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 Texas : Features : Columns : All Things Historical

FORT HOUSTON
ALMOST A HOUSTON Page 2

by Bob Bowman
Page 1 .....
A second aborted effort to establish Houston in East Texas came in 1836 when the Republic of Texas established a stockade and blockhouse two miles west of Palestine, in Anderson County, and named the site Houston for Sam Houston, the hero of San Jacinto. The fort covered an acre of the townsite. After the fort was abandoned in the early 1840s, Houston became Fort Houston, presumably to avoid confusion with the town established by the Allen brothers on Buffalo Bayou. The settlement declined when nearby Palestine became the seat of Anderson County.

Old Fort Houston has another claim to fame in Texas.

In 1836, the fort became a refuge for members of the Parker family when they were attacked by Comanche, Kiowa and Kichai Indians at Fort Parker in Limestone County. In the raid, the Comanche seized four captives, including Cynthia Ann Parker, who remained with the tribe almost 24 years and gave birth to Quanah Parker, the powerful Comanche chief.

The morning after the raid, the 21 survivors, led by James Parker, started for Fort Houston. It took six days to travel the 60 miles.

Fort Houston's lands were acquired in 1857 by John H. Reagan, who achieved fame as a U.S. congressman and Confederate postmaster general. Today, Fort Houston and a cemetery where many its residents were buried are marked by Texas historical markers in the Palestine area.

All Things Historical Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2002 Column
(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 40 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)
Home of John H. Reagan, Anderson County, Texas
1936 photo of the John H. Reagan Home
From "Monuments Commemorating the Centenary of Texas Independence", State of Texas, 1938
John Reagan Bust By Elizabet Ney
John Reagan Bust by Elizabet Ney
Forum:
The Reagan home (shown above) was in the Centennial book. Somebody just told me the Reagan home was razed in 1946.

According to the Fort Houston marker shown in the book, Fort Houston was a fort and stockade built about 1836, abandoned in 1841. The site of Fort Houston is "now a part of the historic home of John H. Reagan which is called Fort Houston." Mr. Bowman says Fort Houston's lands were acquired in 1857 by John H. Reagan. TexasOnline says In 1857 John H. Reagan bought 600 acres, which included the old site of the fort and town, and his home became known as Fort Houston. Nobody says anything about it being gone. - Sarah Reveley, February 25, 2009

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