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FORT SHERMAN

Laurie E. Jasinski

FORT SHERMAN. Fort Sherman was a frontier outpost in present-day Titus County. In the late 1830s this area saw increased conflict as more homesteaders settled in Northeast Texas on land formerly inhabited by Caddoans as well as various immigrant groups such as the Cherokee and their allied tribes. Gen. John H. Dyer of Clarksville dispatched Capt. William B. Stout and a detachment of forty-two men to establish a fort in December 1838. Stout and his men constructed a post just north of the Big Cypress Creek crossing of the Cherokee Trace, an early road and trading route that passed through the region. The location of the structure was approximately thirteen miles southwest of the site of Mount Pleasant and near present-day Lake Bob Sandlin State Park. Stout named the post Fort Sherman after Lt. Col. Sidney Sherman, a commander at the battle of San Jacinto.

Settlers living along the Cherokee Trace relied on the militia and fort for protection. After the initial construction approximately eight or nine families, including the Blundell, Harris, Coots, and Gibson families, lived in Fort Sherman. Titus County resident Charles Brantley relayed the account of his grandfather John Gibson who had stayed in the post during Indian scares. Gibson had described a stockade-like structure with ten-foot-high logs that enclosed a large complex. Water was secured from a well inside the fort and from a nearby spring located on a tributary known as Bell's Branch. Stout later reported some disciplinary problems when a number of his enlistees determined that they would leave Fort Sherman after their terms of enlistment had expired, but Stout ordered the men to extend their service.

Fort Sherman functioned as a military post at least until the early 1840s because the fort served as an election precinct in August 1842 with a John Brower as presiding officer. The landmark also served as a reference on some area surveys of early land grants. The removal of the remaining Indian groups and the increased settlement in the area eliminated the need for a military post, and Fort Sherman fell into ruin. On August 18, 1846, Kentucky cavalryman Maj. John Pollard Gaines noted the abandoned fort in his diary and commented that a "handsome peach orchard [had] grown up on its ruins." The old site of Fort Sherman still appeared on state maps in 1858. Longtime area residents remembered the site of Fort Sherman as late as the first half of the twentieth century, and farmers probably removed salvageable timbers from the collapsed structure.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Laurie E. Jasinski, A History of Lake Bob Sandlin State Park (unpublished manuscript, Cultural Resources Program, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, 2001). Gerald S. Pierce, Texas Under Arms: The Camps, Posts, Forts, & Military Towns of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Encino, 1969). Traylor Russell, History of Titus County (2 vols., Waco: Morrison, 1965, 1966; rpt., Walsworth, Texas, 1975).

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Citation

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski, "FORT SHERMAN," accessed May 29, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qcf12.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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