Fort Inglish
By Malinda Allison, Fannin County Museum of History
Oct 4, 2023
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The 31st in a series of articles
for the 175th Anniversary of Bonham

The original fort, which was built by Bailey Inglish beginning in 1838 and perhaps finished in 1839, was located approximately where the main building of the VA Hospital now stands. It was a “block house” surrounded by a stockade, built for the Inglish family and neighbors and friends to gather in times of Indian uprisings.

No one knows when the original fort was demolished.

A replica was built on East 9 th Street in 1936-37 as part of the Texas Centennial at a cost of $2,500.

Tom Thornton remembers that his Boy Scout troop met in the replica, which was just an empty building with a dirt floor. Tom also says that the door was never locked and many folks remember playing there as kid. But in 1965 this replica had fallen into a state of disrepair and was demolished.

In 1970 the Fannin County Historical Survey Committee began studying plans for a new replica. In 1976, as part of the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration, a new replica was built on a site owned by the City of Bonham adjacent to the Rayburn Library. It was partially financed with a grant from the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Texas.

The dedication took place in September 1976 and more than 75 of the then 300 descendants of Bailey Inglish attended. Plaques and certificates of appreciation were given to the more than 70 firms and individuals for their help in the making of the replica.

In 1977 a stockade fence was built around the fort, and in years to come more  buildings were added to form a pioneer village. An old log cabin was moved from Ivanhoe, and two cabins were moved from the grounds of the Stagecoach Inn in Dodd City. The frontier village now includes a general store, a meeting house and school and a blacksmith shop. All the buildings are furnished with items of the frontier era and give visitors a feeling of what life was like in early Fannin County.

The Fort itself is open March – November, Tuesday – Saturday, noon – 4:00 p.m. There is no charge, but donations are encouraged as are purchases at the gift shop. School tours are conducted with volunteers dressed in period costumes and activities such as washing of clothes.