The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 384
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Historical context is of paramount importance in demonstrating
the ultimate significance of the fort's establishment. In November,
1827, Stephen F. Austin was given a grant for a third settlement,
Little Colony, to be situated north and west of the San Antonio Road
and east of the Colorado River, with Bastrop, then known as Mina,
serving as colony headquarters. Austin scouted the area from Mina to
Montopolis with two surveyors in April, 1830o. In June, 1835, Thomas
Jefferson Chambers surveyed a part of an eight-league grant covering
the modern city of Austin.
Jesse C. Tannehill, a member of Little Colony, subsequently made
available a portion of his land grant to the Republic of Texas for the
construction of Fort Colorado. Events immediately preceding this
development produced significant implications for the region con-
tained within the colony as well as for the later history of the entire
In November, 1835, the General Council, under Provisional Gov-
ernor Henry Smith, authorized Captain John J. Tumlinson to recruit
three companies of frontiersmen as a defensive measure against the
destructive harassment of Comanche and other Indian groups. The
Texas war for independence intervened, demanding the services of
all available personnel, and it was not until the spring of 1836 that
the infant Republic could again concentrate its attention on fron-
A chain of small forts had been established during the early part
of the decade, extending in a northwesterly direction from the town
of Bastrop and including one at Wilbarger's Bend;' one at Coleman
7-12. A systematic program of archeological research relating to historic sites in Texas
has been initiated by State Archeologist Curtis Tunnell. In addition to Washington-
on-the-Brazos mentioned above, further significant work has been accomplished at such
well-known sites as the Alamo, Fort Lancaster, Presidio San Agustin de Ahumada,
Presidio San Luis de las Amarillas de San Sabi, Mission Santa Cruz de San Sabi, and
Mission San Juan Capistrano.
'Wilbarger's Bend was established in 183o by Josiah and Mathias Wilbarger in a
bend of the Colorado River some ten miles above present Bastrop. J. W. Wilbarger,
Indian Depredations in Texas (Austin, 1889), 7; Frank Brown, "Annals of Travis County
and the City of Austin" (typescript; University of Texas Archives), Ch. III, 29-30. Brown
was County Clerk of Travis County for a long period of time, and he compiled his local
history following his retirement in 1892. Internal evidence indicates that much of the
information relating to Fort Colorado was prepared in 1902, since in writing of the
death of Ranger Philip Martin in 1837, he noted that the event had occurred sixty-five
years previously. Some of the pages of Brown's original manuscript are numbered, while
others are not. Some of the pages have two series of numbers. As a measure of clarity,
citations in the present work refer to chapter numbers and pages of the typescript.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/218/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.