Marker Text: In the mid-1800s, Native tribes often met westward Anglo expansion in Texas with hostilities along the frontier line. To shield settlers form potential attack, the U.S. Army established a static line of outposts form the Rio Grande northward to the Red River.
Few early settlements existed in this vast, unprotected area created from the Milam Land District (formerly Robertson’s Colony). After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), Fort Gates, the last of a cordon of stockaded fortifications across Texas at the time, was established to defend area settlers. The U.S. Army erected the post, named for Mexican-American War veteran Maj. Collinson Reed Gates of the 4th U.S. Infantry, about five miles southeast of present day Gatesville on Oct. 26, 1849. Four companies of the 8th U.S. Infantry Regiment manned Fort Gates’ 17 buildings.
Very soon after the garrison was established, many of the families in upper Milam County moved here. As a result, the post served as the nucleus for the settlement of the surrounding area. The post ably performed in lessening the threat of attacks from Native tribes. With its primary objective accomplished, the U.S. Army transferred the garrison to Fort Phantom Hill (Jones County) in March 1852 and officially closed Fort Gates in February 1853.
In 1853, O.T. Tyler, an early Fort Gates settler, began to organize a county government. Settlers convened and signed a petition to the Texas House of Representatives, and on February 4, 1854, Gov. Elisha M. Pease signed legislation creating Coryell County. Fort Gates served as the county seat until May 27, 1854, when the county clerk transferred archives to Gatesville, the new seat of government. (2006)
Marker No: 13539
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Location: SH 36 and Fort Gates Street, Gatesville