Fort Leaton (1848-1851) - Never a military fort, Fort Leaton was established by Ben Leaton in 1848 as a fortified trading post. The post was intermittently used by the U.S. Army until Fort Davis was established in 1854. Located on the site of a Spanish fort founded in 1773 known as El Fortín de San José at La Junta that was abandoned in 1810. Ben Leaton died of yellow fever on a trip to New Orleans in 1951. The post continued operating for some years under Leaton's wife and her new husband. Also known as Old Fortin, El Fortín, Fortin.
Fort Leaton History
The fort was built in an L-shape with the long side running east and west for 200 feet, parallel to the river. The adobe building inside the post was 192 feet square with an internal courtyard 30' by 60', an internal corral that was 179' by 82' and about 100 rooms. The walls were made of 18" adobe bricks, laid crosswise making the walls eighteen inches thick. A stockade for animals was located at the base of the "L". Large gates allowed teams and wagons to enter. A crenellated parapet surrounded the rooms and fortified the structure.
After the death of Ben Leaton in 1851 the post continued to operate for some years under Leaton's wife and her new husband. The fort was acquired by John Burgess and he lived there until Leaton's son Bill killed him in 1875. After his death the post was no longer in use.
Part of Fort Leaton State Historic Site.
Visited: 29 Mar 2016