History for Road Trips I: Fort Richardson, Texas (1868-1878)

As the pandemic (slowly) recedes into rearview mirror, many of you will likely be looking to travel, while perhaps remaining reticent to cram yourselves into the uncertain air of crowded indoor settings. A road trip to open-air historic sites may have a unique appeal in the summer of 2021.

As it happens, I have a stash of photos of historically significant places taken all across the American South. The next few posts will be photo dumps: perhaps you will find a place worth rolling a few hundred miles to see.

The first place I will highlight is Fort Richardson, some 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. Active during a transformative decade in Reconstruction-era Texas (1868-1878), the remaining buildings offer mute testimony to the armed force by which the U.S.A. seized and held land belonging to the Kiowa and Comanche. Soldiers from this installation participated in the Battle of Little Wichita River (12 July 1870), in which US forces were outsmarted and outfought by Kiowa leader Kicking Bird.

The long term outlook for the Kiowa in Texas was grim, as Anglo buffalo hunters and the Army under General William T. Sherman destroyed Kiowa livelihoods in the mid-1870s, and in 1887 the Dawes Act undermined the tribe’s legal standing; most were forced to what is now southwestern Oklahoma. Today, the Kiowa nation, despite everything, remains vibrant; Kiowa government is centered in Carnegie, Oklahoma.

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