Fort Martin Scott
June 14, 2013
Apaches, Comanches and other Indians collided with German and American settlers, the frontier military, and ranger groups in the Texas Hill country of the 19th century leading to establishment of a line of frontier forts. Among the posts established was Fort Martin Scott, located a few miles from the present city of Fredericksburg, Texas.
The location was chosen for its proximity to the Pinta Trail, which was first used by indigenous people as early as 10,000 years ago. In historic times, the trail became a route for emigrants and gold seekers to travel. Some sought homes in Texas while others went on to California during the gold rush that began in 1849.
Germans moved into the region in the 1840s when the Mainzer Adelsverein, a society formed in Germany to promote immigration, sent Prince Karl of Solms-Braunfels to Texas in 1844. His mission was to locate land and prepare for the influx of immigrants. The first settlement he developed was named New Brunfels, but in 1846 he and a small party set out for a new location. They settled Fredericksburg and established relations with the Comanches, taking part in a Great Council of Peace with chiefs Buffalo Hump, Santa Anna and Old Owl leading to a peace treaty negotiated in March 1847.
The United States had annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845, creating the State of Texas. This meant that the earlier relations between Texas officials and settlers were now under the purview of the federal government.
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It was not an easy transition, as the American troops moved in escalating conflict with the Indian inhabitants of the area.
This led to the establishment of the first Federal line of frontier posts, 1845-1849 that included Fort Martin Scott.
In a carefully documented new book Fort Martin Scott, author Joseph Luther explains the development of the post, the issues of the various inhabitants in the region, and introduces readers to the prominent individuals involved with the fort and locale.
The inclusion of maps dating back to the 1840s, and more modern representations of the geography aid the reader who may not be familiar with the Texas landscape.
This is a brief, highly readable account that also puts into context the early settlement by Germans and the overall issues of Comancheria. ❖