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Built in 1863, Fort Bascom was a frontier military post along the Canadian River in New Mexico that had a significant impact on the Anglo settlement of the Southwest. Learn about the history of Ft. Bascom from Dr. James Bailey Blackshear at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at the Allen Public Library.
Located in Comanchería’s and the Comancheros’ homelands, the frontier soldiers at Ft. Bascom confronted unique challenges during and right after the Civil War. These included environmental hardships, logistical nightmares, and the dangers associated with gaining control of the Southern Plains Indians.
Comanchería is the name commonly given to the region of New Mexico, west Texas and nearby areas occupied by the Comanche before the 1860s. Comancheros were primarily Hispanic traders in northern and central New Mexico Territory who made their living by trading with the nomadic Great Plains Indians, in northeastern New Mexico and West Texas. Comancheros were given that name because the Comanches were considered their customers.
Because of Ft. Bascom’s proximity to Texas, its soldiers were often on patrols and participated on major expeditions in the Lone Star State. Dr. Blackshear observes, “Fort Bascom could be considered Texas’ northernmost frontier fort.” The social aspects of frontier duty, problems with construction, and the impact of the Comanchero trade on the Army’s gaining control of the Southern Plains Indians are weaved into Dr. Blackshear’s engaging book, Ft. Bascom Soldiers, Comancheros and Indians in the Canadian River Valley.
Dr. Blackshear teaches at Collin College’s Spring Creek campus and it’s dual credit campus at the Allen High School, and at Austin College in Sherman. Earning his PhD from the University of North Texas, he has been published by the New Mexico Historical Review and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He was a guest speaker at the Santa Fe Public Library in New Mexico in May 2016.
The library is located at 300 N. Allen Dr. Call 214.509.4911. Sponsored by the Allen Public Library, this program is free.