La Salle Co

Fort Ewell

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Fort Ewell was located approximately 25 miles Southeast of the present town of Cotulla on the South bank of the Nueces River at the point where it was crossed by the old San Antonio-Laredo Road.

The fort was originally established on May 18, 1852 and was named for Richard Stoddard Ewell, captain in the United States Army.

On June 11 and 12, 1853, the fort was inspected by W. G. Freeman. According to this report on the Eight Military Department, written after his inspection, the fort had been established to guard the frontier and the road from San Antonio to Laredo.

At the time of his inspection, the fort consisted of one commissary storehouse, an blacksmith shop and two sets of company quarters, constructed of adobe. The roofs were of canvass. His report on the fort was not favorable, as there had been many desertions and in December 1853 the War Department issued orders of abandonment of the fort as early as possible. It was officially abandoned on October 3, 1854.

When La Salle County was organized in 1880, the settlement around Fort Ewell was the most populous in the area, and became the first county seat. In an early Commissioners Court meeting, Mrs. Ford's hotel at Fort Ewell was designated the Courthouse of La Salle County.

In March, 1882 the county records were transferred from Mrs. Ford's hotel at Fort Ewell to the Town of La Salle.

A special election was held in August 1883, and Cotulla was officially declared the county seat of La Salle County. After this many Fort Ewell residents moved away and those that remained suffered an outbreak of smallpox in February and March 1884 and the entire area was placed under quarantine. The settlement never again played an important part in county affairs. The post office was discontinued in July 1886.

There are no physical remains of the fort. In 1936 the State Historical Commission placed a granite marker on its site.


La Salle County Historical Commission

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