First inhabited by nomadic Indian tribes, Shackelford County was created in 1858 and named for Dr. John Shackelford (1790-1857). The first permanent Anglo-American settlers in this area included J.C. Lynch (1828-1912), a native of Ireland who moved here in 1858; W.H. Ledbetter (1833-84), who arrived in 1859 and later started the Ledbetter salt works; T.E. Jackson (b. 1820), a merchant who settled in the northern part of the county before 1860; and G.W. Greer (1812-93), who operated a stage station on Hubbard Creek after 1861.
During the Civil War (1861-65), settlers took refuge at "family forts" such as Fort Mugginsville and Fort Hubbard. They gained military protection from frontier perils when the U.S. Army established Fort Griffin in 1867. Griffin, the lawless settlement that grew up around the fort, attracted buffalo hid hunters and cattlemen driving herds up the Western Cattle Trail.
Shackelford County was organized Sept. 12, 1874, with Fort Griffin as temporary county seat. Albany was chosen permanent county seat in Nov. 1874. The county's population increased sharply after the arrival of the Texas Central Railroad in 1881. Petroleum production generated an economic boom, 1910-30. Chief industries today (1976) are petroleum and ranching.