Fort Ewell, Texas

Fort Ewell, Texas, was built on the south bank of the Nueces River on the road crossing from San Antonio to Laredo.

Established in May 1852, it was named for Captain Richard S. Ewell, a veteran of the Mexican-American War. The post was commanded by Captain John Smith Simonson and garrisoned by three companies of Mounted Riflemen. Almost immediately, reports were made that the fort was located in a poor location, as it was subject to flooding from the Nueces River, had little timber for construction, and had poor grazing for the livestock. The few buildings built of adobe lacked support, and attempts at gardening were unsuccessful due to lack of rainfall.

Before long, most soldiers were often reported as sick, with scurvy being common. During this time, numerous troops deserted the fort, and by October 1854, it was closed. A small settlement that had grown up around the fort, called Guajoco, continued to survive for several years. When La Salle County was organized in 1880, Guajoco was its chief settlement. Near this site stood the first courthouse, a wooden building that was later moved to La Mota Ranch. However, by 1886, its post office was closed and its residents moved on to other localities.


© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.

Also See:

Forts Photo Gallery

Texas Forts of the Old West

Texas Forts Trail

Texas – The Lone Star State