|With Carole Goble and "Jesse,"|
the uniformed Dragoon
|1852 ballot box was used for decades.|
The first fort I visited was Fort Croghan in Burnet. An early outpost on the Texas frontier, Fort Croghan was established in 1849 on 1,600 leased acres just west of Hamilton Creek and including Post Mountain. A sentry hut was erected atop Post Mountain, and lookouts kept a watch for war parties. With soldiers providing manual labor, other buildings were built, including officers’ quarters (four dog-trot cabins), several small structures for enlisted men, officers, and a hospital. Within four years, however, the Texas frontier moved far enough westward for a new line of forts to be built. Most of the original line of outposts were abandoned, including Fort Croghan, decommissioned in 1853. A village, modern-day Burnet, had grown up east of Hamilton Creek. When the military moved out, citizens from the community and from the country side visited Fort Croghan for “midnight requisitioning.” Doors, windows, shingles, timber – even entire buildings – were hauled away for civilian use.
|Blacksmith shop with Noah Smithwick tools.|
In the 1960s the Burnet County Heritage Society began to collect pioneer buildings from the area, arranging them on the site of the old post. The collection includes the sentry hut from Post Mountain and the former adjutant’s office. Citizens donated artifacts large and small, including a great many pieces of farm equipment. Venerable farm machinery is displayed throughout the grounds, and many other items are displayed in the Fort Croghan Museum, housed in a modern building at the entrance to the old parade ground.
|Post Mountain sentinel hut.|
For years I stopped by the old fort for a quick look with Panola College students I was taking to the Davis Mountains and Big Bend. But it had been quite a number of years since I had stopped to see Fort Croghan, and now I needed photos and fresh information. Except for “Christmas at Old Fort Croghan,” a living history event held the second Saturday night each December, the fort is closed most of the winter. But I phoned the museum and connected with curator Ann Nelson. I identified myself and explained the nature of my proposed visit, hopefully just after lunch on Friday, January 22. Ann graciously assured me that someone would be on hand to show me the museum and grounds.
|My guide, Milli Williams.|
|One-room school interior.|
My visit to Fort Croghan was fruitful and most enjoyable. Any fan of military or agricultural history will find Fort Croghan Museum well worth a visit.