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Jahmicah Dawes fishing near Strawn.A nighttime stroll through downtown Stephenville evokes a certain small-town Texas vibe. All around the square, string lights illuminate weathered brick storefronts. The Erath County courthouse, with its thick limestone walls and Romanesque arched windows, was completed in 1892. Its pointed clock tower remains one of the tallest structures around. On the courthouse lawn is a Confederate memorial, dedicated in 2001, that pays tribute to the more than six hundred soldiers who now “rest beneath the rich soil of Erath County.” Nearby, on a corner of the square, stands a life-size statue of a dairy cow. The black-and-white Holstein, erected in 1972 and known locally as Moo-La, is a nod to the county’s state-leading dairy industry. The fire department has been known to hose her…

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