Fort Fitzhugh

By: David Minor

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: October 3, 2019

Fort Fitzhugh, three miles southeast of Gainesville, was one in a series of military outposts built from Preston to the Rio Grande for the protection of settlers from Indian raids. Around it was the first settlement in Cooke County. The fort was constructed in 1847 by volunteers of the Texas Rangers from nearby Collin County under the command of William F. Fitzhugh. The outpost was a small log stockade consisting of a single row of blockhouses with a nearby stable. Cooke County chose the fort as the site of the county seat and renamed it Liberty, but that name had already been taken. Meanwhile a new site for the county seat near the banks of nearby Elm Creek was completed and named Gainesville. The fort was abandoned by 1850. In 1948 a plaque donated by the local Boy Scout unit marked the spot where the fort once stood. Twenty years later the only remnant of Fort Fitzhugh was a well that had been about thirty feet northwest of the stockade and a caved-in ammunition dump that may have been part of the original military outpost.

Gainesville Daily Register, August 30, 1948. A. Morton Smith, The First 100 Years in Cooke County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1955).

Time Periods:
  • Antebellum Texas

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

David Minor, “Fort Fitzhugh,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 3, 2019