Comanche Creek Live Oak Grove

Texas Live Oaks, Quercus fusiformis

Located among natural springs and seeps along the headwaters of Comanche Creek, hunters and gatherers used this site for several thousand years based on archaeological findings. The grove sits at the intersection of 1800s trails leading west from Comanche Peak and southwest from Granbury, making a natural meeting point for native tribes and then early settlers. In the late 1800s, the grove was converted to a ranch site supporting a farrier, smokehouse, agricultural repair, and ceramicist. The grove holds and makes living witness to quintessential Texas history, from the artifacts buried within its roots to the ranch built beneath its shade.

The Story

The Comanche Creek Live Oak Grove sits on a site of periodic human occupation for several thousand years. The Grove of more than 50 mature Texas Live Oaks is overlooked by Comanche Peak, which sits about one and a half miles to the east. Situated in the Cross Timbers ecoregion of North Central Texas, the Grove sits on a spring and seeps at the headwaters of Comanche Creek. The site lies between two early pioneer homesteads that date from before and after the Civil War.

Artifacts found by the landowners and confirmed by archaeologists indicate likely semi-permanent occupation of the Grove site throughout the Archaic cultural periods. Artifacts found on site include dart points, arrow points, and grindstones. The artifacts indicate that tribes of hunters and gatherers used this site to prepare for hunts and process grains, seeds, and nuts. The Grove likely witnessed this land use until the mid-1800s when the bison herds and Comanche tribes were pushed to the west and northwest by increasing settlement.

In the 1800s, the Grove oversaw a trail intersection used by native Americans and settlers traveling west from Comanche Peak or southwest from Granbury to Paluxy River crossings at Glen Rose and Paluxy. After the formation of the Texas Republic, the land containing the Grove was deeded to the heirs of William Harper. Harper was an Irish immigrant and a member of the Texas militia massacred at Goliad in 1836.

The Grove soon after became the grounds of a working ranch supporting multiple activities. Artifacts found near the surface indicate the site supported a farrier, ceramicist, agricultural repair, and smokehouse between the late 19th through the middle of the 20th century. The natural springs and seeps provided water for residents, agriculture, and tree grove sustenance. In return, the Grove provided an abundance of shade for residents and ranch hands to gather and rest.

A shed, smokehouse, and cellar are some of the historic buildings that date from the early 1900s and reside under the shade of the Comanche Creek Live Oak Grove.

Several historic buildings remain from the early 1900s, including a house, smokehouse, cellar, shed, and workshop. The cellar appears made from cement (and maybe brick) and appears well-made and to be quite old, possibly around 100 years old or more based on the weathering of the cement and the general style. The smokehouse is made of wood and is built on a limestone rock foundation. The detached shed (or garage) is made from wood and shows signs of previous use as a kiln or ceramic workshop.

On the 23rd of September, 2023, the Texas Historic Tree Coalition dedicated the Comanche Creek Live Oak Grove as an official historic tree site and presented the landowners a proclamation and certificate confirming this recognition.

Pictured above: The plaque briefly explains the historical significance of the Comanche Creek Live Oak Grove. Photo by Steven Adams.
Data
Gathered on September 23, 2023
Estimated Age
Up to 300 years
Height
Up to 50 feet
Crownspread
Up to 60 feet
Circumference
Up to 4 feet
Contributors

Karen Adams, Steven Adams, Jim Bagley, Marion Lineberry, and the North Texas Archaeological Society (Joe Barrera and Steve Lowe)

Media Coverage

Hood County News