Texas Historical Documents

THE CAMEL EXPERIMENT

Reference Notes


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FORT DAVIS - Jeff Davis County

Fort Davis, at the eastern base of the Davis Mountains, was founded in response to War Department interest in a route through the Southwest with available water. ;It was established by order of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis in 1854 on Limpia Creek, on land leased from John James, a San Antonio surveyor. The

army post guarded the Trans-Pecos segment of the southern route to California as the key member of a line of forts reaching from San Antonio to El Paso, and played a significant role in the defense and development of West Texas. ;In its history thirteen regiments were headquartered at Fort Davis, including nine infantry and four cavalry.
Westward expansion to the Pacific was assured with the end of the Mexican War in 1848, when a vast territory comprising the present states of New Mexico, Arizona, and California was added to the United States, and with the discovery of gold in California in 1849. Thousands of migrants and, later, mail and freight wagons avoiding the snows and mountainous terrain of northerly routes pushed their way west over southern trails. The San Antonio-El Paso road was an important part of the most southern of these routes. Indian trails leading southward to Mexico intersected the El Paso road, however, and Apache and Comanche raiders preyed on travelers until the Civil War. ;By 1854 military authorities found it necessary to construct a fort in West Texas.; In October 1854 Bvt. Gen. Persifor F. Smith, commanding the Department of Texas, personally selected the site of Fort Davis for its pure water and salubrious climate. ;Smith named the post after Jefferson Davis.; Six companies of the Eighth United States Infantry under Lt. Col. Washington Seawell, ordered to build and garrison the post, arrived at Painted Comanche Camp on Limpia Creek on October 7 of that year. With the beginning of the Civil War, United States troops evacuated Fort Davis under orders from Brig. Gen. David E. Twiggs, commander of the Eighth United States Military District, and were quickly replaced by Col. John R. Baylor's Confederate cavalry forces in April 1861. ;Confederate troops occupied the post for almost a year, then retreated to San Antonio after failing to take New Mexico. ;For the next five years Fort Davis lay abandoned, and Indians used the wood from its buildings for fuel.
Federal troops, led by Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt, reoccupied Fort Davis in June 1867 and began construction of a new post. By the mid-1880s Fort Davis was a major installation with quarters for more than 600 men and more than sixty adobe and stone structures. From 1867 to 1885 the post was garrisoned primarily by units composed of white officers and black enlisted men of the Ninth and Tenth United States Cavalry regiments and the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth United States Infantry regiments, who compiled a notable record of military achievements against the Apaches and Comanches.

In September 1879 Apache chief Victorio and Mescalero Apache warriors began a series of attacks in the area west of Fort Davis. Col. Benjamin H. Grierson led troops from Fort Davis and other posts against the raiders. ;After several hard-fought engagements, Victorio retreated to Mexico, where he and many of his followers were killed in a battle with Mexican troops in October 1880. ;After the Victorio campaign, life at Fort Davis settled into a quiet routine, and large numbers of cattlemen moved into the area. The soldiers were kept busy drilling on the parade ground, patrolling the surrounding area, and repairing roads and telegraph lines. ;The military usefulness of Fort Davis had come to an end, however, and the post was ordered abandoned in 1891.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Barry Scobee, Fort Davis, Texas, 1583-1960 (Fort Davis, Texas, 1963). Barry Scobee, Old Fort Davis (San Antonio: Naylor, 1947). ;Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

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CAMELS

In 1836 Maj. George H. Crosman urged the United States War Department to use camels in Indian campaigns in Florida because of the animals' ability to keep on the move with a minimum of food and water. ;The matter came to the attention of Senator Jefferson Davis, whom President Franklin Pierce later appointed secretary of war. Davis's first problem was that of coping with Indians and with transportation in Texas, but the enormous expense of the Mexican Cession of 1848 had seriously depleted available army resources. ;Davis firmly accepted the currently prevalent Great American Desert thesis, which held that much of the western United States was virtually uninhabitable. ;He urged Congress to appropriate money to test the value and efficiency of camels in the Southwest as a partial solution to pressing needs.; At the insistence of the War Department, Congress passed, on March 3, 1855, the Shield amendment to the appropriation bill, which made $30,000 available under the direction of the War Department in the purchase of camels and the importation of dromedaries, to be employed for military purposes.

On May 10, 1855, Maj. H. C. Wayne received the special presidential assignment. ;The naval storeship Supply, in command of Lt. D. D. ;Porter, was placed at Wayne's disposal. ;Wayne traveled ahead to study continental use of camels. ;After trafficking down the North African coast and spending $12,000 for desirable beasts, he returned with thirty-three camels, three Arabs, and two Turks. ;Thirty-two of the camels, plus one calf born at sea, arrived at Indianola, Texas, on April 29, 1856, but because of bad weather and shallow water were not unloaded until May 13. ;On June 4 Wayne started his caravan westward. ;They stopped near Victoria, where the animals were clipped and Mrs. Mary A. Shirkey spun and knit for the president of the United States a pair of camel-pile socks. ;The animals were finally located at Camp Verde, where several successful experiments were made to test the camels' utility in the pursuit of Indians and the transportation of burdens. ;Wayne reported that camels rose and walked with as much as 600 pounds without difficulty, traveled miles without water, and ate almost any kind of plant.; One camel trek was made to the unexplored Big Bend.

The first camel importation was followed by a second, consisting of forty-one beasts, which were also quartered at Camp Verde. ;In the spring of 1857 James Buchanan's secretary of war, John B. Floyd, directed Edward Fitzgerald Beale to use twenty-five of the camels in his survey for a wagon road from Fort Defiance, New Mexico, across the thirty-fifth parallel to the Colorado River. ;After this survey, the drive continued to Fort Tejon, California, where the camels were used to transport supplies and dispatches across the desert for the army. ;Eventually some of the animals were turned loose, some were used in salt pack-trains, and others even saw Texas again after Bethel Coopwood, Confederate spy and Texas lawyer, captured fourteen from Union forces. ;During the Civil War eighty camels and two Egyptian drivers passed into Confederate hands. The camels soon were widely scattered; some were turned out on the open range near Camp Verde; some were used to pack cotton bales to Brownsville; and one found its way to the infantry command of Capt. Sterling Price, who used it throughout the war to carry the whole company's baggage. ;In 1866 the federal government sold the camels at auction; sixty-six of them went to Coopwood. ;Some of the camels in California were sold at auction in 1863, and others escaped to roam the desert.

The failure of the camel in the United States was not due to its capability; every test showed it to be a superior transport animal. It was instead the nature of the beasts which led to their demise-they smelled horrible, frightened horses, and were detested by handlers accustomed to the more docile mules. ;Two private importations of camels followed the government experiment. On October 16, 1858, Mrs. M. J. Watson reported to Galveston port authorities that her ship had eighty-nine camels aboard, and claimed that she wanted to test them for purposes of transport. ;One port official, however, felt that she was using the camels to mask the odor typically associated with a slave ship and refused her petition to unload the cargo. ;After two months in port, Mrs. Watson sailed for the slave markets in Cuba after dumping the camels ashore in Galveston, where they wandered about the city and died from neglect and slaughter around the coastal sand dunes. ;A second civilian shipment of a dozen camels arrived at Port Lavaca in 1859, where it met a similar fate

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Chris Emmett, Texas Camel Tales (San Antonio: Naylor, 1932). Odie B. Faulk, The U.S. Camel Corps: An Army Experiment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).

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CAMP HUDSON

Camp Hudson, also called Fort Hudson, was located on San Pedro Creek, a tributary of the Devils River, twenty-one miles north of Comstock in central Val Verde County. ;It was established on June 7, 1857, in what was then Kinney County and named for Lt. Walter W. Hudson, who died in April 1850 of injuries he received in an Indian fight. ;The camp was one of several posts built between San Antonio and El Paso to protect travelers on the so-called Chihuahua Trail. A local post office was opened in 1857. The post was built along an elevated but isolated section of the creek, and few travelers or settlers came by in the early years. ;Zenas R. Bliss, who was stationed at Camp Hudson for two years, reported seeing only four or five people during that time who were not related to the army. ;The walls of the buildings at Camp Hudson were constructed of a mixture of gravel and lime. ;The process was slow, but it made the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. In 1859 one of the experimental camel caravans of camels from Camp Verde passed through Camp Hudson. ;The troops left on March 17, 1861, for service in the Civil War. ;In 1866 the post office closed. In late October 1867 a stage from Camp Hudson to Fort Stockton was ambushed by Indians, and two military escorts were killed. In November, immediately after the stage attack, companies D and G of the Ninth Cavalry were ordered to Camp Hudson. ;By April 1868 other troops had returned to the area.

In April 1871 Camp Hudson was reorganized with three commissioned officers and sixty enlisted men. In March 1876 Lt. Col. George Pearson Buell came to Camp Hudson from Fort Concho with two companies of cavalry. ;Under his leadership, the post was to be used as a summer camp to protect newly arrived settlers.;

The troops at Camp Hudson fought with Indians on several occasions and sometimes followed them into Mexico. In April 1876 Lt. Louis Henry Orleman was sent to Camp Hudson to take command of Company B of the Tenth Cavalry. In January 1877, however, Camp Hudson was permanently closed because the threat of Indian attacks no longer existed. ;In 1936 The Texas Historical Commission placed a centennial marker at the site of Camp Hudson. ;By the 1980s no buildings stood on the private property where the camp was once situated.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Arrie Barrett, Western Frontier Forts of Texas, 1845-1861, West Texas Historical Association Year Book 7 (1931). ;Roy L. Swift and Leavitt Corning, Jr., Three Roads to Chihuahua (Austin: Eakin Press, 1988). ;Clayton W. Williams, Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861-1895 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). ;Robert Wooster, Soldiers, Sutlers and Settlers: Garrison Life of the Texas Frontier (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987).

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SAN FRANCISCO CREEK

San Francisco Creek rises one mile west of Stillwell Mountain and three miles south of U.S. Highway 385 in northeastern Brewster County (at 30°18' N, 103°05' W) and runs southeast for eighty-seven miles to its mouth on the Rio Grande, just east of the Terrell county line (at 29°53' N, 102°19' W). ;San Francisco Creek is intermittent in its upper reaches, except for an eleven-mile stretch beginning just west of Hell's Half Acre, where it flows perennially. ;The creek is dry for the last half of its length. ;The upper reaches of San Francisco Creek run through steeply to moderately sloping hills surfaced by shallow, stony clay and sandy loam that supports oak, mesquite, and grasses. ;In its lower reaches flat terrain with local shallow depressions or deep, dense dissections is surfaced by shallow, stony clay and sandy loams that support water-tolerant hardwoods, conifers, and grasses, oak, juniper, and some mesquite.

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CAMEL'S HUMP

The Camel's Hump is a pair of knobs two miles east of State Highway 118 on the Terlingua Ranch, sixty-three miles south of Alpine in south central Brewster County (at 29°32' N, 103°31' W). They stand isolated on a broad desert flat covered sparsely with Chihuahuan Desert scrub. The knobs at their highest point reach an elevation of 3,662 feet above sea level and stand about 250 feet above the surrounding terrain. ;The Camel's Hump is a Tertiary-age igneous mass that intrudes into the Upper Cretaceous Boquillas formation, which is a flaggy limestone. ;The feature's present shape comes from erosion of the comparatively less resistant, thinly bedded limestone away from the more resistant igneous rock. ;Though the name of the Camel's Hump is very likely a descriptive allusion to its camel-like shape, the knobs also lay on the route through this area of the United States Army camel expedition commanded by Lt. William Echols in 1859

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ronnie C. Tyler, The Big Bend (Washington: National Park Service, 1975).

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MITRE PEAK

Mitre Peak is eleven miles southeast of Fort Davis and three miles north of the intersection of the Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Reeves county lines in southeastern Jeff Davis County (at 30°28' N, 103°47' W). It rises to an elevation of 6,190 feet above sea level, some 1,600 feet above Farm Road 1837, one mile to the north. ;The peak is an intrusive mass exposed by erosion; it stands much taller than the surrounding terrain because it is harder than the eroded rock around it. In the vicinity, shallow, stony soils support scrub brush and grasses. ;The mountain was named for its resemblance to the peaked hat worn by a bishop.

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HOWARD SPRINGS

Howard Springs are a group of historical springs twenty-five miles southwest of Ozona in southwestern Crockett County (at 30°28' N, 101°28' W). ;They were important to early settlers traveling westward, as there was no other reliable water supply in the area. ;Native peoples occupied the spot for thousands of years, and in historical times it was a favorite living site of the Kiowa, who fiercely resisted being evicted from it. ;In 1872 they destroyed a wagon train here, killing eighteen travelers.; The springs lie in the channel of Howard Draw. European-American ranchers have long overgrazed in the region, killing off the once abundant ground cover. ;This in turn increased the force of runoff, which washed gravel into the springs and filled them up.; Seeps still emerge beneath the surface of a 200-meter-long pond in Howard Draw, but oilfield activities in recent years have contaminated the slightly saline water, which has been used in drilling.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gunnar Brune, Springs of Texas, Vol. 1 (Fort Worth: Branch-Smith, 1981).

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FORT LEATON

Fort Leaton (Old Fortin, El Fortín, Fortin) is on Farm Road 170 five miles southeast of Presidio in southern Presidio County. The fort sits on a bluff overlooking the Rio Grande and what has been called the Chihuahua Trail. ;Fort Leaton was listed as the first seat of Presidio County in 1850. It was the private citadel of a Chihuahua Trail freighter and the first Anglo-American farmer in Presidio County, Ben Leaton. ;Leaton built on the ruins of a Spanish fort founded in 1773 and known as El Fortín de San José at La Junta. ;After El Fortín was abandoned in 1810, the structure stood unoccupied until Juan Bustillos took it as his home in 1830. ;By August 1848 Leaton had bought El Fortín from Bustillos and established Fort Leaton as his home, trading post, and private fort. ;During that month an expedition led by John C. (Jack) Hays to find a practicable road from San Antonio to Chihuahua via El Paso spent ten days at Fort Leaton.

The fort was built in an L-shape with the long side running east and west for 200 feet, parallel to the river. ;The measurement across the base of the structure was 140 feet. ;The walls were made of adobe bricks, eighteen inches long, five inches thick, and twelve inches wide. ;By laying the bricks crosswise, the builders made the walls eighteen inches thick. ;A stockade for animals was made at the base of the L. Large doors allowed teams and wagons to drive inside the structure. ;A crenellated parapet surrounded the rooms and fortified the structure.

Because of its desolate location and the constant threat of Indian attack, Fort Leaton offered much-needed frontier defense. ;The private bastion was the only fortification on the American side of the Rio Grande between Eagle Pass and El Paso before and during the building of Fort Davis (Jeff Davis County), and the United States Army made Fort Leaton its unofficial headquarters. ;Even after the completion of Fort Davis, eighty miles to the north, the army used the private fort as an outpost for military patrols. Military maps of the 1850s listed Fort Leaton along with official army posts.

There is no record of any Indian attack on Fort Leaton. ;The reason may be found in an accusation made by the Mexican inspector for the military colonies at El Paso del Norte, Emilio Langberg, who accused Leaton of trading guns to Indians for horses they had stolen in Mexico. ;Such illegal trading with the Indians might have gained him their favor and protected his fort from attack. ;Before any legal charges could be brought against him, Leaton died in 1851.

Leaton's farm, with eight to ten American workers and a gravity irrigation ditch, produced vegetables, wheat, and livestock to supply the fort's inhabitants and needy travelers. ;At his death his widow faced large debts.

Eventually, the fort was acquired by John Burgess, who had held the mortgage. ;Burgess lived there until Leaton's son Bill killed him in 1875. ;The fort then fell into disuse. ;In 1934 and 1935 some restoration work was completed there under a government project. ;In 1967 the state acquired a five-acre tract around the old fort, and the partially restored structure became Fort Leaton State Historic Site.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Leavitt Corning, Jr., Baronial Forts of the Big Bend (Austin: Trinity University Press, 1967). ;Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell, How Come It's Called That? ;Place Names in the Big Bend Country (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1958). ;Elton Miles, Tales of the Big Bend (College Station: Texas A& M University Press, 1976). ;Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535-1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985).

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PRESIDIO DEL NORTE

Presidio del Norte was the name given to both the eighteenth-century fort and the settlement on the south side of the river at La Junta de los Ríos (the fort was also called Presidio del Norte de la Junta de los Ríos and Presidio de Belén). ;The fort and settlement occupied the site of present Ojinaga, Chihuahua. ;In 1747 three Spanish entradas, each with an interest in building a presidio, visited the junction of the Rio Grande and the Río Conchos, at La Junta. On November 10 the viceroy ordered Governor Pedro de Rábago y Terán of Coahuila to reestablish the six abandoned missions and to establish a presidio to protect the missionaries and converts. ;Capt. José de Idoyaga was also sent to help build the presidio. ;Capt. Fermín Vidaurre surveyed the needs of La Junta and recommended the building of a presidio and the rebuilding of the missions.

Despite the Spanish interest in building a presidio at La Junta in 1747, it was not built until Capt. Alonso Rubín de Celis arrived on December 24, 1759. ;The presidio was built between San Francisco de los Julimes and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe pueblos. ;It was completed by July 22, 1760, and its soldiers fought off an Indian attack the same day.

The presidio was abandoned in the fall of 1766 and moved to Julimes on the Río Conchos. ;In 1772 the king ordered the reestablishment of the presidio at La Junta, and by 1773 the fort was at its original site. ;The name was shortened to Presidio del Norte. ;In November 1865 the garrison and the settlement were renamed Ojinaga for Manuel Ojinaga, governor of Chihuahua, who was executed by the French.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Howard G. Applegate and C. Wayne Hanselka, La Junta de los Ríos del Norte y Conchos (Southwestern Studies 41 [El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1974]). Barry Wade Hutcheson, The Trans-Pecos: A Historical Survey and Guide to Historic Sites (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1969).

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WILLOW MOUNTAIN

Willow Mountain is on the east side of State Highway 118 three miles north-northeast of the settlement of Study Butte in southwestern Brewster County (at 29°22' N, 103°31' W).; The mountain rises steeply from the desert floor on its northwestern side and falls off in sheer cliffs over 800 feet high on its western and southern exposures.; The peak reaches an elevation of 3,830 feet above sea level and towers over 1,000 feet above State Highway 118, which flanks the base of the cliffs on its western face. Willow Mountain, like many formations in the region, was formed by volcanic processes. ;What makes it unique is the distinctive columnar jointing that is highly visible in the cliff face. ;The joints, formed during cooling, appear as closely spaced, nearly vertical columns that run from the base to the top of the cliffs and provide the most spectacular display of rock joints in the Big Bend region. ;Perhaps to early settlers the joints resembled a dense growth of willows, or Willow Mountain may have been named for Willow Spring, which flows at its southern base and has long supported stands of native desert willows. With the exception of the willows, the vegetation in the area is dominated by Chihuahuan Desert scrub, such as lechuguilla, sotol, ocotillo, yuccas, and creosote bush.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell, How Come It's Called That? Place Names in the Big Bend Country (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1958). Ross A. Maxwell, The Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, 1968). A. Michael Powell, Vegetation of Trans-Pecos Texas; in New Mexico Geological Society Guidebook (Socorro, New Mexico: New Mexico Geological Society, 1980).

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FORT STOCKTON

Fort Stockton, constructed of adobe and named for Robert Field Stockton, was established by the United States Army on March 23, 1859, at Comanche Springs, which was within the site of the present city of Fort Stockton, for the protection of the mail service, travelers, and freighters. ;Comanche Springs was on the Comanche war trail into Mexico, the upper and lower San Antonio-El Paso-San Diego roads, the Butterfield Overland Mail route, and the San Antonio-Chihuahua Trail, and near the Pecos River-New Mexico road. ;Capt. Arthur T. Lee, commanding Company C, Eighth Infantry, on order of Col. Carlos A. Waite, who commanded all federal troops in Texas, abandoned the post in April 1861. ;On June 26 the post was reoccupied by Capt. Charles L. Pyron, in command of Company B, Second Regiment, Texas Mounted Rifles. ;It was abandoned by the Confederates in August 1862, after Gen. Henry H. Sibley's defeat in New Mexico.

On July 21, 1867, Fort Stockton, in ruins after the Civil War, was reoccupied by Gen. Edward Hatch, who made it the headquarters for the Ninth United States Cavalry, a regiment of black troops. ;Hatch built a new post nearby at a cost of $82,000 on land the federal government neither owned nor had leased. Except for the stone guardhouse, the buildings had stone foundations, adobe walls, and dirt roofs.; The troops quartered at the post were used for patrols, escorts, and scouts, largely against the Apaches. In 1882, after the Apaches had been defeated, the army began withdrawing the troops. ;The last contingent, a company of the Third Cavalry and two companies of the Sixteenth Infantry, commanded by Maj. George A. Purington, left on June 26-27, 1886.

By providing protection to travelers and settlers, a market for stockmen, irrigation farmers, and merchants, and employment for freighters, mechanics, and laborers, Fort Stockton promoted the establishment and development of a thriving community. ;Since their abandonment by the military, some of the officers' quarters have been used continuously for residences. ;In 1936 the state erected a marker at the site of the fort on the grounds of the Pecos County Courthouse.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Clayton W. Williams, Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861-1895 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982).

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FORT LANCASTER

Fort Lancaster was on the left bank of Live Oak Creek above its confluence with the Pecos River. It is now a state historic site off old U.S. Highway 290 ten miles east of Sheffield in Crockett County. ;The post was established as Camp Lancaster on August 20, 1855, by Capt. Stephen D. Carpenter and manned by companies H and K of the First United States Infantry. ;Camp Lancaster became Fort Lancaster on August 21, 1856. ;Carpenter was succeeded in command by Capt. R. S. Granger, who served from February 1856 to March 31, 1858. Carpenter resumed command after March 31 and was succeeded again by Granger in January 1859. ;Granger commanded until the removal of federal troops in March 1861 after the secession of Texas from the Union. ;During the Civil War the post was occupied from December 1861 to April 1862 by Walter P. Lane's rangers, who became a part of Company F, Second Regiment, of the Texas Mounted Rifles. ;After the war the fort was reoccupied in 1871 as a subpost by a company of infantry and a detachment of calvary. ;Personnel changed monthly. ;The post was apparently abandoned in 1873 or 1874 and much of its masonry was used for buildings in Sheffield.

Fort Lancaster protected the lower road from San Antonio to El Paso in the years following the discovery of gold in California. ;The duties of the men stationed at Fort Lancaster were to escort mail and freight trains, pursue Mescalero Apaches and Comanches, and patrol their segment of road to keep track of Indian movements. ;The post was originally constructed of picket canvas and portable Turnley prefabricated buildings. ;By the time it was abandoned all its major structures were made of stone or adobe. ;The Butterfield Overland Mail changed its route west from the upper road between San Antonio and El Paso to the lower road in August 1859. ;Mail on the lower road had previously been contracted to George H. Giddings and John Birch. ;Three coaches per month passed over the road. In June of 1860 Lt. William E. Echols and his camel corps visited the fort.

The site of Fort Lancaster was deeded to Crockett County in 1965 and donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1968.; Archeological exploration had been begun two years earlier by T. R. Hays and Edward B. Jelks; their project involved excavating one barracks and three latrines and testing two other barracks and two commissary structures. ;Three structures-an officers' quarters, the commissary, and the hospital kitchen-and the flagpole location were entirely excavated in 1971 by John W. Clark. Dessamae Lorraine did additional mapping of the site and work on the flagpole site shortly after Clark's excavation. ;In 1974 Wayne Roberson excavated two enlisted men's barracks and two officers' quarters. The excavations produced large numbers of artifacts and a great deal of architectural information for interpreting the site. ;Much of this material is presented at the visitors' center at Fort Lancaster State Historic; Site and in state archeological reports. ;Because of a budget shortfall the state yielded management of the site to Texas Rural Communities, Incorporated, in 1993.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Art Black, Fort Lancaster State Historic Site, Crockett County, Texas: Archeological Investigations (Archeological Report 8 [Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Parks Division, Historic Sites and Restoration Branch, 1975?]). John W. Clark, Jr., Archeological Investigations at Fort Lancaster State Historic Site, Crockett County, Texas (Texas Archeological Salvage Project Research Report 12 [Austin: University of Texas, 1972]). ;John W. Clark, Jr., The `Digs' at Fort Lancaster, Texas, 1966 and 1971, Military History of Texas and the Southwest 12 (1974). ;T. R. Hays and Edward B. Jelks, Archeological Exploration at Fort Lancaster, 1966 (Austin: State Building Commission, 1966). University of Texas School of Architecture, Texas Historic Forts: Architectural Research (5 vols., Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 1968).

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DEVILS RIVER

Devils River, an intermittent stream, rises in southwestern Sutton County at the gathering of six watercourses, Dry Devils River, Granger Draw, House Draw, Jackson Draw, Flat Rock Draw, and Rough Canyon (at 30°20' N, 100°57' W) and runs southwest for ninety-four miles to its mouth on the northeastern shore of Amistad Reservoir in southern Val Verde County (at 29°28' N, 101°04' W). ;On its long route thirty-two tributaries disembogue into it, including Dolan Creek, where Dolan Falls is formed, Dark Canyon, Dead Mans Creek, and Satan Canyon. ;The path of Devils River sharply dissects massive limestone and traverses wash deposits of sand, gravel, and mud on flat terrain. ;The area's generally dark, calcareous, stony clays and clay loams support oak, juniper, grasses, mesquite, and water-tolerant hardwoods and conifers. ;In 1590 Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, a Spanish explorer, traveled along the river and called it Laxas, meaning "slack" or "feeble". ;Later travelers and settlers called the river San Pedro. In the 1840s Texas Ranger captain John Coffee (Jack) Hays asked the name of the river as he stood before one of its deep canyons. ;Upon hearing its name, he reportedly replied that it looked more like the Devil's river than Saint Peter's. ;The stream was well known to early travelers because it allowed access from north to south through rugged canyonland, and it offered water. ;East-west expeditions followed its banks as far as possible before striking out into the desert.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Del Weniger, The Explorers' Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1984).

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