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Sterling City in Sterling County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Sterling County

 
 
Sterling County Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
1. Sterling County Marker
Inscription.
This prairie region split by the north Concho River is old Comanche, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Lipan, and Wichita hunting ground. Possibly it was crossed by six or so Spanish explorations between 1540 and 1654. In the 1860s and 70s, Anglo-Americans hunted buffalo commercially in this area. An 1860s hunter, Capt. W. S. Sterling, had a dugout home on the creek that bears his name. In the 1870s, bandits Frank and Jesse James kept horse herds on a tributary of Sterling Creek. In 1874 the United States Army occupied Camp Elizabeth, a Fort Concho outpost hospital, about ten miles west of here. Ranchers from other counties began to bring in large cattle herds in the 1870s, to capitalize on free grass. After keeping out small herds for a time, they permitted actual settlers to share the range. Family men staked land claims, grew crops in the valleys, and opened stores, schools, and post offices. On March 4, 1891, on the petition of 150 citizens, the county was created out of part of Tom Green County, and named for its first regular resident. Sterling City became the county seat.

Petroleum production has been important to the economy since the 1950s; yet the land essentially remains range country, grazed by cattle and sheep.
 
Erected 1976 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker
Sterling County Marker (<i>wide view; Sterling County Courthouse in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
2. Sterling County Marker (wide view; Sterling County Courthouse in background)
Number 5113.)
 
Location. 31° 50.178′ N, 100° 59.258′ W. Marker is in Sterling City, Texas, in Sterling County. Marker is on 4th Avenue (U.S. 87) east of Elm Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located on the grounds of the Sterling County Courthouse, near the street and the front sidewalk leading to the main entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 609 4th Avenue, Sterling City TX 76951, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sterling County Jail (within shouting distance of this marker); State Hotel – First State Bank (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Concho, San Saba & Llano Valley Railroad Station (approx. half a mile away); Town of Cummins (approx. 1.9 miles away); Montvale (approx. 3.3 miles away); Camp Elizabeth (approx. 9.2 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Sterling County Courthouse & Jail
 
Also see . . .
1. Sterling County.
Fur traders, Texas Rangers, and federal troops passed through the area between 1800 and 1860. As elsewhere in the region settlement began after the Civil War, when the United States Army pushed the Indians to the west, and the buffalo herds were destroyed. Among the earliest
Sterling County Courthouse (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
3. Sterling County Courthouse (view from near marker)
settlers in the area were W. S. Sterling and S. J. Wiley, both buffalo hunters. According to legend, Frank and Jesse James hid out on Sterling Creek in the 1870s to raise horses and hunt buffalo. (Submitted on April 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Sterling County, Texas.
The region had a number of violent encounters between the Comanche, local ranchmen, and Texas Rangers. A deadly skirmish occurred in the 1870s between area ranchmen and the Comanche on the Lacy Creek on the present day Campstool Ranch. “The Fight at Live Oak Mott” is an account of the events as written by W.K. Kellis, in the Sterling City News-Record, and later published in Frontier Times by J. Marvin Hunter. In 1879, the last significant battle between the Texas Rangers and the Comanche occurred on the "U" Ranch, at the time the ranch was owned by Earnest and Holland. (Submitted on April 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. Sterling County, Texas.
There were three towns thought to be in contention for county seat. They were Montvale, Cummings and Sterling City. The battle for the county seat ended up between Sterling City and Cummings. Both towns had a little newspaper, and they spent several months calling each other names. They had two elections with Cummings winning the first time and Sterling City the last time. The first election was contested and turned out
Sterling County Courthouse (<i>detail view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
4. Sterling County Courthouse (detail view)
to have so many invalid votes that it was set to be held again. Then the two newspapers really began a battle. They claimed such things as who had the most mosquitoes and who had the deepest mud. At one point, one of the two editors boldly called the other one a braying jackass. But when the second vote was counted it 116 for Sterling City and 103 for Cummings. Today, Sterling City has the courthouse, the post office, a central school system, the county officials, several churches, and businesses strung out along Highway 87. Cummings is gone. (Submitted on April 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Native AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
Sterling County Courthouse (<i>side detail</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
5. Sterling County Courthouse (side detail)
Sterling County Courthouse (<i>WPA Plaque</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 8, 2013
6. Sterling County Courthouse (WPA Plaque)
Sterling County
Court House

Sterling City Texas A.D. 1938
Federal Emergency Administration
of Public Works
Docket No. Tex 1585-F
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 81 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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