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Hansford County, Texas

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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Hansford County, Texas.


In 1873, English brothers James Hamilton Cator and Arthur J. L. (Bob) Cator were sent by their father, British naval officer Captain John Bertie Cator, to Kansas in search of financial opportunity. The brothers soon found their true calling as buffalo hunters and established an outpost along the North Palo Duro Creek. They named this camp Zulu, and it soon became known as Zulu Stockade.

The depletion of the buffalo herds led in part to the ongoing conflict between Indians and settlers. The Second Battle of Adobe Walls took place in neighboring Hutchinson County in 1874 and led to the Red River War of 1874–1875. A group of buffalo hunters attempted a revitalization of Fort Adobe. The Comanches, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa saw the fort and the decimation of the buffalo herd as threats to their existence. Comanche medicine man Isa-tai prophesied a victory and immunity to the white man's bullets in battle. Quanah Parker lead several hundred in a raid on the fort. The buffalo hunters were able to force the Indians into retreat. The Red River War of 1874-1875 was a United States Army campaign to force the removal of Indians in Texas and their relocation to reservations, to open the region to white settlers.

Early large ranches in Hansford County were spread in neighboring counties, as well. By 1890, 23 ranches were in operation in the county. In November 1876, Kansan Thomas Sherman Bugbee established the Quarter Circle T Ranch. The Scissors Ranch was begun in 1878 by William E. Anderson at the Adobe Walls site. Coloradan Richard E. McNalty moved to Texas and began the Turkey Track Ranch, which he sold to Charles Wood and Jack Snider in 1881. Scotland born James M. Coburn formed the Hansford Land and Cattle Company. The Quarter Circle T Ranch and Scissors Ranch were sold to Coburn in 1882. Coburn acquired the Turkey Track Ranch in 1883.

In 1887, Hansford became a stage stop on the old Tascosa-Dodge City Trail.

In 1909, Anders L. Mordt began to bring in Norwegian farmers to settle the northern part of the county, centering on a rural community they named Oslo.

By 1920, 221 farms and ranches had been established in the county. The same year, the North Texas and Santa Fe Railway built into Spearman. By 1929, Spearman became the county seat, replacing Hansford. Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway built southward in the 1920s leading to Gruver, becoming the second-largest town in the county.

Oil was discovered in Hansford County in 1937. By the end of 1974, 38,279,469 barrels had been extracted from county lands since 1937.

Adjacent Counties

Cities & Communities

  • Gruver
  • Hitchland (part)
  • Morse
  • Spearman (County Seat)



Genealogy Trails

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USGW Archives