Fort Boggy State Park

Fort Boggy State Park
c/o Park Region 3 Headquarters
Fort Parker State Park
RR 3 Box 87
Mexia TX 76667
254/562-5533
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   * History
   * Facilities
   * Flora/Fauna
   * Directions
   * Elevation, Weather, and Schedule Information
   * Area Attractions

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Fort Boggy is located in Leon County and consists of 1847 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.

The Park's History:
 
In early 1840, the families of John Byrns and Christopher C. Staley of Tennessee, estabilished 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, causing 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 Kickapoos, lived along the Trinity River near what is now known as Kickapoo Shoals.

The palisaded 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 eleven 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 Captain Thomas Greer, First Lieutenant Tom Middleton, Second Lieutenant Elisha Whitten, and Ensign John Byrns.

Indian attacks continued in the area as Captain 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 dominated the region 150 years ago.

The Park's Facilities:
 
The park is undeveloped.

Flora/Fauna:
 
The terrain is wooded, rolling hills, bottom land meadows, and wetlands. The abundant wildlife includes white-tailed deer, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, and beavers. A large portion of the park is subject to flooding during wet periods, providing excellent habitat for waterfowl and other varieties of aquatic wildlife. The ample water availability favors a wide diversity of vegetation including woodlands comprised of post oak, hickory,
elm, sweetgum, and pecan, with undergrowth of American beauty berry,
dogwood, sassafras, yaupon, hawthorn, green briar, and Alabama supplejack.
Savannah grasslands occur throughout the park made up of little bluestem,
Indian grass, purpletop, switchgrass, and stands of the highly-endangered Centerville Brazos mint plant.

Directions:
 
The park is located about 7 miles south of Centerville on State Highway 75.

Elevation, Weather, and Schedule Information:
 
Elevation: 496
Weather: January minimum 35 degrees; average 35 degrees; July maximum 96 degrees. Rainfall: 39"

Open: Access only by special request.
 

Area Attractions:
 
Nearby points of interest include Rusk/Palestine and Fort Parker State Parks; Texas State Railroad State Historical Park; Old Fort Parker State Historical Park (operated by the City of Groesbeck); and Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historical Parks; the Cities of Rusk, Palestine, and Fairfield (where the Freestone County Museum in the century-old jail is located).

For more details, contact the regional office.
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            Please send comments, suggestions, or questions to:
   [Texas Parks and Wildlife,4200Smith School Rd, Austin, TX, US, 78744]

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