RSS

Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton was originally an adobe fort built in 1859 by the United States Army as a means of protecting travelers, freighters and the mail service.  It was located near what was known as Comanche Springs, the source of Comanche Creek.  It served as a way point on the Old San Antonio Road, the Butterfield Overland Stage route and the Comanche Trail to Chihuahua, Mexico.

The fort was named for Robert Field Stockton who was a Commodore in the United States Navy.  Stockton was born in 1795 in New Jersey and served much of his working life in the Navy.  He had entered as a midshipman in 1811 and saw action in the War of 1812.  He later was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant while serving in various locations including Africa and the Mediterranean.  He left the Navy for a decade or so and during the 1820s and 1830s was in private business, mining for gold in Virginia among other pursuits.

Stockton rejoined the Navy in the late 1830s, serving as a captain for about two years before leaving the service again briefly, only to rejoin in the 1840s.  He was interested in modernizing the Navy fleet and commanded the USS Princeton, one of the first steam powered, propeller driven warships in the Navy.  He was in command of the ship in February, 1844 when one of its two wrought iron guns exploded, resulting in the death of several individuals including two members of the cabinet of President John Tyler, who was also aboard but was uninjured by the explosion.  The ship was taking part in a pleasure cruise for the dignitaries when one of her two big guns known as “the Peacemaker” exploded.  Stockton was cleared of any responsibility for the accident.

Stockton later distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War in California,  He took command of the Pacific fleet in the summer of 1846.  Stockton was directly involved in several land battles, since the Navy personnel also included ground forces, perhaps Marines.  His troops participated in the taking of Alta, California and seizing control of Pueblo de Los Angeles after the departure of the Mexican commander General Castro.  His forces also supported the previously outnumbered General Stephen Kearny at the Battle of San Pasqual, possibly saving Kearny from defeat.  His troops also participated in the battles of Rio San Gabriel, San Diego and La Mesa and remained in California until the end of the war.  He succeeded John C. Freemont as military governor of California.

Afterward, Stockton once more resigned from the Navy to enter private business for about ten years, but rejoined around 1861 at the outset of the Civil War.  His name appears again in 1863 as commander of the New Jersey militia.  He died a few years later in 1866 and is buried in Princeton, New Jersey.  In addition to the naming of Fort Stockton for him, four ships in the US Navy have been named for him, along with the towns of Stockton, Missouri and Stockton, California.

Constructed by troops of the 1st and 8th Infantry, Fort Stockton in Texas served as a US Army fort after construction was complete.  It was occupied by Company H of the 1st Infantry until the outset of the Civil War, when these troops were deployed elsewhere.  During the war, it was also briefly occupied by Confederate forces until they abandoned it as well.  In the 1860s, the US Army again took command under Colonel Edward Hatch (for whom Hatch, New Mexico is named) of the 9th Cavalry, one of the two segregated regiments that were comprised of the Buffalo Soldiers.  Under Hatch, the fort was expanded and new buildings were constructed of limestone and adobe.

Historic-Fort-Stockton

(Image credit: historicfortstocktontx.com)

The town of Fort Stockton eventually developed around the fort, which served to house the 10th United States Cavalry during the Indian Wars.  The fort was decommissioned in the summer of 1886.  About four of the original three dozen buildings remain.  More have been reconstructed based upon original blueprints.  The fort, located in Pecos County, is owned by the City of Fort Stockton and managed by the Fort Stockton Historical Society.  Tours are available and the site includes exhibits depicting the history of the fort and honoring the service of the Buffalo Soldiers.  Each year, usually in the fall, the area hosts living history and tours of the old fort.

© 2017, all rights reserved.

 

 

 

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 14, 2017 in forts, history, texas, texas forts, town names

 

Tags: , , ,

The Newton Boys

The Newton Boys were a gang of brothers from Uvalde, Texas operating mostly in the 1920s.  Probably many people had never heard of them until the 1998 film by that name.  The Newtons were Willis, Joe, Jess and Dock (Willis’ twin brother whose birth name was Wylie).  In total, they robbed six trains and over 80 banks.  They were active for about four years before they were apprehended.  All spent some of their lives in prison and after being released, most returned to Uvalde, living there into their senior years.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 7, 2017 in history, outlaws, texas

 

Tags: , ,

Texas Prison Rodeo

The Texas Prison Rodeo (earlier known as the Huntsville Prison Rodeo) was an event that Texans looked forward to for many years.  It began in 1931 when  Marshall Lee Simmons, then serving as general manager of the Texas Prison System, conceived of it as a means for the prisoners to have recreation and as entertainment for the prison employees and their families but it quickly grew to a ticketed event that would play to a full grandstand of 14,000 to 15,000 people per performance.  The event covered costs and raised money for an inmate treatment, education and recreation fund for the prisoners.  Eventually the performances were held each Sunday in October and would total as many as 100,000 attendees per season.  In its later years, it would not be unusual for the prison rodeo to earn $450,000 in a season for the inmate fund.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 31, 2017 in history, outlaws, rodeo, texas

 

Tags: , , , ,

Ima Hogg

imahogg

(Image credit: Houston Museum of Fine Arts)

One of the more unique and recognizable names in Texas was Miss Ima Hogg.  Her father was James Stephen Hogg, the first native born governor of Texas, who served as governor from 1891 to 1895.  James and Sarah Ann Stinson Hogg had three sons and Imogene, their only daughter.  It is not known for certain who Imogene was named for, but the story is told that James had a brother named Thomas Elisha Hogg, a Confederate Captain, who had written a Civil War poem “The Fate of Marvin.”  The poem was about a Southern girl named Ima who had cared for a Union soldier.  There are some stories floating around that she had a sister named Ura, but according to published genealogy records, Ima was the only daughter of Jim Hogg and Sarah Stinson Hogg.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2017 in history, texas, texas women

 

Tags: , ,

The Goodnight Ranch

Goodnight is a name that calls to mind cattle drives from North Texas to Wyoming or Montana and also the start of ranching in the Panhandle.  Charles Foxwing Goodnight, Jr. was born in Illinois, not too far north of St. Louis, Missouri to farmers Charles and Charlotte Collier Goodnight in 1836.  His father died five years after this and his mother married Hiram Henry Daugherty, a farmer who lived nearby.  A few years later in 1845, the family headed for Texas, settling between what is now Milam County between College Station to the east and Austin to the west.  Charles did not receive much formal schooling and began working as a cowboy to help the family get by.  His first stepfather Daughterty also died not long after arriving in Texas.  His mother then married a minister by the name of Adam Sheek in 1853.  Goodnight and a step brother, John Wesley Sheek, began a ranching operation and around 1857 they relocated it further up the Brazos to what is now Palo Pinto County.  Once they got settled, they brought the family with them.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 17, 2017 in history, ranch families, texas

 

Tags: , , ,

George Bernard Erath

george_bernard_ erath

(Image credit: Waco Tribune Herald)

George Bernard Erath was born in Vienna, Austria in 1813.  He was educated at Vienna Polytechnic Institute where he studied liberal arts.  Young Erath lived on his own and worked for a few years in Europe, eventually setting sail for America.  One of the reasons given for his departure was that he did not want to be drafted into service for the Austrian Army.  Whatever his justification for not wanting to serve in Austria, he would show no reluctance whatsoever to fight for the State of Texas.  In fact, he spent years doing just that.  He arrived in America in the summer of 1832 in New Orleans.  He then worked in Cincinnati, Ohio before returning to the South again in Florence, Alabama for a short time.  Erath then relocated to Texas in 1833 where he would remain for the rest of his life, entering at Brazoria on the Gulf and settling in Robertson County.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

H. Joaquin Jackson, Texas Ranger

joaquin_jackson

Jackson was a Texas Ranger during most of his law enforcement career, serving in the Uvalde area and later in Alpine.  He was born in 1935 and hired on with DPS briefly before becoming a Texas Ranger.  He served a total of 27 years with the Texas Rangers before retiring in 1993.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 3, 2017 in biography, history, texas rangers

 

Tags: , ,