While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Mark Maliszkiewicz

WOLF RIDGE, TEXAS. 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.

Michael Collins, Cooke County, Texas: Where the South and West Meet (Gainesville, Texas: Cooke County Heritage Society, 1981). George B. Watts, The Waldenses in the New World (Durham: Duke University Press, 1941).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Mark Maliszkiewicz, "WOLF RIDGE, TX," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hvw90.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on TexasAlmanac.com!
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...