzie Cemetery - Windy Mesa Ranch, Coon Drops

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1975-Date of Survey

 

Markers in the Coyanosa Area
Boyd Family Cemetery

Driving Instructions: North from Coyanosa on FM 1776 to FM 1450. Turn left to go west for 4.3 miles to gravel Waha Gas Plant Gate #6 on south side. Then go South 2.1 miles to the cemetery on the east (left) side.

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1900-1945

 

Markers in the Girvin Area
Girvin Cemetery

Driving Instructions: From the junction of highways 67/385 and FM 11 in Girvin, go north on FM 11 2 miles following road as it curves west. The cemetery is 50 yards south of the road, between the road and railroac tracks.

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1860-1900, 1900-1945

Horsehead Crossing

Driving Instructions: The crossing is located about 11.5 miles northwest of Girvin on FM 11 (at 31°14' N, 102°29' W).

Interesting Facts: The river forms the Pecos-Crane county line. It is the river crossing site on Butterfield trail, connecting frontier forts. Famed ford of the Pecos River, named for abundance of horse and mule skulls lining the banks in the 19th century. Many water-starved animals, stolen in Mexico by Indians and driven along the Comanche war trail, died after drinking too deeply from the river. After the California gold strike in 1848, Horsehead Crossing became a major landmark on the trail west, as it provided the first water for about 75 miles on the route from the east. Emigrants arriving here either turned northwest along the river or crossed and continued southwest to Comanche Springs at Fort Stockton. In 1858, the crossing became an important stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route from St. Louis to San Francisco. An adobe stage stand was built and a ferry put into operation, but both were abandoned in 1861, when mail service was terminated. In late 1862, during the Civil War, federal forces kept a close watch at the crossing in reaction to a threatened confederate invasion. Cattle began to be trailed across the Pecos in 1864, and in 1866, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving blazed their famous trail, which came to this point and turned upriver. Completion of two railroads across west Texas in the early 1880s caused abandonment of the crossing. 

Horse Head Crossing on the Pecos River

Driving Instructions: From Grivin, go about 11.5 miles northwest on FM 11 to Marked CR, about 4 miles north on CR to marker.

Interesting Facts: Here crossed the undated Comanche Trail from Llano Estacado to Mexico in 1850. John R. Bartlett while surveying the Mexican boundary found the crossing marked by skulls of horses; hence the name "Horse Head", the Southern Overland Mail (Butterfield), route, St. Louis to San Francisco, 1858-1861, and the road west from Fort Concho crossed here. The Goodnight-Loving trail, established in 1866 and trod by tens of thousands of Texas longhorns, came here and turned up east bank of the Pecos for Fort Summer and into Colorado.

 

Markers in the Imperial Area
Baxter-Rixse Cemetery

Driving Instructions:

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1860-1945

Imperial Cemetery

Driving Instructions: Take FM 1053 1 mile southwest from Imperial to Imperial Cemetery Road. Turn right (northwest) on Imperial Cemetery Road and go .5 miles to the cemetery on the east side of the road.

Old Buena Vista, Mexican American Cemetery

Driving Instructions: Take FM 11 southeast from Imperial 5 miles to the Old Girvin Highway. Continue southeast on Old Girvin Highway (becomes gravel) .5 miles to cemetery on northeast side of the road.

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1860-1900, 1900-1945, 1945-1975

 

Markers in the Iraan Area
Ira G. Yates Ranch Cemetery - Unknown Mexican Worker, Old Hickox Ranch Grave

Driving Instructions: In Iraan, go north on Blanton Street to 12th Street. Turn left (west) on 12th to 306. Cemetery is located 200 yards north of 12th Street on the west side of the fenceline bordering Yates Ranch.

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1900-1945

Iraan Historical Marker

Driving Instructions: The marker is located at 6th and Farr Streets in front of the Community Building.

nteresting Facts: In 1922, three local businessmen, O. W. Parker, George Thompson, and I. G. Yates, leased the drilling rights on twenty sections of ranch land to Transcontinental Oil Company. After two dry holes were drilled, the I. G. Yates well No. 1 blew in on October 28, 1926. The area around ranch headquarters became a boom town. Because it was isolated, support of the increased population became difficult. Yates converted a barn into a hotel and the area became known as Red Barn Community. In April 1927, Yates commissioned H. L. George of San Angelo to survey a townsite at this location, 3 miles north of Red Barn. A contest was held to choose a name for the new town. The winner was "Iraan", submitted by C. R. Hallmark who combined the names of Ira Yates and his wife Ann. His prize was a city lot. The first business to operate in Iraan was a service station run by K. P. Looney. A Post Office was opened in 1928. A nondenominational chapel known as Union Church was set up from contributions by Yates and Mid-Kansas Oil Company. During the boom days of Iraan, V. T. Hamlin worked as a free-lance writer. It was here that he created the comic strip "Alley Oop" . A park honoring his cartoon characters is located in the city.

Marathon Oil Company Discovery Well

Driving Instructions: Located on US 190/SH 349 at the western edge of Iraan.

Interesting Facts: Opening one of greatest oil fields in the world, Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company (a subsidiary wholly owned by the Ohio Oil Company, whose name has now been changed to Marathon Oil Company) brought in the I. G. Yates "A" No. 1 well on October 29, 1926. The well at the shallow depth of 1,150 feet had a rated potential daily flow of 72,869 barrels. Previously oil men had said: "You won't find any oil west of the Pecos." This did not stop the work of Mid-Kansas Oil and Gas Company and its partner, Transcontinental Oil Company, later acquired by Marathon Oil Company. The strike was sensational. Scarcely more than a year later, the Yates field had 100 wells--two of which had higher yields than Yates No. 1. Under the 20,000-acres Ira G. Yates ranch and adjoining lands lay one of the largest oil reserves in the world. The many developers voluntarily adopted proration. Their plans for allocating and restricting Yates fields production were approved by the Texas Railroad Commission in 1928. This was the first complete commission in 1928. This was the first complete proration of an oil field in the state --and an important milestone in petroleum conservation. The Yates field now has 607 wells.

Memory Garden Cemetery

Driving Instructions: Go 5 miles east of Iraan on the south side of Highway 29.

Interesting Facts: Time Periods of Burials: 1900-1945, 1945-1975, 1975-Date of Survey

Restland Cemetery Driving Instructions: Go 3.5 miles northwest of Iraan on the north side of Highway 349.

 

Markers in the Sheffield Area
Canon Ranch Archeological District

Interesting Facts: LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER
Significant Dates: 1000
Cultural Affiliation: Paleo-Indian; Archaic; Late Prehistoric
Areas of Significance: Prehistoric; Historic - Non-Aboriginal
Current Function: Agriculture/Subsistence
Subfunction: Animal Facility
Historic Function: Domestic; Industry/Processing/Extraction; Agriculture/Subsistence
Historic Subfunction: Water Works; Camp; Animal Facility; Institutional Housing
Periods of Significance: 5000-6999 BC; 7000-8999 BC; 1499-1000 AD; 1900-1750 AD; 9000-10999 BC; 1749-1500 AD; 1000 AD-999 BC; 1000-2999 BC; 3000-4999 BC
Acreage: 160,000

Canon Ranch Railroad Eclipse Windmill

Driving Instructions: West of Sheffield on the Canon Ranch.

Interesting Facts: LISTED IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER

Period of Significance: 1900-1924; 1875-1899

The Canon Ranch Railroad Eclipse Windmill is located on the Charles C. Canon Ranch west of the town of Sheffield, Texas. The windmill and well are located in the corral area near the ranch headquarters.

The Railroad Eclipse Windmill was made of wood, cast iron, and steel. The wheel had a total of two hundred and thirty-two wooden blades, which were bolted in sections to a wooden wheel frame. The head, or operating portion of the windmill, located at the top of the wooden tower, was made of cast iron and steel and used habitant bearings. Attached to the head were two tails, one for speed control and the other for on-off control. Both of these tails were of wood reinforced with small amounts of cast iron and steel.

The original tower was replaced with a newer "telescoped" tower in 1915. This tower remains in use at the present time. The windmill continued to serve the ranch for many years, but in time it was replaced by a power pump. In the early 1960's the mill was damaged by a severe windstorm. Then in 1964, Charles C. Canon, the son of the original builder of the mill, had the windmill completely restored and placed in operating condition over the original well. At the present time the wooden parts of the mill are painted light green with black trim. The tower is painted white. The wheel of the mill is 22.5 feet in diameter. The wheel, cut-off vane, and regulator vane are composed mostly of wood with some cast iron and steel parts. The pump mechanism is likewise made of wood and cast iron.

Today, an electric motor is operating the plunger of the well beneath the windmill. The windmill is in excellent operating condition and could be connected to the plunger, providing ample water for ranch and livestock use. Since the windmill has been recently restored, no further work seems to be in order except for periodic maintenance. Due to the fact that the Eclipse Windmill is in near perfect condition, it may be one of the last working large windmills that can be observed. The Canon Ranch Railroad Eclipse Windmill is one of the few operable Railroad Eclipse Windmills remaining in the United States. These windmills were the largest commercially produced windmills in the United States and were used extensively along the railway routes through the arid Southwest. The Canon Ranch Railroad Eclipse Windmill operated for many years as the primary source for water at the Canon Ranch headquarters.

One of the most important engineering achievements which influenced the development of West Texas and New Mexico was the windmill. Windmills have been used in Europe since before the 12th century. However, the European windmill, often 50 to 100 feet in diameter, was too large to be successfully used and transported in the West. Daniel Halladay, a mechanic from Connecticut, is credited with the invention of the first American windmill in 1954 which proved to be a marketable product. In 1857. the U.S. Wind Engine Company was formed for manufacturing the Halladay windmill.

The first windmill's came to West Texas about 1881 with the coming of the railroads. A dependable supply of good quality water was necessary for steam locomotive boiler supply. Both the Southern Pacific and Texas & Pacific Railroads made use of the windmill for water supply. These railroads used windmills made by the Eclipse Windmill Company similar to the once located at the Canon Ranch. Wind Engine Company was formed for manufacturing the Halladay windmill.

In 1898 William Canon, the owner of extensive ranching interests west of the Pecos River in Texas, was determined to replace the mule-driven pump at his ranch headquarters with a wind-driven pump. He probably chose the large railroad-style Eclipse Windmill because of its ability to pump water from deep drilled wells. The model that he chose, a twenty-two and a half foot diameter windmill, was the largest ever constructed by the Eclipse Company.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON FILE IN THE NATIONAL REGISTER

Sheffield Historical Marker

Driving Instructions: Marker is located on SH 290 in front of the community swimming pool.

Interesting Facts: Spanish explorers traveled Indian trails here in the Pecos River Valley as early as 1590. Later, U.S. Cavalry, a camel train, and stage and mail lines between San Antonio and San Diego, California, used the route. Nearby Pecos Spring attracted settlers to the area in the 1880s and 90s. Families lived in tents on the north side of the creek and hauled water from the spring. About 1890 a community water well was dug. Early residents were sheep and cattle ranchers. Mail and supplies had to be brought from San Angelo and Ozona. About 1901 Will Sheffield built a grocery and dry goods store approximately one mile from the spring. A post office opened with Will Sheffield as postmaster. Since he was the first to operate a store, the settlement was named for him. A saloon was opened, and in 1901 a school was begun with sixty-four pupils. After living for several years in tents, residents began building permanent homes. Garrett Bean purchased a section of land from the state where the present townsite is located and drew off town lots in 1905. Well-known Texas Ranger Frank Hamer got his start in law enforcement here. Sheffield offers churches and a trade center for area ranches.