in a Pecan Shell
Fort Hancock had
been established as Camp Rice in 1881 (See Camp
Rice postmark below). After the death of Union Major General
Winfield Scott Hancock in 1886, the post changed its name to honor
the General, who was wounded at Gettysburg and was later the commander
of the 5th Military Department (which included Texas).
Fort Hancock and Fort Quitman were both subposts to
the "Mother Fort" of
It was near what had been Ft. Quitman, but was reestablished in 1882
to be nearer to the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was one of the few
forts in Texas to be purchased by the U.S. War Department.
The Handbook of Texas graciously supplies the purchase price of $2,370
- which answers the nagging question: What's a Fort Worth?" It became
an independent post in 1884.
Hancock was frequently flooded by the Rio Grande despite small dams
that had been built by the soldiers to prevent this. They also endured
several fires before pulling out in 1895.
A town sprang up just East of the Fort and the post office
opened in 1886, the year the Fort's name changed.
The town of Fort Hancock today has an estimated population
of 400 and had its 15 minutes of fame recently, when it was mentioned
as a border crossing point in the end of the movie "The Shawshank
Hancock, Texas Landmarks:
Jason Penney says today that while many fish can be caught here (catch
and release), the pollution from the Rio Grande prohibits them being
diverted from the Rio Grande
Photo Courtesy Jason
Lonesomeness Redefined -
Fort Hancock, "Fort Unworthy", Victorio's Secret, the Buffalo Soldier's
graves and the skirmish that made them necessary.
County map showing Camp Rice/Ft. Hancock
Modification of Texas General Land Office 1920s map
Hancock Texas Forum
Like Marta Esparza I too am the granddaughter of Seferino and Felicitas
Esparza. I remember that little red building well. My uncle Seferino
Jr. used to run the store. I have fond memories of racing there
between high school classes to get some candy. Prior to my grandfather
buying the building it used to be a barber shop and also a place
where Ms. Irby used to give piano lessons. My father still lives
in the house behind that building.
The other building pictured here (the long white building) was owned
by Arturo and Maria Hernandez. My grandfather also bought a part
of that building when I was young. My parents used to run a gas
station on the right side of the building (if you are facing the
building) when I was young. They would leave my brother and I to
"mind the store" when we were both young. I remember pumping gas
when I was 8 years old! Unheard of today for sure.
Unfortunately I've lost contact with the majority of my dad's side
of the family. I was much closer to my mom's side of the family.
My mom's brother still owns the house in the middle of town that
my grandmother lived in until 2004 when she passed away.
I was married in the St. Teresa Catholic Church in 1988.
I still go back at least every other year and have many wonderful
memories of living in that small town atmosphere. I will always
be a Mustang at heart no matter how long I've been away. I graduated
in 1987 at the beginning of the football teams reign as 6 man football
I will look for vintage pictures of my grandmother and her family
Many thanks! - Lorraine Esparza Fox, January 17, 2020
My family is from Ft. Hancock. I saw your photo of an abandoned
grocery store. It was one of my grandfather's stores. He had one
that was called Esparza Grocery store but it has been torn down.
The name of the store you have on your website was called Berta's
Quickstop. It was named after my aunt and my grandparents only daughter.
It burnt down and my family decided not to reopen the store after
my grandmother's death. Thank you for bringing back old memories
of my grandparents and of Ft. Hancock. - Marta Medina (Esparza),
May 13, 2014
Info Sought (prior to 1895)
In looking for anything that someone may have written on Fort Hancock
around 1885-95, I ran across your [magazine]. I got so caught up
in reading other peoples' adventures with Texas/Oklahoma that I
forgot what I was originally looking for. However, with a little
pricking of the old gray matter I was able to recall my original
purpose: Fort Hancock and to find information on land, weather conditions,
and any other events of interest that may have gone on in the early
days ...(PRIOR to 1895.)
My grandmother, born 1844 in Norway, ended up at Fort
Stockton as a lone woman with a 10 year old son in 1880. By
1885 she was moving to (Camp Rice) Fort Hancock and homesteading
a piece of ground there. I have all the land descriptions but don't
know how to locate the area short of traveling to Fort Hancock and
looking at land records. I have tried finding information in the
library but not really the kind I was looking for. If you or any
of your readers can fill me in on the early years of the Fort and
why a lone woman would want to end up there? Truly enjoy reading
your articles and responses. - Bee Foutz, October 25, 2006
piece on Fort Hancock. I was raised there and can tell you that
it is a great place to grow up. If you can dig up some more information
on Fort Hancock, I'd like to read it. - Patricia W.
to ditto Patricia W's sentiment on Ft. Hancock. My family was stationed
there with the Border Patrol twice when I was a kid. Wonderful memories
of incredible people makes living in this tiny town the most influential
experience of my life. I think of you often. - Jan Penter
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent/vintage/historic photos, please contact