From Wagon Trains to Gas Wells

Written by Glenn Rea

Reprinted from Hood County News dated June 27, 1976

Photographs Contributed by Evelyn Brooks Long

From wagon trains to bulldozers and from Indian raids to gas wells, the Millington Ranch, northwest of Granbury, has seen several generations but they all had the last name of Millington.

Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Seth V. Millington, the ranch qualified for the 1975 Family Land Heritage Program.

Ira Millington in 1875

Ira Millington was the first of the Millington family to see Texas. He was Seth’s grandfather. Ira moved from his native state of Iowa to California and settled his family on a fruit ranch near San Jose. In 1860 the Spanish Grant took precedence over their California land title and the family was forced to move. In 1872 they arrived in Fort Worth, via a locomotive, and purchased a wagon. Hearing of land for sale in Hood County for one dollar an acre, the family decided to buy 160 acres near Robinson Creek between Granbury and Lipan in 1873.


Small girl in front: Lyndel Grace Millington

Second row: Winfield Scott Millington, Seth Millington, Susan Catherine Cook Millington, Ira Millington, Alameda Millington

Back row: Zachary Millington, Lillie Elizabeth Millington, James Ira Millington, Annie Victoria Millington, Artie L. Millington

A stockade had been built on the land near the creek to protect several families that had settled in the area. The stockade housed women and children protecting them from Indians while their husbands were fighting in the Civil War. A log cabin in the stockade was the first improvement made on the land by the Millingtons. A water-well that served families in the stockade can still be seen by visitors on the Millington Ranch. According to family history the last proven Indian raid near the ranch was in 1869 at McKenzie’s Crossing north of the stockade.

In 1896 the family moved from the stockade to construct their ranch headquarters. With nine children to care for, Ira Millington built a school house and hired a teacher to help educate his and neighboring children. Three of the children became teachers and taught in Hood County. Probably best remembered by county natives is Scott Millington who taught at several schools in the county.

Ira followed his father’s footsteps to become a surveyor and lawyer. He served as county surveyor prior to 1900 and it is speculated that he served as a deputy tax assessor-collector also.

One of Ira’s children, James, was born in California. He lived and ranched on the Millington place most of his life. He and his wife, Emma, had three children, Seth, who was born in December 1900, Veta, who is Mrs. W.H. Gilliam of Lipan, and Leta, who died at age 18.

During “Mr. Jim’s” time on the ranch, his son, Seth, learned the ranching business and a trade as an electrician. Seth met and married Miss Mabel Martin in 1923 in Cleburne. He continued his work as an electrician traveling throughout the United States while she became a bookkeeper and tax consultant. They moved to the Millington Ranch in 1950 at which time they purchased the ranch from his grandfather’s heirs.

Improvements on the ranch continued with the addition of barns, fences, dairy barns, and terraces. In 1973 a new discovery was made. Natural gas was located on the ranch by an independent drilling company. Ten wells were dug and seven are producing today. Additional land was purchased and developed to become Millington Heights, a land development, but none or the original land has been sold. Their son, Don, also lives on the ranch.

The Millingtons are kept busy on their ranch but they find time to share the ranch life with underpriviledged children from the area. The children are located by the Thorp Spring Church of Christ.

Seth was recently honored with a 25-year pin from the Granbury Masonic Lodge. Mrs. Millington serves on two cemetery committees and has served as deputy tax assessor-collector. He was also the secretary-treasurer of the Hood-Somervell County Farm Bureau.