By Kim Steele
Killeen Daily Herald
In Lampasas, Coryell and Bell counties, state historical markers commemorate everything from floods and feuds to cemeteries and churches.
Jeff Jackson, vice chairman of the Lampasas County Historical Commission, said the county's 84 markers are two types: subjects and buildings.
"A lot of these were subjects that I chose," said Jackson, the county's marker chairman for 15 years. "I felt like these places needed to have historical markers."
One such marker tells the story of the 1957 flood in southwestern Lampasas. Following a long drought, sustained downpours caused a downtown flood that washed away cars and other property. Five people died in the incident, which became a turning point in city planning and development, as new flood-control measures were instituted soon afterward.
Another marker describes the feud between the Horrell and Higgins families. Tensions between the early settlers led to an ambush, a downtown Lampasas gunfight and several deaths.
"Some people do go out looking for these markers," said Jackson. "There are folks who are interested in that sort of thing. If they're out having fun and they have time, they may stop and look at them. You can almost tell the history of a county from its historical markers."
Coryell County has 56 markers, and Bell County boasts 208 markers, including one near Nolanville that records the route to one of the oldest Indian trails in the Southwest and an escape point for raiding Comanche Indians.
In March 1859, Comanches killed four settlers and captured a couple's two daughters. The Indians abandoned the girls at the gap as they fled from a posse. Public sentiment after this led to a campaign by the U.S. cavalry against the Comanches.
"The markers tell the future generations the history of the county and what the people went through to settle it," said Dorothy Button, chairperson of the Bell County Historical Commission in Belton. "I have a lot of people who tell me they travel from marker to marker on the weekends, reading them. These historical markers are a very important way to educate people."
Contact Kim Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567.