Fort Cibolo

By: Julia Cauble Smith

Type: General Entry

Published: January 1, 1995

Fort Cibolo is located on Cibolo Creek four miles northwest of Shafter at the southeast end of the Chinati Mountains in central Presidio County. The private fort was constructed in the late 1850s by Presidio County's first Anglo-American rancher, Milton Faver, on his headquarters ranch. Fort Cibolo offered protection from Indian raids, an outpost for army detachments from Fort Davis, and subsistence for its inhabitants. The one-story adobe structure had a flat roof of cottonwood poles and was surrounded by walls twenty feet high and three to four feet thick, set with broken bottles to prevent attackers from scaling them. Loopholes allowed defenders to shoot from behind the walls. Circular towers at the north and south corners aided defense. The building was fitted with heavy paneled doors and wood-grilled windows. During the 1860s, when Fort Davis was abandoned during the Civil War, Indians raided the Fort Cibolo area with little resistance other than that of Faver and his men. After the war Fort Davis lent a cannon and stationed troops at Fort Cibolo. Fort Davis patrols were resupplied from the quartermaster's stored goods at Fort Cibolo when they passed through the area.

Fort Cibolo, named for the Spanish word meaning "buffalo," was self-sufficient. Nearby, Big Springs Cibolo provided enough water for irrigation, and enough vegetables were produced to be sold. Cattle, horses, mules, goats, and sheep were raised on the rangeland near the fort. A peach orchard grew nearby, and Faver kept a still at the fort to make brandy from the fruit. He traded the brandy to the Indians for hides, leather goods, horses, and mules. When Faver died in December 1889, the fort became the property of his wife, who sold the livestock and gave the money to a faith healer. In the 1970s the Cibolo Ranch was part of the J. E. White and Sons Ranch.

Leavitt Corning, Jr., Baronial Forts of the Big Bend (Austin: Trinity University Press, 1967). John Ernest Gregg, History of Presidio County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1933). Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985).

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas
  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Julia Cauble Smith, “Fort Cibolo,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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