April 2020
terror of the 19th century
Our current situation has drawn parallels it to the Spanish Flu of the early 20th century. Few have mentioned the chronic and recurring pandemic of cholera, which had come in a series of waves, gathering an international harvest of mortality in the millions. Much like our current situation, people were not able to determine who was sick, until after the infection had progressed.

As living historians, we can forever draw upon this experience to understand how much more frightening it must have been, in a primitive stage of scientific knowledge.
Adorable Sterling Silver Horseshoe Pin, approximately 1 inch by 1 inch. The flat plait can be woven with human or horse hair or combined. Hair length of 10 inches or longer would be necessary to weave a swatch for the horseshoe
Lovely Sterling Silver Bar Pin with rounded ends, 2 1/2 inches long with a spiral woven braid inside. There are numerous plaits in which to choose. Hair length of 10 inches or longer would be necessary to weave a swatch for the bar pin

Lucy's Hairworks
Five more items have been added to the product list of Lucy's Hairwork

There is a horseshoe pendant, a cross broach, a new earring style, and two bar pins.

The work is outstanding, and more than anything else, can be used without the fear or damaging, or losing a valuable original artifact.
S terling Silver Cross Pendant measures 2 inches by 1 inch and contains woven hair. Hair length of 10 inches or longer would be necessary to weave a swatch for the cross
Fort McKavett
State Historic Site
7066 FM 864
Fort McKavett, TX 76841
Located on the northern edge of the Texas Hill Country, Fort McKavett has not changed much since its 19 th century military occupation. The extremely rural location of the site has aided with the intrusion of modernity with very few anachronisms on the horizon or at the site. The site was chosen by Gen. Persifor Smith, commander of the 8 th Military Department due to its proximity to the Comanche War Trail, water, and abundance of building material.
The first location of the post was near a bend at the headwaters of the San Saba River. It was at this location that Co. B, D, E, F, and H of the 8 th Infantry began construction of the lime kiln and bakery. These two features were regularly the initial focus when constructing a permanent post. The lime kiln was crucial for burning limestone and creating quicklime for use in mortar and whitewash and the bakery was necessary to feed the troops. This location was short lived due to the bend creating a stagnant pond in the late Spring of 1852 that introduced malarial fever amongst the troops. By early May 1852 construction of the current Fort McKavett commenced on top of a nearby limestone hill.
By the inspection of 1853, the post was well established. The soldiers spent the previous 18 months cutting limestone from the three quarries on site and erecting barracks, company kitchens and messhalls, sinks, a hospital, infirmary, commanding officer’s quarters, headquarters, and six officers quarters. Due to the poor quality of local hardwoods, none of these structures would have floors, doors, or windows until 1856 when pine and cypress was freighted to the post. During the inspection of the post by the Inspector General it was noted that “military instruction (was) invariably subordinated to the labours of the axe, saw, and hammer.”
The antebellum period saw other notable regiments stationed at the post including the 2d Dragoons (Co. E, F, G) commanded by hero of the War with Mexico Captain Charles A. May, and the 1 st Infantry. It was during this antebellum period that the post expanded to include storehouses and stables. The dragoons weren’t the only mounted troops at the post, however In the 8 th Military Department during this period two companies of each regiment of Infantry were mounted using cast of dragoon equipment and horses/mules as their mounts. The post was abandoned on March 23, 1859 and the 1 st Infantry was moved to Camp Cooper to assist with the removal of the Comanches on the Brazos Reservation into escort them into Indian Territory.
The Robinson family owned the land that the post was constructed on and moved into the two-story commanding officer’s quarters where they resided until the Federal Army returned in 1868. The abandonment was short lived, however, with Co. E 1 st Texas Mounted Rifles being stationed at the post from September 1861 through April 1862.
Following the secession of Texas in March 1861 the Federal Army was given a May 1, 1861 deadline to vacate the state by whatever means they saw fit. The bulk of the army marched to the coast at Green Lake, boarded ships and left by early April. The bulk of the Federal Army was able to meet this deadline, however 320 soldiers under the command of Lt. Col. I.V.D. Reeve were too slow. The Battle of Adam’s Hill occurred on May 9, 1861 west of San Antonio and was at its basic elements a show of force by the Texans (1370 men under arms and six cannons) commanded by Col. Earl Van Dorn of the Texas Provisional Army. The federals surrendered without any shots being fired and the men of Co. B, E, F, H,I, K and G of the 8 th Infantry became prisoners of war.
Fifty of these prisoners were sent to Fort McKavett in October 1861 and were held in the barracks that their Regiment constructed only nine years earlier. In April 1862 these prisoners were shifted to Fort Mason and after nine months of daily patrols of the frontier line, the 1 st Texas Mounted Rifles were disbanded.
The post was used sporadically by members of the 31st Brigade of Texas State Troops while on their patrols and housed squatters that were seeking protection from predation. The last body of Texas State Troops passed through the abandoned fort in May 1865 while rounding up deserters.In 1866 the only attack on Fort McKavett occurred when 250 Comanche and allied bands swept into Menard County and 31,000 head of livestock driven out of the San Saba River valley and sold in Mexico.
With the Civil War over, the Federal Army returned to Texas as an army of occupation but would not return to Fort McKavett until 1868. When Capt. Beaumont of the 4 th Cavalry visited the abandoned post in late February 1868 he reported that all the soldier made buildings, except the commanding officer’s quarters, had fallen to ruin. The rubble fill construction and poor-quality mortar did not hold up to the elements without the regular maintenance that the soldiers provided. On March 20, 1868 Co. A and F of the 4 th Cavalry arrived at the post and began reconstruction. They were joined a few weeks later by Co. D, E, F, and I of the 35 th Infantry.

The citizen squatters that were living in the ruins of Fort McKavett prior to the reoccupation moved a short distance away near the 30 acre gardens of the post and built a shanty town known as Scabtown. Scabtown was hastily thrown up of canvas structures with wooden false fronts, dug outs, and buildings constructed out of whatever wood that could be gathered. The prime objective of the inhabitants of Scabtown seemed to be to relieve the soldiers of their pay through their saloons, gaming houses, and bordellos.
During the postbellum period Fort McKavett was home to all four Regiments of the

“Buffalo Soldiers” (24 th and 25 th Infantry and the 9 th and 10 th Cavalry). It was at Fort McKavett that the 24 th Infantry was created in 1869 with the consolidation of the 38 th and 41 st Regiments of Colored Troops. It was just north of the post that the first Congressional Medal of Honor was earned by an African-American soldier following the Civil War. Sgt. Emanuel Stance, of Co. F, 9 th Cavalry during a skirmish at Kickapoo Springs resulting in the return of young Willie Lehmann and a small herd of stolen horses from the raiding Kickapoo.
Following the Red River War of 1874/75, the Army in Texas shifted their focus from frontier defense to civil engineering and the soldiers at Fort McKavett built roads and strung telegraph lines while continuing to act as escorts for railroad surveying crews.
For most of its military occupation, Fort McKavett acted as a redistribution depot for the Quartermaster and Commissary Depots in San Antonio. Supplies would be freighted to the post, offloaded and stored in warehouses onsite and shipped as needed to the posts north and west of the site. The completion of the Texas & Pacific Railroad near Del Rio in 1882 ended the necessity of Fort McKavett as a redistribution depot and the post was ordered to be abandoned on June 30, 1883.At noon on this day the flag was lowered and Co. D of the 16 th Infantry marched away from the military post. At 1pm the land owners that the government was leasing from held an auction by proxy and within hours the town of Fort McKavett was born. Fort McKavett existed as a town until 1974 with citizens living in the old buildings and building modern residences on the three parade grounds. The town of Fort McKavett played a pivotal role in several aspects of Texas and United States history, but most notable was its role in the birth of the mohair industry in Texas. Capt. William L. Black moved to Fort McKavett from St. Louis in the 1880s and by 1892 had the largest herd of Angora goats in Texas. His 523 page book on the topic was the guidebook for raising Angoras in North America through the late 1940s. South of the old fort Meliton Morales, a Union Civil War veteran, moved a herd of merino sheep and began the first production of wool on the Upper Edwards Plateau in Texas in the 1870s. The work of these two men laid the groundwork of what would later be referred to as the Wool and Mohair capital of the World. It wasn’t until the Drought of 2011 that the industry faltered and most of the stock was sold off. Texas still leads the United States in wool and mohair production.

In 1968 a group of Fort McKavett citizens raised money to purchase a few of the old fort buildings and donated them to the State of Texas with the hopes that under the state’s ownership the site would become a historic site. Over the next six years the citizens of Fort McKavett sold their property to the State of Texas and Fort McKavett State Historic Site was created.
Fort McKavett State Historic Site is fast becoming the premier site for authentic mid-19 th Century living history in the State of Texas. Situated on a limestone hilltop in the upper Texas Hill Country, Fort McKavett has 23 standing original buildings constructed between 1852 and 1876, 90 acres of the original reservation including the original lime kiln, three stone quarries, Government Springs, and an American Indian campsite with thirty bedrock mortar holes along the cliff face overlooking the springs. Its unique setting and knowledgeable, dedicated staff have ensured that living historians and reenactors from across the United States can enjoy highly authentic and immersive historical experiences while giving public visitors a snapshot into the true history of the Texas Frontier.
One method that the staff and volunteers are able to achieve this is withsemi-immersive events that are true recreations of historic events from Fort McKavett’s past. Events of this nature that are held at Fort McKavett are: recreation of the temporary POW Camp operated by the State of Texas and the Confederate Government in the winter of 1861-2, Antebellum Regulars garrison life focusing on the 1853 General Inspection of the post, and the daily life of soldiers in the 10 th Infantry (1872-1879).
On the first weekend in October 2020, the site is hosting an event focused on reconstructing an operational telegraph line on site to use for future programming and events. This task will be performed by living historians portraying Company C, 10 th Infantry which built the original line between Forts McKavett and Concho in 1875. Much is being done in the way of authenticity for this event including harvesting cedar telegraph poles from the area in which they were harvested in the period as well as identifying the original holes in which the poles were originally set
Authentic reenacting can be daunting for many new to the hobby or those who have only experienced the fringes of reenacting. The cost can seem so prohibitive, it can act as a barrier to entry to many who can afford quality garments and accessories. The staff at Fort McKavett work to overcome this by hosting several workshops every year in which they teach potential volunteers to make their own clothing using patterns draught by site staff. This aids in drastically reducing the cost for clothing, headwear, accoutrements, shoes, and more. These workshops are free to site volunteers and those that plan on attending programs at Fort McKavett.
In addition to immersive reenactments and living history events, Fort McKavett hosts monthly educational programs geared toward educating and entertaining the public. These programs are often interactive and give visitors the chance to “put their hands on history” by learning and participating in period trades, such as rough carpentry, tailoring, cordwaining, or wet plate photography. Additional monthly programs include bi-annual star parties with the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society, historic cooking demonstrations, and other historic trades programs.

Cody Mobley
Site Manager
Fort McKavett SHS
PO Box 68
Fort McKavett, TX 76841

Discounted magazine subscription offered to our cusotmers!
Hospital Department Bottles
In keeping with the medical situation of today, we are featuring our reproduction US Hospital Department bottles. These are offered in both olive and aqua, and are based on originals in our collection.
Chris Roosen
Chis has been reenacting for 9 years, and has always been interested in history. By the age of 11, he focused on the civil war. He wanted to get into reenacting to try and experience civil war life as closely as possible.

He has been in the authentic community for the last 5 years, and his favorite thing about reenacting is being able to do quality public interpretation on battlefields. Attending and supporting types of events give the public the best glimpse at the civil war in the best setting, and provides reenactors unique experiences on the very same ground the men we are portraying were making history.

He would like to see reenactors continuing to push authenticity as much as possible, and more focus on events creating unique experiences at a full formed regimental level.
Rustic Muslin shirts introduced!

Adding to our line of the recruit package, is a cotton civilian shirt. Made in the same pattern as our cotton plaid shirt, this 100% cotton shirt, features clean finished seams and hand buttonholes. The finishing touch is the porcelain calico buttons.
During this unprecedented world event, the American Battlefield Trust Education Department knows that many of you are at home, and are coping with a disrupted day-to-day schedule. They have posted a downloadable Civil War Curriculum covering that conflict and the antebellum period and is available in multiple grade levels. A new, inquiry-based curriculum will launch in the coming weeks and are preparing similar offerings for the Revolutionary War and Early Republic/War of 1812.