Monday, July 5, 2010

Fort Mason, TX

Are looking for a little history and maybe place to do some metal detecting.

If you are in Texas, or headed that way, you might check out the location of old Fort Mason near the town of Mason, TX.

The fort was first established on July 6, 1851 by the United States Army. The fort was abandoned in 1854 and then reoccupied in 1856 and remained a military outpost until 1869.

The fort was known to the local Indian tribes as the home of a “powerful medicine man” that they did not want to mess with. Lieutenant Colonel Robert May convinced the Indian chiefs in the area that he had “magical powers”.

Upon establishing the fort Colonel May gathered the local Indian Chiefs to show them his “magical powers”. During the meeting the Colonel told the Chiefs he could bring the dead back to life and was willing to prove it on a dog one of the Chiefs had with him.

The Chief agreed to let his dog be a test subject so Colonel May took the dog to his tent and a few minutes later brought back what looked to be the lifeless body of the dog. Colonel May even snipped off pieces of the dog’s tail to give to each Chief before he returned to his tent with the dog.

A few minutes later Colonel May returned with the dog that was once again alive and running around. This mystified the Chiefs and they kept their distance from the Colonel and his men for the remainder of the time the Colonel was at the fort.

Unknown to the Indian Chiefs at the time was the invention of Chloroform. The Colonel had used the medicine to anesthetize the dog to make it look like it was dead. Subsequently, by counteracting the chloroform the Colonel was able to bring the dog back to life.

Once Colonel May and his Dragoons left the fort in 1854 the fort set empty for two years before Colonel Albert Sidney Johnson and six companies of men arrived to make it the headquarters for the newly organized 2nd Cavalry.

Colonel Johnson and his men found the fort dilapidated and in need of repairs so they lived in tents built on top of adobe walls until the fort could be repairs. As an interesting note, the adobe walls for the tents were built five feet high.

Robert E. Lee was even stationed at this fort for a time. The fort was abandoned for the second and final time on March 29, 1869. You can find the fort by traveling one mile south of present day Mason, TX. The state erected a marker on the site in 1936. Make sure you check the local laws about detecting in this area!

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