Brackettville is a city in Kinney
County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,876 at the
2000 census. It is the county seat of Kinney County.
Brackettville claims it is the drive-in movie capital of Texas.
Founded in 1852 as Las Moras
(the name of a nearby spring and the creek it feeds), the town
initially was a supply stop on the old San Antonio-El Paso road
and a supply depot for the U.S. Army's Fort Clark (the fort was
established the same year). Later the town was named Brackett
after Oscar B. Brackett, the owner of the first dry goods store
in the area. In 1873 when a post office was awarded, "ville" was
appended to the name to differentiate from another town.
The town grew quickly through
the 19th century with the expansion of the garrison at Fort
Clark for the Indian Wars. The town's fortunes were tied to the
fort. For many years, it was the base of the famous Buffalo
Soldiers, made up of African Americans. Demographically,
Brackettville had a larger proportion of Black Seminoles (people
of mixed African American and Seminole ancestry, who originated
in Florida) than the rest of West Texas, as they had been
recruited by the US to act as scouts for the Buffalo Soldiers
and settled with their families in the town. During the slavery
years, they had been living in a settlement in northern Mexico
to escape US conditions. Their language developed in Florida,
Afro-Seminole Creole, is still spoken by some in Brackettville.
After the Buffalo Soldiers
moved out of Fort Clark
with the waning of the Indian Wars, it was used as a cavalry
post. The Seminole Negro Indian Scouts were finally disbanded as
a unit in 1914. Virtually every cavalry unit in the U.S. Army
was stationed at or trained at Fort Clark at one time or
In 1943 during World War II,
the U.S. Army activated the Second Cavalry, which was to be the
Army's last horse-mounted unit. By 1944, even the Second had
been mechanized. Fort Clark,
so long a center of mounted cavalry, was targeted for closure.
Before its closure, the fort was used as a German
Because of the families of
soldiers at the fort and African-American veterans and
descendants who had settled here, during the war, the US
government funded construction of a high school for black
students, which opened in April 1944, so the children of
veterans could be educated. The state of Texas was still
racially segregated; it had essentially disfranchised blacks
since the early 20th century by its voter registration and
electoral requirements, and the white legislature consistently
underfunded black education and services. Officially classified
as a four-year high school, it is believed to have been the only
one of its kind between San Antonio and El Paso at that time.
After the fort officially
closed in 1946, it had a variety of uses. In 1971 it was
converted and adapted as a resort/retirement center. The
historic district of the fort is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places. The resort is not the economic engine the
fort once was, and Brackettville has shrunk from its peak
population during the war years.