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Fort Boggy State Park

4994 Highway 75 South
Centerville, TX 75833

903-344-1116

Fort Boggy is located in Leon County and consists of 1,847 acres. It was graciously donated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1985 by Eileen Crain Sullivan to be developed as a state park.

In early 1840, the families of John Byrns and Christopher C. Staley of Tennessee established the first settlement north of the Old San Antonio Road and between the Navasota and Trinity rivers. They were soon joined by John and James Erwin and their families from Mississippi, along with several other pioneer families. In February of 1840, C.C. Staley was killed by raiding Indians, motivating the settlers to build a fort for protection.

Two tribes of Native Americans inhabited the area and were prone to raid settlements for livestock. One of the tribes, the Keechi, had a village about three miles north of present-day Centerville. The other tribe, the Kickapoo, lived along the Trinity River near what is now known as Kickapoo Shoals.

The palisade fort (upright logs set in the ground) was built in the Erwin Settlement and, at first, bore the family name. Because of its proximity to Boggy Creek, it soon came to be called Fort Boggy. The fort was 75 yards square and enclosed two blockhouses and 11 dwellings that housed 75 people by the end of 1840. To protect the settlers, Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar authorized the formation of a military company for the fort, under the leadership of Capt. Thomas Greer, 1st Lt. Tom Middleton, 2nd Lt. Elisha Whitten and Ensign John Byrns.

Indian attacks continued in the area, and Greer was killed in 1841 on an excursion to scout Keechi Creek. Plagued by sickness, the Byrns and Erwin families left the fort and returned to their respective homes.

A few years later, as Indian attacks decreased and the need for the fort lessened, the fort fell into disrepair. The continuing expansion of settlement in the region shifted the center of population toward nearby Leona.

The land within the park was farmed by numerous families for almost a century, with some farms noted for their long tenure of African-American ownership. The property was consolidated and taken out of cultivation by the Sullivan family in the 1930s. After 60 years of lying fallow, this land along Boggy Creek has reclaimed much of the pristine beauty that characterized the region 150 years ago.

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