American Trails Revisited–Texas’ Chisholm Trail (Spanish Fort)

Spanish Fort, TX

Spanish Fort Vicinity Today
Google Maps 7/26/2015

The present site of the community of Spanish Fort was the scene of one of the decisive battles of early Texas history. As early as 1700, the French were active along the Red River, and in 1719 Bernard de la Harpe established on the south bank of the river, on the site of the principal village of the Caddoes, an outpost which he called Fort St. Louis de Carlorette. It served as a traders’ and trappers’ supply station but was abandoned after a few years. In 1759 Colonel Diego Ortiz Parrilla, advancing from San Antonio and San Saba, came upon Indians entrenched behind a stout stockade, over which flew the French flag. His report described the fort as consisting of high oval-shaped structures, surrounded by a ditch and a log stockade. Armed by the French, the Indians soundly defeated Parilla and sent him back in hasty retreat. Under the treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762, the French ceded Louisiana Territory to Spain, and abandoned their western outpost. Spanish exploration parties and patrols visited the site from time to time until as late as 1800. Then all reports of the old post ceased until its ruins were found in 1859. The description of the ruins of that date correspond remarkably with the data of Parrilla 100 years before. Today, hardly discernible mounds are all that remain.


Spanish Fort Vicinity
Railroad Map of Texas 1884

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