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Fort Griffin

Fort Griffin State Historic Site
Fort Griffin State Historic Site in 2009
Fort Griffin is located in Texas
Fort Griffin
Fort Griffin
Location Shackelford County, 15 mi. N of Albany on U.S. 283
Nearest city Albany, Texas
Governing body Texas Historical Commission
NRHP Reference # 71000962
Added to NRHP March 11, 1971

Fort Griffin, now a State Historic Site, was a Cavalry fort established 29 July 1867 by four companies of the Sixth Cavalry[1] under the command of Lt. Col. S.D. Sturgis,[2]:64 in the northern part of West Texas, specifically northwestern Shackelford County, to give settlers protection from early Comanche and Kiowa raids. Originally called Camp Wilson, it was finally named for Charles Griffin, a former Civil War Union general who had commanded the Department of Texas during the early years of Reconstruction.[2]:65

Other forts in the frontier fort system were Forts Richardson, Concho, Belknap, Chadbourne, Fort Stockton, Fort Davis, Fort Bliss, McKavett, Clark, Fort McIntosh, Fort Inge and Phantom Hill in Texas, and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.[3] There were "sub posts or intermediate stations" including Bothwick's Station on Salt Creek between Fort Richardson and Fort Belknap, Camp Wichita near Buffalo Springs between Fort Richardson and Red River Station, and Mountain Pass between Fort Concho and Fort Griffin.[4]


  • History 1
  • Gallery 2
  • Preservation 3
  • Climate 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7


Although most time was spent building the fort, Capt. Adna Chaffee fought the Comanche in a successful engagement in March 1868.[2]:74 Companies F, I, K, and L, Sixth Cavalry, were augmented when Lt. Col. S.B. Hayman's Seventeenth Infantry arrived on 3 June 1868.[2]:30

The fort served as a step-off point for many expeditions headed westward, and for a time it had a substantial settled community that built up around it, catering to passing wagon trains and military personnel that sought saloons for recreation on their down time. It is northeast of Abilene, the seat of Taylor County.

By 1870, a very rough town called "The Flat" sprang up just north of Fort Griffin, which eventually became a stop off point for cattle drives headed north to Dodge City, Kansas. During that time, several notable characters and gunfighters of the Old West drifted through, including Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Dave Rudabaugh, and the brothers Bat and Jim Masterson. John Selman, who eventually became known for killing outlaw John Wesley Hardin, worked there and in the surrounding county as a deputy sheriff.

General William Tecumseh Sherman and Inspector general Randolph B. Marcy visited the fort on 15 May 1871.[2]:79

Following the Red River War of 1874, the Comanche and Kiowa threat on the prairies waned, and rapid settlement by ranchers and farmer put Fort Griffin squarely in the settled area.[2]:197 Capt. j.B. Irvine, commanding Company A, Twenty-Second Infantry lowered the flag for the last time and marched to Fort Clark on 31 May 1879.[5][2]:197



Fort Griffin renovation

On January 1, 2008, Fort Griffin was transferred from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the Texas Historical Commission.

During the last two weekends of June, the Fort Griffin Fandangle, a western musical production, is presented by residents of Albany in the Prairie Theater. The program, the content of which is changed each year, began in 1938 and is billed as "Texas' Oldest Outdoor Musical". In addition, a portion of the official state herd of Texas longhorns is maintained at Fort Griffin.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Fort Griffin has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Rister, C.C., 1956, Fort Griffin, On the Texas Frontier, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 0806119810
  3. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 48
  4. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  5. ^ Carter, R.G., On the Border with Mackenzie, 1935, Washington D.C.: Enyon Printing Co., p. 49
  6. ^ Climate Summary for Fort Griffin

Further reading

  • Fort Griffin State Historic Site website
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