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TEXAS COUNTY (G-6 on the Missouri Highway map) pop. 21,500.  US 63 comes
in the northeast corner, goes through Licking (1,300) and Houston,
county seat (2,100) then goes out from Cabool [accent on the second
syllable, unlike its Afghan namesake] (pop. 2,000) in the southwest.  US
60 swings through the southwest corner.  Five state highways serve the
county.

Our largest county (bigger than Rhode Island) was formed in 1845--the
year Texas became a state.

Lennis Leonard Broadfoot, a native of Shannon Co., published a
delightful book in 1977.  It is a series of charcoal sketches with
interviews of the subjects, aptly titled “Pioneers of the Ozarks.”

Uncle Sammy Harrison, born in 1842 in Texas Co., is featured on pages
26/27.  A Confederate soldier wounded at Wilson Creek, he was a POW at
Alton, IL.  Interviewed at 98, he says,

“The story of the Civil War would be a long tale to tell and it would
take a long time to tell it.  I hate its horrors and tragedies, and it
looks like people could be educated out of such things, but it seems
like the smarter people get, the dumber they get, and every so often
civilization goes bankrupt, and another wholesale slaughter takes place
in the name of ‘war,’ and after the fight, then it’s hard times and
depression.  A funny old world, but deliver me from all wars.”

Ed Hoagland’s story is on age 154.  Interviewed in 1939 at age 74, Ed
claimed to have ridden the Western range for forty-three years, herding
cattle and sheep from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico,
including a four year stint with Kit Carson.  Ed says,

“And now after all this experience, I finally come back to the Ozark
hills, an’ my present occupation is cleanin’ hen houses and killin’
rats.  I make my livin’ with these six rat terrier dogs by goin’ from
home to home, through these hills, cleanin’ out people’s hen houses an’
killin’ the rats...I  get five cents a rat.  I live alone with nothin’
to care for but these six dogs.”

The Big Piney River flows through Texas Co. and several MDC maintained
access points provide birding opportunities.  The headwaters of the
Jacks Fork River (and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways) are in the
southeast corner.  MDC holdings in this county are relatively small,
compared to neighboring areas, and some are accessible by river, only.
There are some fine designated Natural Areas, among them:

Quercus Flatwoods, 48 acres within the George O. White State Forest
Nursery, is north of Licking on US 63 and west on Rt. CC, then 2 miles
left on CR 2700.  It’s an outstanding example of a flatwoods forest
community featuring a variety of oaks.  Make advance arrangements to
tour the nursery.

Barn Hollow  is a 160 acre area within the Ozark National Scenic
Riverways  and on MDC  land,  north of Mountain View.   It can be
reached from the south from a county road off Rt. Y,  or  from the Jacks
Fork River.

Horseshoe Bend is 69 acres of a 222 acre public use area about 2.5 miles
northwest of Houston on county roads, with a cave and 2 miles frontage
on Big Piney River on a high dolomite bluff.  It is owned by the L-A-D
Foundation (a St. Louis based organization with goals and operations
similar to The Nature Conservancy) and is managed by MDC.

Piney River Narrows is 50 acres within a 258 public use area 1.75 miles
west of Houston.  Access is from a parking area off Hwy. 17, but
requires wading the Big Piney River to reach the pinnacles.  Another
access is from Rt. Z south of Big Piney Bridge, but there is no parking
area.

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