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A Fort’s Family Heritage

By Linda Tancs

John Butterfield chose Fort Chadbourne as a major stop for his Overland Mail Company, a stagecoach mail service connecting the east and west coasts of the United States. The fort saw other action as part of the Old West, too, like the Fence Cutting Wars (disputes between farmers and cattlemen staking their claims in the area) and mustering on its grounds at the outbreak of the Civil War. Unlike other military posts, however, this fort has always been privately owned, becoming a ranching haven for eight generations of the Odom’s, Wylie’s and Richards’ families. Located in the vicinity of Bronte, Texas, its military, ranching, and Indian historical roots have been lovingly restored. The old frontier fort now has six restored buildings, stabilized ruins, and a new visitor center featuring over 300 antique guns, thousands of military and Native American artifacts, cannons and a research library.

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