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Disappearing Fort Griffin!

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

1872 map shows Camp Griffin (LOC).

Founded in 1867, Fort Griffin (Shackleford County, Texas) is now a state historic site with lots of scenic ruins on a mesquite-heavy savannah. It's worth a day trip to visit it. But as per usual, I decided to visit it this week by perusing old maps. What I discovered that Fort Griffin was, apparently, a hard fort to pin down! Check out the maps, with links to the full digitized ones.

The first map is a colorful Colton's - counties are shaded in green, yellow, pink, or peach (I think that's peach). Fort Griffin is not in its actual location on this 1872 map. Instead, there's a "Camp Griffin" at the border of Young and Stephens counties. A make-believe railroad line snakes south of there. An interesting side note: according to this map, the Dallas & Wichita RR (later, MKT) is going to go right through Buffalo Springs in Clay County! At one point! Maybe! Yeah, that didn't happen. Camp Cooper, closed in 1861, is still there, though. See the map .

The best geographic depiction of the fort is in the map from 1876. Fort Griffin is clearly marked at the cusp of Shackleford, Throckmorton, and Stephens counties between Camp Cooper and Fort Phantom Hill... both forts having been abandoned at this point. Notice the line running through Fort Griffin? That was the army's telegraph line. The railroad tracks that cross the map around Fort Griffin are all make-believe. See the map.

The last map was published in 1879. Once again, Camp Cooper is seen in Throckmorton County, but so is Fort Griffin. According to this map, the Texas & Pacific Railway was about to lay its tracks through the town a the base of the fort (officially called the town of Fort Griffin but often referred to as The Flat). This railroad line is also wishful thinking, as tracks were laid in Albany, instead. This resulted in The Flat becoming a ghost town. Also... where's Fort Richardson on this map?! If you're interested in Greer County history, this map shows Greer as belonging to Texas. See the map.

1876 map of Fort Griffin (Portal to Texas History).
1879 map of Fort Griffin (Portal to Texas History).

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