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Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl
Fort McKavett State Historic Site
Fort McKavett, circa 1890, after civilians had moved into the buildings of the abandoned post and established a town named after the fort. Courtesy of Texas Parks and WildlifeImage available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Fort McKavett State Historic Site
Fort McKavett, TX. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

FORT MCKAVETT, TEXAS. Fort McKavett, is at the intersection of Farm roads 864 and 1674, twenty miles southwest of Menard in southwestern Menard County. It began in the 1850s as a community of civilians associated with a military post then known as Camp San Saba (not to be confused with Camp San Saba in McCulloch County). The civilian community, at a site about a mile north of the post, was supposed to be named Lehnesburg, in honor of a German merchant, but it was called Scabtown instead. When Camp San Saba closed in 1859, some civilians chose to remain, but most withdrew to more protected areas. After the military reactivated the post as Fort McKavett in 1868, the civilian community began to grow again and adopted the less obnoxious name of the new post.

By 1880 the town had a school, a church, and a variety of shops. In 1883 the closing of the fort hurt the Fort McKavett community economically, but because residents no longer had to fear for their safety in the absence of troops, they did not scatter as they had when Camp San Saba closed. By the mid-1890s the community had three churches, two hotels, a broom and mattress factory, a weekly newspaper, and eighty residents. The Fort McKavett school had twenty-eight students and two teachers in 1904; it was later consolidated with the Menard Independent School District. The population of Fort McKavett was estimated at 150 in the late 1920s; the number of residents fell to 136 in the early 1930s and remained at that level through the mid-1960s. The population was reported at 103 in the 1970s and at forty-five in 1990, then dropped to fifteen in 2000. Efforts to restore the old military post at Fort McKavett began in the late 1960s, and the site became Fort McKavett State Historical Park.


Menard County Historical Society, Menard County History-An Anthology (San Angelo: Anchor, 1982). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, "FORT MCKAVETT, TX," accessed April 19, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on October 7, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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