Established and named for US secretary of war Jefferson Davis in 1854, Fort Davis was key to the eventual settlement of the Davis Mountains’ rich grasslands. Camels once grazed at the fort. It served as home to the African American regiments known as the Buffalo Soldiers, and Lt. Henry Flipper, the first African American to graduate from West Point, was court-martialed at this post. Present-day visitors to the town of Fort Davis can gaze at the stars and imagine the immensity of the universe at the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, stay the night at the Civilian Conservation Corps-built Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park, or visit with a living-history volunteer or park ranger at Fort Davis National Historic Site.
About the Author
Lawrence John Francell, a county commissioner for Jeff Davis County, is the retired director of the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. He is the author of Fort Lancaster: Texas Frontier Sentinel and numerous articles on the history of the region. The collections of the Fort Davis Historical Society, Fort Davis National Historic Site, the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, and many individuals were instrumental in telling the story of this unique community.
Table of Contents
1 Guarding the Road: 1854-1861 11
2 Settling the Frontier: 1867-1891 25
3 A Town Grows Up: 1870-1920 57
4 Surviving the Depression and War: 1920-1960 83
5 Camp Meetings, Dudes, and Celebrations: 1890-Present 103
6 A Destination Attraction: 1960-Present 115
Further Reading 127