1851 – 1871
Part of the string
of forts established in 1848 to protect westward settlers, the fort
was named after Lt. George Mason, who had died at Fort Brown during
the Mexican War. Another source says that it was perhaps named after
a popular General (Richard Barnes Mason) who died just months before
the fort was built.
Established prior to the organization of Mason
County, the fort was included inside the boundaries of what was
then Gillespie County.
From the early 1850 until the early 1860s, Fort Mason’s presence kept
Kiowas, Lipan Apaches, and Comanches away from the encroaching settlers.
Although the fort was abandoned for two brief periods, it reached
its maximum consignment of troops in 1856 while under the command
of Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston.
In March, 1861, the fort became Confederate property.
In time, twenty junior and field grade officers stationed at Fort
Mason became generals in the Civil War. Confederates generals included
Hood, Lee and six others. Twelve of the twenty became Union general
The Confederate Army held 215 men prisoner at Fort Mason in 1862 under
suspicion of being Union sympathizers. During and after the war, Indian
attacks grew more frequent. In late 1866 the fort was re-occupied,
repaired and refurbished.
Lawlessness during Reconstruction reached the distant post and instead
of bringing order, the post was affected in a most un-military way.
Courts-martial were common and desertion was rampant. Cavalry was
replaced with Infantry and the post’s last official inspection was
January 1869 when it had a skeleton detachment of less than 70 personnel.
By the end of March the fort was officially closed. It reopened briefly
in 1870 but closed forever in 1871.
The native stone buildings, which once numbered 25 were spirited away
(stone by stone) to reappear in town, transformed into residences.
In the mid 1970s the pattern was reversed when local citizens rebuilt
a former officer’s quarters from the well-used rock.
| Texas Centennial
22, 1858, and organized August 2, 1858, this cunty was named for its
most important settlement, Fort Mason.
Garrisoned intermittently from July 6, 1851 to March 23, 1869, Fort
Mason was named for Lt. G.T. Mason of the united Stated 2nd Dragoons,
killed in Mexican war action on April 25, 1846, near Brownsville.
Fort Mason was one of a chain of posts situated a day's horseback
ride apart. From Red River to the Rio Grande, for protecting frontier
against Apaches, Comanches, other Indians.
Subject: Fort Mason
"There is only a site left in Mason
for Fort Mason, but remains are everywhere, in the surrounding homes
that were built from the fort's rocks." - Sarah
Reveley, December, 2007
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