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History of Fort Worth



Department of Texas in 1849. In January 1849 Worth proposed a line of ten forts to mark the western Texas frontier from Eagle Pass to the confluence of the West Fork and Clear Fork of the Trinity River. One month later Worth died from cholera. General William S. Harney assumed command of the Department of Texas and ordered Major Ripley A. Arnold (Company F, Second United States Dragoons) to find a new fort site near the West Fork and Clear Fork. On June 6, 1849, Arnold established a camp on the bank of the Trinity River and named the post Camp Worth in honor of the late General Worth. In August 1849 Arnold moved the camp to the north-facing bluff which overlooked the mouth of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Although Native American attacks were still a threat in the area, pioneers were already settling near the fort. E. S. Terrell (1812–1905) claimed to be the first resident of Fort Worth. The fort was flooded the first year and moved to the top of the bluff where the courthouse sits today. No trace of the original fort remains. The fort was abandoned September 17, 1853.

The town

Fort Worth went from a sleepy outpost to a bustling town when it became a stop along the legendary Chisholm Trail, the dusty path on which millions of head of cattle were driven north to market. Fort Worth became the center of the cattle drives, and later, the ranching industry. Its location on the Old Chisholm Trail helped establish Fort Worth as a trading and cattle center and earned it the nickname "Cowtown".

During the 1860s Fort Worth suffered from the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction. The population dropped as low as 175, as money, food, and supply shortages burdened the residents. Gradually, however, the town began to revive.