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FORT BELKNAP, TEXAS

Young County, Texas Panhandle / Central Texas North

33 9' 2.79"N, 98 44' 28.36" W (33.150775, -98.741211)

Highway 61
11 miles west of Graham the county seat
3 Miles S of Newcastle

Fort Belknap Area Hotels › Graham Hotels

Fort Belknap Texas
Entering Fort Belknap
Photo courtesy Lexie Nichols and Jordan Gibson, 2007

History in a Pecan Shell

Founded in late June 1851, where the present-day town of Newcastle stands, it was named after General William G. Belknap.

When the fort's commanding officer (Captain C. L. Stephenson) ordered essential water wells to be dug, they gave up at 66 feet and moved the fort to springs that were flowing alongside the relatively nearby Brazos River.

Shelter was crude at first but stone buildings eventually were built. The fort housed four companies of soldiers and was the northern-most anchor in the chain that spread from the Rio Grande to the Red River. The fort did not fit the standard image of a frontier fort since it lacked defensive works such as walls, berms or trenches. No assault was anticipated and the troops first order of business was to pursue bands of Indians who preyed on local settlers.

The presence of the fort bolstered confidence with settlers who arrived in such numbers that it necessitated the organization of several neighboring counties. The fort was on The Butterfield Overland Stage Route, which carried passengers and mail between St. Louis to San Francisco.

In anticipation of hostilities, all Federal troops were marched to Fort Leavenwoth, Kansas and Gen. David E. Twiggs (in San Antonio) surrendered all U.S. property to the Confederacy in February of 1861.

The remains of the abandoned fort were occasionally occupied by Texas Frontier troops, after the war but it was abandoned permanently in late 1867 with the establishment of Fort Griffin - outside of Albany, Texas (Shackleford County).

In 1936 to celebrate the Texas Centennial, some of the fort's buildings were rebuilt and in the 1970s one of the buildings has been home to the Fort Belknap Archives. The former infantry barracks are now in use as a community center.

Fort Belknap Historic Landmarks


Old Fort Belknap Powder Magazine
Old Fort Belknap Powder Magazine
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007


Old Fort Belknap Powder Magazine plaque
Old Fort Belknap Powder Magazine plaque
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007


Fort Belknap stone house
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007


Fort Belknap stone house
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007


Fort Belknap stone house
Original stone houses in Fort Belknap
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007




Camp Belknap Confederate memorial
Camp Belknap Confederate Memorial
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007


Fort Belknap Cemetery grave Texas
Photo courtesy Lexie Nichols and Jordan Gibson, 2007
Belknap Cemetery



Fort Belknap Chronicles:

Fishing Soldier by Mike Cox
When a wagon full of soldiers rolled out of old Fort Belknap early one spring morning in 1867 flanked by horseback troopers, while doubtless armed, they were not starting out on a scout for Indians... more

The Harrowing Life and Times of Elizabeth Ann Bishop by Maggie Van Ostrand
One of the Texas frontier women who taught the wilderness to quit howling and behave itself was Elizabeth Ann Bishop. Any time you might be thinking you're having troubles, no matter if they're small or very, very big, compare them to the trials and tribulations of Elizabeth Ann. What she endured is testament to the strength of frontier women... more



Take a road trip
Texas Panhandle | Central Texas North

Fort Belknap, Texas Nearby Towns:
Graham the county seat
Newcastle
See Young County

Book Hotel Here:
Graham Hotels | More Hotels

Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact us.


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