Live Oak County Historical Commission
Live Oak County Historical Commission

Fort Merrill-Texas Centennial Marker and National Register of Historic Places

Fort Merrill-Texas Centennial Marker placed in 1936 by Texas Centennial Committee. Photo courtesy Richard Hudson.

County Historical Commissions did not exist in 1936.

Live Oak County Judge: Honorable C.B. Beard

Date Unveiled: 1936


1936 Texas Centennial Marker Text


                                                       Fort Merrill

Established by Captain S.M. Plummer First U.S. Infantry, February 26, 1850 as a protection to settlers against Indians. Named in honor of Captain Hamilton W. Merrill, Brevet Major, Second Dragoons. Gallant Officer in the Mexican War - Permantly abandoned December 1, 1859. Marker is Property of the State of Texas.



Fort Merrill is further recognized by the National Register of Historic Places after an application by the LOCHC prepared by Jim Warren, local Live Oak County archeologist circa 1988. Jim's narration of that event is located in the W surnames of our LOCHC Oral History Collection.


APPLICATION NARRATIVES FOR CENTENNIAL MARKERS IN 1936 were not recorded. The following is presented for viewer information:



FORT MERRILL. Fort Merrill, located on the right bank of the Nueces River where the Corpus Christi to San Antonio road crossed the river, fifty miles above its mouth, was founded on March 1, 1850, by Capt. Samuel M. Plummer and companies H and K of the First United States Infantry. Lumber and logs used in the construction of the fort were shipped in from New Orleans, and the soldiers of the garrison erected the buildings. The fort probably was named in honor of Capt. Moses E. Merrill, who was killed in the Mexican War battle of Molino del Rey on September 8, 1847. Companies I and E of the Rifle Regiment were the regular garrison until April 26, 1853, when they were transferred to Fort Ewell, leaving only two noncommissioned officers and thirteen men at Fort Merrill. After 1853 the fort was garrisoned only intermittently. When W. G. Freeman inspected it on June 21, 1853, Lt. Alexander McRae was in command, but the garrison was so small that it could do no more than night sentinel duty. The fort was abandoned on December 1, 1855. Fort Merrill is off U.S. Highway 281, three miles northwest of Dinero in Live Oak County. [Located on private property.]





M. L. Crimmins, "W. G. Freeman's Report on the Eighth Military Department," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 51–54 (July 1947- October 1950). Robert W. Frazer, Forts of the West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1965). Francis Paul Prucha, A Guide to the Military Posts of the United States, 1789–1895 (Madison: State Historical Association of Wisconsin, 1964). Robert Wooster, Soldiers, Sutlers and Settlers: Garrison Life of the Texas Frontier (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1987).
Thomas W. Cutrer



Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "Fort Merrill," accessed April 07, 2017,



First Settlers to own later Fort Merrill property.


     The Grover family originally came from Pembroke, Wales. 


     James M. Grover married Mariann McGloin, daughter of Empresario James McGloin, one of the first settlers in San Patricio from Ireland. She died and he later married Catherine Houlihan, also from Ireland. They lived at Echo, an early town in now Live Oak County, Texas. They owned a stage coach stop.


     Ft. Merrill was built on their land. Their children were: sons, Leo, Maurice, Herbert, Sydney, George, Emamiel and Frank; daughters: Lucy Usilton and Bessie Clark.


     Among the first commissioners appointed to locate the site of Live Oak County were: William Gambel, John Powell, George W. Wright, Henderson Waller, N. Gussett, James Lewis, D.L. Wood and James M. Grover, who drew a map of Live Oak County that was appproved by the state through an act that not only created the County of Live Oak, but also attached it to the Fourteenth Judicial District on February 2, 1856. 


From: Lindholm, et. al. The History of the People of Live Oak County, Texas. Self Published by the LOCHC. 1982. 143.

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