Fannin County, Texas


Read about historic Ector in Fannin County Folks & Facts.

The following article was published in the August, 16, 1992 issue of the Bonham Daily Favorite.

Historic Ector

By John Frair

As settlers migrated into Fannin County in the early 1800s, most of the first settlements were located along the Red River and then gradually moved inland along its tributaries.  The rivers and creeks were one of the main contributing factors for the location of the communities.

Bois d'Arc, Caney and other creeks gave abundant amounts of both water and timber as they wound their way into the Red River.

Only the more adventuresome dared venture into the prairies and interior of the county because of the constant danger of Indian attacks in the 1830s and 40s.

In the early 1800s Ector had thick woods to the north and east.  To the south east was a 600 acre track known as McClung thicket.  Like other thickets in Fannin County this thicket was almost impenetrable.  Carrie Robinson writing the history of Ector in 1936 described the area in the early 1800s, "For neighbors there were wild animals and savage Indians.  Into these rough surrounding came the early settlers to build their village, they worked and slept with their arms nearby."

​Not all the early settlers met with happy endings.One of the most publicized Indian massacres happened just north of the present town.

​George Dameron in 1838 had established a home six miles west of where Bonham is today along Caney Creek.  Because of the Indian danger he moved back to Fort Inglish.  In 1842 he convinced his brother-in-law, Dr. William Hunter, if the two families moved back there, they would provide a better group for the beginning of a settlement and also help protect each other from Indian raids.

Dr. Hunter went with Dameron and built a house for his family.  One day he and his two sons left on business leaving behind his wife, two daughters and a negro servant.

​Judge J. P. Simpson writing in The History of Fannin County, recalls, "That day about 11 o'clock one of the daughters (Elizabeth) went about fifty steps from the house, to get some water, and was attacked, killed and scalped by the Indians, who were laying in ambush at the spring. The Indians then charged upon the house, killed Mrs. Hunter (Minerva Turner) and the negro woman and took the little girl (Amanda) prisoner.  The negro woman had probably fought like a heroine for she was found dead with a stick in her hand, and marks on it, as it had been used on the Indian's heads."

The two women were scalped and tomahawked, the beds were ripped open and then the feathers were dumped on the bleeding bodies.

Simpson continues, "They took as much bed clothing as they could carry, and having lariated a wild mule, took the little girl land started for home."

According to the story Amanda Hunter told after her rescue, the Indians stoped enroute to their camp an done tried to ride the mule.  He was thrown and dragged by the mule some distance and in the process lost both his tomahawk and scalping knife.  As they left the area the little girl was carried on the Indian's back when she got tired until they reached their village.

Alonzo Larking, who lived around Ravenna was visiting Judge Simpson and left his house to visit the Hunters the morning the women were killed.  When he arrived at their house that night he stumbled over the bodies and immediately went the mile distance to George Dameron's house to report their deaths.

The young firl was bought back from the Iindians about 8-months later by some Indian traders and ransomed by the Texas government for $300.  She latter married a Mr. Jeffery.

The area was only a collection of closely packed homesteads until the Texas and Pacific railroad finished its tracks in 1873.  Like many of the earliest community in Fannin County, as Monkstown, Tulip, and even Bonham were originally colonized because of their closeness to waters of the Red River and Bois d'Arc Creek, the coming of the railroad and the iron horse caused small communities to spring up along its path.

No longer did the early settlers have to have the water of the creeks and rivers for transportation of their trade goods.

Randolph, Leonard and Ector along with other communities became railroad towns.  Victor Station, as Ector was first called, was described by the Bonham News soon after its establishment in 1874.

"Victor is situated on the railroad, six miles west of Bonham.  It is only a few months old, and originated from a necessity.  Situated as it is in a beautiful valley, bordering on Caney Creek, where the settlements were so thick, the farmers so industrious, the soil so rich, the great amount of produce they raised, that it was too far to haul to Bonham, hence they had to have a shipping point near home."

Victor Station was renamed, for the name suggested by Hick Owen, as early settler, for his son Ector Owen when it was discovered Texas already had a post office for a town named Victor.

Moses Allen with his family of 20 children owned several acres of land near ector after their arrival in 1844.  They were soon joined by Judge J. P. Simpson, John Arch Nelms, Josh Linton, John William and Daniel Dulaney, Bill Fitzgerald, J. R. Bales, and others.

Churches were organized as soon as homes were established.  The Methodist church was established in 1882 followed by the Baptist Church in 1894.

Ector's first school was taught by Tom and Frank Moorman.  The Bonham News of 1897 printed a news account of the establishment of the Ector Normal and Training School.

"The Constantine Lodge of Bonham laid a corner stone for Ector College.  This is the old Ravenna College.  Professor F. M. Gibson is the principal and Colonel James O. Chenoweth delivered the address."

The college did not survive many years and most of the students were eventually transferred to Grayson County College.

In the late 1800s Ector had several doctors including Dr. N. D. Hampton, Dr. G. M. Cobb, and Dr. Boyd.  The Dulaney brothers, John and William, operated a cotton gin there for 50 years, finally selling it to M. G. Davis of Trenton.  The cotton gin eventually was replaced by the Gaylen Murray Grain Elevator.  In 1975 they shipped over 22 million pounds of grain.

The turn of the century brought improvements and growth to the community.  A paved road went through Ector and connected Bonham with Sherman.  The business district expanded to the northern side of the railroad tracks and along the new highway.

Businesses in the mid-1900s included Laroe Llumber, Houston and Pritchett general store, Everett Mitchell grocery, R. R. Morgan drug store, B. F. Butts grocery, E. G. Gilley's Ector Drug Store and the Ector Bank that finally closed in the 1930s.

For a while it looked like Ector would have a third prosperous chapter added to its history with the hope that oil would be found in the area.  Drilling for the black crude was attempted in 1935 and later in the 1950s without success in find the elusive oil.