FORT DAVIS (Stephens County). When Camp Cooper closed in February 1861 as Union troops were withdrawn from the frontier, several white families remained along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in what is now northern Shackelford and southern Throckmorton counties. After the Elm Creek Raid by Comanches in October of 1864, in which several people were killed and three were kidnapped, several families decided to gather in a common location for protection against the Indians. On October 20, 1864, a stronghold called Fort Davis was established just across the county line in Stephens County. It was only one of several such "forts" along the frontier.
The post was located on the east side of the Clear Fork about fifteen miles downriver from Camp Cooper. It measured about 300 by 325 feet, and a street ran through it from east to west. About twenty picket-style houses with dirt roofs were set so as to form a loose stockade. A picket stockade fence around the entire fort was begun but never completed. A large stone house built earlier at the location served to anchor one corner of the works and provided protection for women and children in case of attack. Although an attack never materialized, inhabitants did have several confrontations with the hostiles in the area around the outpost. In 1865 Sam Newcomb opened a school in a structure on the northeast corner. Supplies for the inhabitants had to be freighted in by wagon from Weatherford, to the east, a dangerous journey of some days over poor roads. Originally, the flag of the Confederacy flew over Fort Davis but was destroyed by lightning and not replaced.
Fort Davis was abandoned in 1867 when Union troops returned to the area to establish Fort Griffin on the Clear Fork about ten miles upriver, a site much preferred to the unsatisfactory one further upriver where Camp Cooper was earlier located. Today the site of Fort Davis is owned jointly by H. G. Law and the Jones Company of Albany. The stone structure has been restored by Joe Carlton as a hunting lodge. The tombstone of Sam Newcomb is still visible near the site.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Lawrence Clayton, "Fort Davis," accessed May 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uef18.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles