a Pecan Shell
Although it was
never a community, Zulu Station deserves inclusion for being the first
non-native “foothold” in what would become Hansford County.
The area was grazing land for the huge herds of buffalo
that roamed these vast expanses. In 1873 when the area was still under
Comanche “occupation” James and Robert Cator arrived. The English
brothers had been sent by their father to start a farm in Kansas,
but buffalo hunting was a faster way to make a living – without depending
on cooperating weather.
As the buffalo were slaughtered, and the Red River Wars* removed the
Comanche into Indian Territory, the brothers and their sister Clara
decided to try ranching.
They settled in along North Palo Duro Creek and built a house. They
were soon joined by others who replaced the dead buffalo herds with
They named their house and store the Zulu Stockade – perhaps for the
prairies resemblance to the Zulu-lands of South Africa (which would
soon erupt in the 1879 Zulu War).
When Hansford County was organized in1876, there were so few people
that the county had to be administered by Wheeler County. The first
census taken was in 1880 when only 18 people were counted.
Descendants of the Cators and Billy Dixon of Adobe
Walls fame, continue to live in the region.
County postal map showing Zulu, Hansford,
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Modification of Texas General Land Office 1920s map
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact