Forts Protected Early Texas Settlers

Down through the years in the history of Texas, there have been a large number of forts constructed to afford settlers some protection.

In 2013, I wrote an article about a number of forts built by Texans for the protection of new settlements, many of which housed some Texas Rangers.

In its early days of exploration, Spain built a number of forts and missions. Some 35 missions were constructed over time.

The first Spanish Missions in Texas were established at San Angelo, El Paso and Presidio under the guidance and direction of the Franciscans from their mission in Santa Fe. The San Angelo mission was the first to be established in 1632. It was abandoned in 1632 due to its remoteness from Santa Fe.

Then in 1656 a mission was established at El Paso. The Franciscans built the mission of Corpus Christi de la Isleta (Ysleta), Nuestra Senora de la Limpia Conception del Socorro and San Antonio de Senecu.

Ysleta still exist as a parish, though in 1891, the church name was changed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

Socorro today is also a parish, La Purisima. Two miles north of Ysleta, there is a state historical marker on the site of the Senecu mission.

In 1684, the Spanish established a mission in the area of San Angelo, near the juncture of the Colorado and Concho River.

The Spanish continued across the country constructing a number of missions and in 1690 took their efforts into East Texas.

The French also established some forts, the most notable being Fort St. Louis, established in and later abandoned. Historians had estimated that the fort was in Victoria County. The actual site location remained a mystery until 1996 when a cowboy working on a private ranch in South Texas using a metal detector discovered a large muzzle loading cast iron-cannon.

Fort Saint Louis was a French colony established by French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1685.

La Salle originally intended to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River but due to inaccurate maps, he and his ships wound up in Matagorda Bay. The crew and colonist came ashore at the mouth of Garcitas Creek in what is now Victoria County.

Upon completion of the construction of the fort, La Salle and group of men set out to find the Mississippi. Somewhere along the way, thought to be near present day Navasota, the members of the expedition mutinied and killed La Salle.

The remaining members of the colony were killed in 1688 by a Karankawa raid.

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