Fort Griffin, Texas was named
for General Charles Griffin,
Department of Texas Commanding Officer who had died
the year before the Post was founded.
Samuel D. Strugis, Lt. Col. of the 6th Cavalry
Col of the 7th Cavalry Regiments founded Camp Wilson,
later Fort Griffin in 1867
FORT GRIFFIN (1867 - 1881)
One of the best known of Texas’ frontier installations, Fort Griffin was established as part of a new
line of defense in 1867, in response to Indian depredations to settlers in the area after the Civil War.
Samuel D. Sturgis located the post on a high plateau overlooking a bend in the Clear Fork of the Brazos River to the northeast.
First designated as Camp Wilson, the name of the post was changed to Fort Griffin in February 1868, in honor of Gen. Charles
Griffin, the Commander of the Department of Texas who died suddenly the previous September.
Fort Griffin was never a glamorous post as it retained a crude and temporary
appearance thoughout its existence. Scarcity of materials and funds determined that only six of the 90 structures were
built of stone. The rest were rude log houses, “picket huts,” tents, and rough-framed earthen buildings
with canvas roofs.
Regardless of the
living conditions, Fort Griffin assumed an important role in providing protection for the settlers and in the ultimate movement
of the Kiowa and Comanche Indians from the West Texas frontier to reservations in the Indian Territory.
from Fort Griffin participated in all the decisive campaigns that ended the Kiowa and Comanche domination of northern Texas.
Just to the north of the post at the junction of Collins Creek
and the Clear Fork was home to the Tonkawa Indian scouts who also served admirably in the campaigns. In addition, Fort
Griffin served as a key supply source for the Red River Campaign, which culminated in the final engagement at Palo Duro Canyon
in September 1874.
As peace came to the frontier and military activity declined, the soldiers stationed at Fort
Griffin were beset with long periods of boredom. In May, 1881, the Army determined that Fort Griffin was no longer a
necessity to frontier defense, and the post was abandoned with the transfer of Co. A, 22nd Infantry to Fort Clark. By
the mid-1800s the buffalo were gone, railroads had replaced the cattle trails, and the town of Albany was designated the county
GRIFFIN FLAT - "The Toughest Town In Texas"
The Flat boomed with the cattle trail a few miles to the west, and with the profitable
buffalo hunting industry. Dust-choked cattle drovers and buffalo hunters by the thousands flooded into the Flat to join the
soldiers, gamblers, saloon girls, surveyors, out-laws, clerks, merchants and ranchers in its stores, dance halls and storied
dens of iniquity. A passer-by could rub elbows with the likes of such notorious characters as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Bat
Masterson, John Selman, “Big Nose” Kate
Elder, or Lottie Deno - “The Poker Queen” at one time or another. With the Fort gone in 1881, the buffalo gone
and the cattle trails replaced by the railroad, and the county seat moved to Albany, the roaring town of Fort Griffin, The
Flat died a natural death.
The Barracks and Mess Hall at Fort Griffin, Texas
FORT GRIFFIN STATE HISTORIC SITE
Fort Griffin State Historic
Site, 1701 North US Highway 283, Albany, TX 76430, (325) 762-3592
Fort Griffin State Historic Site is located
on 506.2 acres with 1,500 feet of river area north of Albany in Shackelford County. The site is home to partially restored
ruins of Old Fort Griffin located on a bluff overlooking the town site of Fort Griffin and the Clear Fork of the Brazos River
Valley. The fort was constructed in 1867 and deactivated
The ruins include a hand-dug well, a mess hall, barracks, a library, a rock chimney, a store, an administration
building, a cistern, a hospital, a powder magazine, the foundation of the officers' quarters, the first sergeant's
quarters, a restored bakery, and replicas of enlisted men's huts. A portion of the official Texas Longhorn herd resides
in the park. The park offers camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking, living history, historical reenactments and nature study.
From the Texas Historic Commission website for Fort Griffin State Historic Site located at http://www.thc.state.tx.us/hsites/hs_fort_griffin.shtml