The Boys From Company K LbNA # 19641
|Placed Date||Dec 9 2005|
Fort Lancaster - Texas Frontier Forts Series #1
Fort Lancaster is on the east bank of Live Oak Creek above its confluence with the Pecos River in Crockett County. It is south of Interstate 10 on old U.S. Highway 290 (now Texas 290) ten miles east of Sheffield. The post was established first as Camp Lancaster on August 20, 1855, by Capt. Stephen D. Carpenter, later became Fort Lancaster, and was abandoned in 1873. It was manned by United States infantry, and later cavalry, of Companies H and K, before and after the Civil War, and by Walter P. Lane's Texas Rangers during the Civil War.
Fort Lancaster’s purpose was to protect the lower road from San Antonio to El Paso in the years following the discovery of gold in California. Considered a lonely outpost, the duties of the men stationed there were to escort mail and freight wagons, patrol their segment of the “Government Road,” and to keep Mescalero Apache and Comanche depredations in check. The Butterfield Overland Mail was sending three coaches per month through Fort Lancaster in 1859. Lt. William E. Echols and his "camel corps" visited the fort in 1860.
The post was originally constructed of picket canvas and wooden buildings. By the time it was abandoned all its major structures were made of stone or adobe, many with a combination of both. After abandonment, much of its masonry was removed and used locally for private buildings. Surviving ruins at the fort site are the masonry chimneys and corners while the abode walls between the corners, left unprotected with no roofs, have succumbed to the elements.
The site of Fort Lancaster was donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1968 and operates today as a State Historical Park. It is a quite and tranquil setting, much as it was during its heyday, one of the loneliest outposts in the picket line of Texas frontier forts.
Directions to the Letterbox:
2.1 miles east of the Fort, just off Texas 290, is a roadside park with 4 covered tables. This park is on high ground and offers a spectacular view of the mesas and valleys of this area of Texas. Go to the second table from the park entrance. Between this picnic site and the highway is a set of concrete steps with a Texas Historical marker on the left and a plaque honoring the rancher who donated the park site on the right. Stop and read about the “Old Government Road” before proceeding.
Continue down the steps to the bottom. From the bottom of the steps turn left and walk towards the third picnic site (from the entrance). You will be traveling between the parking surface of the park and a steep drop-off to the highway below. At 60 paces the third picnic table is perpendicular to you on your left and a SMALL shrubby tree is perpendicular on your right. After facing the tree, go around the left side of the tree and behind the tree, nestled in a group of rocks about 4 feet out from the base of the tree, you will find the camo box. CAUTION: You will be only a few feet from a very precipitous ledge. DO NOT let children hunt for this box un-escorted. Always remember to use caution around rocky and brushy areas, this is rattlesnake country!
Please re-hide well to avoid accidental discovery as this park is heavily used.