Fort Ewell was established in May 1852. It was named for Captain Richard S. Ewell, a veteran of the Mexican War. The post was commanded by Captain John Smith Simonson and garrisoned by three companies of the 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 poor grazing for the livestock. The few buildings that were built of adobe lacked support and attempts at gardening were unsuccessful due to lack of rainfall.
Before long, most of the soldiers were often reported as sick, with scurvy being a common occurrence. 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 a number of years. When La Salle County was organized in 1880, Guajoco was its chief settlement. Near this site stood the first courthouse, a wooden building, which was later moved to La Mota Ranch. However, by 1886, its post office was closed and its residents moved on to other localities.
© Kathy Weiser, updated February 2020.