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Category Archives: forts

Fort Phantom Hill

Fort Phantom Hill was located southwest of Fort Griffin and northeast of Fort Chadbourne.  The orders to create such a fort were issued by General William Belknap as he was beginning construction at the fort that would later be named for him, although the General died before he could complete either outpost.  Construction began in 1851 under the leadership of Lt. Col. J. J. Abercrombie pursuant to the orders of General Persifor F. Smith, Belknap’s successor.  Belknap’s plan had been for the outpost to be located in Coleman County, but Smith changed the orders to the current location.  A few buildings were built of local stone, but others were built of wood or were even more temporary, such as pole huts.  In retrospect, it would have been difficult to find a worse location from a physical standpoint, as it was poorly situated near dry or brackish river branches.  Water had to be hauled several miles and there were no nearby wood sources for fires.  Wood for construction was at least forty miles away.

ftphantom

(Image credit: Texas Co op Power Magazine)

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Posted by on May 17, 2018 in forts

 

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Fort Griffin

The U. S. Army camp that would later become Fort Griffin was established in 1856 to help protect a Comanche reservation that had been set up earlier in the area.  When Robert E. Lee held the rank of Lt. Col. in the U. S. Army, he served here as commander from April, 1856 to July, 1857.  It was located less than a mile from the Clear Fork of the Brazos River on a small plateau of about sixty feet in height providing an enhanced view of the surrounding area.  The original location was in the lowlands a short distance away until a monsoon type rain hit and turned it into a swampy mess.

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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in forts

 

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Fort Richardson

fort-richardson-park

(Image credit: Texas State Historical Association)

Fort Richardson was founded in 1866, following the end of the Civil War, first staffed near Jacksboro, Texas by elements of the 6th Cavalry.  It was temporarily relocated around 20 miles north to a location known as Buffalo Springs in Clay County one year later.  Buffalo Springs had the advantages of more plentiful water and timber, but was closer to the hostile tribes while also being further from supply depots in the Austin area.  Construction was begun at Buffalo Springs, but was abandoned in favor of the original Jack County location after an Indian attack and several months of drought.  The Jack County location was reestablished and consisted of about 300 acres along the Lost Creek tributary of the West Fork of the Trinity River.  Construction had to start over as the previously abandoned buildings in Jacksboro had been used for building materials by the local settlers.  Fort Richardson became the northern-most outpost in the chain of western forts.

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Posted by on January 18, 2018 in forts

 

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Fort Concho

oldfortconcho

(Image credit: Fort Concho National Historical Landmark)

Fort Concho was one of the later forts established in the frontier system, opened in 1867 after the Civil War.  It took its name from the nearby branches of the Concho River, the water system that was a critical resource in the area.  It was positioned as a replacement for Fort Chadbourne that was located about 45 miles to the north northeast.  Fort Chadbourne’s water supply had failed prior to the Civil War.

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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in forts

 

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Fort Belknap

Fort Belknap was founded in the summer of 1851 by Brig. Gen William Belknap, then commander of the Department of Texas, to provide support for the settlers against the Comanche and Kiowa tribes.  It also served to protect traditionally friendly tribes like the Tonkowa against attacks from settlers and other area tribes.  Belknap was also a waypoint on the Butterfield Overland Stage line that carried the United States Mail for a few years.  It was the northern outpost in a string of forts established from the Rio Grande to the south to the Red River to the north.  Located in Young County, it served the area for about 8 years.

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Posted by on October 26, 2017 in forts

 

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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.

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

 

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