Fort Belknap (Texas)

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Not to be confused with Fort Belknap Agency, Montana.
Fort Belknap
Fort Belknap Colonel Young.jpg
Colonel William C. Young Texas Historical Marker at Fort Belknap. Gift shop/museum is in the background.
Fort Belknap is located in Texas
Fort Belknap
Fort Belknap
Location within Texas
Location Young County, Texas, USA
Nearest city Newcastle, Texas
Coordinates 33°9′2.79″N 98°44′28.36″W / 33.1507750°N 98.7412111°W / 33.1507750; -98.7412111Coordinates: 33°9′2.79″N 98°44′28.36″W / 33.1507750°N 98.7412111°W / 33.1507750; -98.7412111
Built June 24, 1851
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 66000824
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL December 19, 1960[2]

Fort Belknap, located near Newcastle, Texas, was established in November 1851[3] by brevet Brigadier William G. Belknap to protect the Texas frontier against raids by the Kiowa and Comanche. It was the northernmost fort in a line from the Rio Grande to the Red River. The fort functioned as a base of operations rather than as a fortified point, and it became the center of a substantial network of roads, including the Butterfield Overland Mail.

Other forts in the frontier fort system were Forts Griffin, Concho, Richardson, Chadbourne, Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Bliss, McKavett, Clark, Fort McIntosh, Fort Inge and Phantom Hill in Texas, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.[4] There were "sub posts or intermediate stations" including Bothwick's Station on Salt Creek between Fort Richardson and Fort Belknap, Camp Wichita near Buffalo Springs between Fort Richardson and Red River Station, and Mountain Pass between Fort Concho and Fort Griffin.[3]

Some notable officers who were stationed at Fort Belknap include Captain Randolph B. Marcy and Lieutenant George B. McClellan. Together, the officers explored the Canadian River and found the headwaters of the Red River. The Second Cavalry was headquartered here in 1858.[5]:210

Prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War the post was abandoned, partly as a pullback of Federal troops to the north, and partly due to the fort's unreliable water supply. "Northern indians fell upon the hapless Texas frontier with such violence that a whole tier of frontier counties was disbanded..."[5]:291 Families remaining in Young County "huddled in the abandoned buildings of Fort Belknap" and "during snow storms sought shelter in the abandoned buildings."[5]:291

The fort was briefly re-occupied in 1867, then abandoned for the last time.[6]

The fort was gradually dismantled for building materials, so that by 1936 only the magazine and part of the cornhouse remained. Beginning with the Texas Centennial, portions of the fort were rebuilt and restored. mostly on their original foundations. The fort is home to the Fort Belknap Archives, which houses records from North Texas.[7]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Fort Belknap". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-25. 
  3. ^ a b Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  4. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 48
  5. ^ a b c Neighbours, K.F., 1975, Robert Neighbors and the Texas Frontier, 1836-1859, Waco: Texian Press
  6. ^ Kenneth F. Neighbours, "FORT BELKNAP", Handbook of Texas Online (Texas State Historical Association), retrieved 1 May 2013 
  7. ^ "Fort Belknap, Texas".