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FORT MORITAS

Brett J. Derbes

FORT MORITAS. Fort Moritas or El Morita, near the site of Shafter in Presidio County, was a private fortress built by Milton Faver in the 1850s as defenses along the Comanche Trail. Faver built three forts on his property including El Fortín de la Morita at Morita Spring. La Morita, or “the little mulberry tree,” was the location selected for sheep and goats. During the Civil War traffic slowed along the westward immigration routes to California as the Apache and Comanche reasserted control in the region. Faver lost a considerable portion of the livestock from raids but persisted until the Ninth U.S. Cavalry returned to Fort Davis in 1867. Despite the military presence, either Native Americans or Mexican bandits attacked La Morita on July 30, 1875. The assailants massacred Faver’s brother-in-law Carmen Ramirez before taking Ramirez’s wife and two sons captive. In 1889 Faver transferred the 320 acres that included La Morita Spring to his wife, the former Francesca Ramirez, and niece, Juliana Ramirez de Dawson. La Morita disintegrated over time, but the spring-fed orchard became a favored spot for the townspeople of Shafter. In the late 1940s all that remained was a one-room adobe house and the walls of a small stone house. The Dawson family maintained control of the La Morita property until Hart M. Greenwood, Jr., purchased it on September 28, 1966. Major rehabilitation, restoration, and construction efforts ensued at Cibolo Creek Ranch from July 1991 to December 1993. The ranch includes five Texas Historical Markers as well as a designation on the National Register of Historic Places.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Leavitt Corning, Jr., Baronial Forts of the Big Bend (Austin: Trinity University Press, 1967). Evelyn Davis and Thomas Clement, Spirit of the Big Bend (San Antonio: Naylor, 1948). Thomas H. Naylor and Charles W. Ponzer, eds., The Presidio and New Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain, 1570–1700 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986). John B. Poindexter, The Cibolo Creek Ranch: A Brief History of the Big Bend Country of Texas, A Biography of the Founder of the Ranch, Don Meliton Faver, and His Times, and An Account of the Restoration of the Ranch and Its Historical Structures (Houston: Southwestern Holdings, 1994). Harold Schoen, comp., Monuments Erected by the State of Texas to Commemorate the Centenary of Texas Independence (Austin: Commission of Control for Texas Centennial Celebrations, 1938). C. L. Sonnichsen, Pass of the North: Four Centuries on the Rio Grande, 1529–1917 (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1968).Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946, Volume 1 (Austin: Nortex Press, 1985). Robert H. Thonhoff, El Fuerte Del Cíbolo: Sentinel of the Bexar-La Bahia Ranches (Austin: Eakin Press, 1992).

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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, Brett J. Derbes, "FORT MORITAS," accessed August 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uef12.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 26, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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