For thousands of years Paleo-Americans, and the various Native American groups that followed them, used the Brazos River and it’s many tributary creeks and streams as migratory pathways from what is now New Mexico and far West Texas to the Gulf coastal region. The Horn Shelter burial site, at 10,000 years old and about 50 miles down river from present day Granbury, Texas is among the oldest known burial sites in North America. The banks of Lambert Branch Creek, which flows a few hundred feet north of The Bridge Street History Center, have yielded stone artifacts dated at over 9,000 years old.
The Tonkawa people were among the earliest inhabitants to claim hunting grounds in what is now Hood County of this area in the 1700’s. By the 1800’s the Wichita, Kiowa, Caddo, Comanche, and Lipan Apache also claimed hunting and trading grounds in what is now Hood County. Native Americans occupied and hunted this immediate area until the latter quarter of the 19th century and the mesa now known as Comanche Peak, a few miles south of Granbury, was a well known landmark and ceremonial site for many Native Americans.
Early European Explorers:
The full name of the Brazos River, often used in early Spanish accounts, is Los Brazos de Dios, “the arms of God.” While the exact routes of the first Spanish explorers in Texas are subject to debate, it is likely that some of these early expeditions passed through the Brazos River Valley near present day Hood County. One reason that this region of Texas was not often visited by European explorers and the earliest settlers is that the Western Cross Timbers, with it’s dense oak grove forests and thick underbrush, discouraged travel and was even sometimes referred to as “The Cast Iron Forest”.