Wolf Ridge

Wolf Ridge was shown on maps in the early years of the twentieth century, sometimes as "Wolf Ridge Schoolhouse," situated seven miles northwest of Gainesville in north central Cooke County. The school community shared its name with a highland that stretches six miles to the west, dividing the watershed of the Elm Creek Fork of the Trinity River on the south from the Red River on the north. The Cooke County Immigration Society began promoting the unsettled prairie west of Gainesville in 1888, attracting Waldensians from the Cottian Alps of Italy and Germans, who settled in August and Emil Flusche's colonies on the south side of Wolf Ridge. The Waldensians were members of a Calvinist group that claimed roots in the ministry of a twelfth-century ascetic named Vaudes from Lyon, France. They had left Torre Pellice, in the Piedmont foothills of Italy, in the 1860s and settled on farmland in southwestern Uruguay. Civil warfare prompted some to leave South America in 1875, and they settled next at Monett, Missouri. Two families left the Monett colony in 1879 for Texas and purchased land at Wolf Ridge in 1886. Other families joined the colony later, from Missouri or directly from Italy. Around 1900 a group from Wolf Ridge established a settlement in Haskell County. The Wolf Ridge colony never formed a separate church, preferring to worship in French in their homes, until 1904, when they formed the majority of members of the Wolf Ridge Presbyterian Church, which was established that year. The only probable subsequent contact the colony had with the mother church was in 1913, when a representative of the Waldensian Church in Italy held a communion service in Wolf Ridge according to the Waldensian liturgy. The church had already lost much of its membership by December 1941, when representatives of the United States War Department arrived to begin work on an army training camp. By the time it was activated on August 15, 1942, Camp Howze had displaced some 300 farm families in the Wolf Ridge area. The 58,000-acre facility trained thousands of soldiers and served as a holding camp for German prisoners of war. When Camp Howze was deactivated after the war, former owners repurchased a large amount of the land and returned much of it to pasture. The Wolf Ridge community was never revived.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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