Robert S. Neighbors
As Indian agent, forceful peacemaker and humanist, Maj. Neighbors had mode
influence over Texas' Indians that any other man of his era, came to Texas
He served as Quartermaster in Texas army, 1839-41, while on Texas Ranger
duty in San Antonio, 1842, he was taken as a prisoner of war to Mexico by
Gen. Adrian Woll and spent 18 months in Perote Prison.
Began his service to the Indians in 1845, as agent for Lipan-Apache and
Tonkawa tries, he used field system of control, visiting Indian homes,
learning a Red Man's way of life, improving living conditions, helping them
to trade. He ably defended their rights, was counselor and friend and sought
new homes for them, never faltering in commitment to their safety.
As a Texas Commissioner in 1850 he organized El Paso Count, he was also a
State Representative, 1851-1852, and a Presidential Elector in 1852.
Major Neighbors later became the supervising agent for all of the Indians in
Texas. Frontier civilians and soldiers failed to support his Indian
policies. Many became hostile. On Sept. 14, 1859, he was murdered near here
by a white man as he was returning after safely removing all reservation
Indians from Texas. He was buried in Belknap Cemetery (1/2 Mi. E. of Town)
By the time of the Civil War, 1861-65, Texans knew the horrors of Indian
warfare. Hostile tribes made a business of stealing horses, cattle, women
and children. The paths they followed in the "Bright Comanche Moons" were
marked by fires and ruin.
The Tonkawa tribe, by contrast, sought friendship with Texans. The became
valued allies in the Civil War, scouting against hostile Indians and
watching for signs of Federal invasion. Old Texas Indian fighters, who once
had fought Tonkawas along with others, in wartime asked for Tonkawa scouts.
Along with the frontier defense line from Red River to the Rio Grande,
commanders valued them so much the fed them at personal expense when
necessary, to obtain their help. A few Tonkawa scouts were more useful than
two or three companies of regular soldiers. They could stalk enemies better
The paid for the Confederate loyalty, on Oct. 25, 1862, near present
Anadarko, Okla., hostile Indians attacked the Tonkawa Camp, killing 137 men,
women and children out of 300. When later their Chief Castile requested a
tribal home in Texas, they were located at Fort Griffin, where they remained
until 1884, and then were removed to Oklahoma. (1964)
Fort Belknap (plaque on the left side of the entrance)
Reconstructed 1936 by the State of Texas with funds appropriated by the
Federal Government to commemorate One Hundred Years of Texas Independence.
The following committee contributed their time in history research and in
the restoration of these ground.
Senator Ben. G. O'Neal
Judge E.M. Bullock
Mrs. J.W. Bullock
Mrs. Geo. A. Terrell
Roy E. Veal - Geo. R. Whiteley
Mrs. O.T. Anderson
Mrs. C.F. Marshall
Henry Williams Sr.
Voelcker & Dixon - Architects
Claud Cochran - Contractor
Fort Belknap (plaque on the right side of the
Established Nov. 1851 for the U.S. Army by Gen. Wm. G. Belknap and
located by Cap't. R.B. Marcy.
This post-one of the most important in Texas at the time was maintained by
the U.S. Army until 1867 for the protection of early settlers and travelers.
The following personnel occupied this fort from 1851 to 1867.
1851 - Ten companies of the 10th Infantry under command of Col. G. Loomis.
1852 - Five companies of the 5th Infantry under command of Col. G. Loomis.
1854 - Three companies of the 2nd Dragoons 87th Infantry.
1855 to 1857 - Two to Four companies of the 1st and 7th Infantry under
command of Cap't. Brevet and Maj. G.R. Paul.
1858 - One company of the 1st Calvary and 1st Infantry under command of
Cap't R.W. Johnson.
1987 - One company of the 6th Cavalry under command of First Lieut. G.
this point extended a
Surveyed in 1849 by Colonel J. E. Johnson who was detailed by the U.S. War
Department to locate the most feasible route from Red River to El Paso. From
1851 to 1854 it connected two frontier forts, Belknap and Phantom Hills, 73
miles apart. Traveled 1858 to 1861 by stages of the Butterfield live which
connected St. Louis and San Francisco.
frontier post Camp Belknap located this vicinity. Local soldiers determined
to guard edge of settlement against Indian raids, Union invasion from Indian
territory joined frontier Regiment of Texas Calvary and Rangers. Chain of
posts from Red River to Rio Grande patrolled regiment. Concentrated vicinity
this camp Spring 1863. Fought Comanche attack near Elm Creek 1864.
Constantly looking for marauders, short on food supplies and ammunition,
these Confederates effectively protected settlers and supply trains.
A memorial to Texans who served the Confederacy.
Erected by the State of Texas, 1963.
Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.
07/28/02 01:03:16 -0500.