Texas Frontier Fort Rises From the Ruins

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As the people in Fredericksburg suffered from limited food supplies and disease two and a half years from the arrival of the first settlers, the cavalry (in the form of a company of infantry, then dragoons) came to the rescue! The first western frontier fort in Texas was built on the eastern edge of Fredericksburg where the Pinta Trail from San Antonio crossed Barons Creek. It was originally called Camp Houston, but changed in 1849 to honor a casualty of the Mexican War. The continual arrival of new settlers almost resulted in open war with the various Indian tribes in the area, but a second treaty (the Treaty of Fort Martin Scott) was negotiated in 1850.

Pinta Trail Crossing Barons Creek in Fredericksburg

Pinta Trail Crossing

Photo: Robert Deming

The Pinta Trail was the area’s main route northwest from San Antonio, and the U.S. Army’s first Texas frontier fort was built there in December 1848. The town benefited from the jobs brought by the fort, which was built by stonemasons and carpenters from the fledgling communities of Friedrichsburg and Zodiac. This photo shows where the Pinta Trail crossed Barons Creek beside the fort.  This creek still flows clean and clear and is close to the hearts of the townspeople.

This recreated sign post shows the important settlements in the Hill Country.

Pinta Trail Signpost

Photo: Robert Deming

The Spanish had settled a fort and mission on the San Saba River near present day Menard almost a hundred years earlier in 1757, but it was destroyed and all the inhabitants killed a year later. Fredericksburg was the frontier, beyond which various Indian tribes held undisputed control. The fort brought security and jobs, but was closed in 1853 as the frontier moved west. The Texas Forts Trail is a 650 mile loop which connects the eight forts and the Spanish Presidio San Saba.

The Jail Survives

Fort Martin Scott Brig
Photo: Robert Deming

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