Alene Drinkard

The 1941-42 Texas Almanac and State Industrial Guide, published by The Dallas Morning News, stated that “Located in Central West Texas, Brown County has a rolling to hilly surface, interspersed with fertile valleys and level table land.”

“Created in 1856 from Comanche and Travis Counties, organized in 1857, named for Captain Henry S. Brown, hero of the Texas Revolution and the first white man to visit the Brown County area in 1828, in pursuit of a band of Comanches. Altitude is 1,200 to 1,700 ft. Annual rainfall, 26.2 in., mean annual temperature is 65.3 degrees; July temperature is 84.0 degrees and January temperature averages 46.5 degrees.

“More than fifty distinct types of soil are found in Brown County, chiefly alluvial and ranging from brown to black, marly and variegated clays to clay, chocolate and sandy loams, fine sands and calcareous.

“Mesquite, blackjack, post oak, live oak, pecan, sycamore and cottonwood timber. The county has varied mineral products, including oil (549-464 bbls.), natural gas, brick clay, which are produced commercially; there are deposits of limestone, silica sand and coal.

“Brown County crops are varied. Cotton (4,216 bales in 1940), corn, wheat, oats, millet, rye, barley, grain sorghums, hay, broomcorn and maize are raised. Vegetables grown include potatoes, beans, cabbage, spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes. Watermelons and cantaloupes are raised extensively, also peaches. Pecans from the Colorado River and Pecan Bayou watersheds are shipped out by the carload annually. Soil conservation practices are followed on crop lands and ranges; prickly pear eradication and land contouring are increasing. An experimental station for fruit trees is located in the county.

“Beef and sheep ranching bring regular income; dairying is advancing. Large production of dressed turkeys.

“Damming of the Pecan Bayou and Jim Ned Creek, seven miles north of Brownwood, formed Lake Brownwood’s 140,000 feet of water, which provides water for irrigation, as well as a recreational center. A state park is on its shores.

Brownwood (13,398), the county seat, has grown enormously since the establishment of Camp Bowie in late 1940. Manufactured items include brick, clothing, food and petroleum products. It has several farmers; cooperative warehouses. Howard Payne and Daniel Baker colleges are located here. Bangs (756) farming center, Zephyr (750) is in the eastern part of the county. Other rural centers are May (413), Blanket (327), Brookesmith (150), Fry, Thrifty, Cross Cut, Grosvenor, Owens, Indian Creek and Winchell.

“The most noteworthy of Brown County wild flowers is the legally adopted state flower (by act of Legislature March 7, 1901), the bluebonnet, also known as buffalo clover, or wolf flower, an annual which grows on the limestone hillsides. It blooms in erect clusters of blue, bonnet-shaped flowers splotched with red or white on the upper petals.

“Brown County’s reputation as a hunting ground rests primarily on its abundance of deer. Of the relatively large variety of snakes in Brown County, only four are poisonous. These are the rattlesnake, the copperhead, the moccasin and the coral snake. Next to deer, the most prized game in Brown County is the wild turkey.

Alene Drinkard’s Brown County History column appears in the Brownwood Bulletin the first and third Sunday of each month. She may be reached at 646-7389.