SHEFFIELD, TX – Quiet Fort Lancaster came alive for Western Frontier Days. On the third weekend in May, we visited and saw a variety of presenters and reenactors. Friendly camels stole the show.
Staff from Fort McKavett gave an overview of the signal corp and the telegraph. Before the advent of electronic messaging, the Army used a signal method called wig wag—the waving of red and white flags to communicate a binary message over long distances. Railroads adopted faster telegraphy before the army. However, troops installed transmission lines to Forts Concho, Stockton, and Bliss before the train would reach El Paso.
Sahawe Dancers of Uvalde performed Native American dance on Saturday. Organized by a scoutmaster in the 1950s, they brought a sixty-year tradition with them. The troop gave a detailed description before each dance.
Visitors encountered a variety of gentle creatures from horses to cattle. However, the camels stole the show. We learned they are stronger than horses and have an energy efficient digestive track. Used on Lower Road as pack animals before the Civil War, they were championed by then US secretary of war Jefferson Davis. However, after the war, Davis landed on the wrong side of history and the program dissolved. The camels we saw were sweet and displayed a gentle disposition.
Fort Lancaster is a window into the history of transportation and the settling of the southwest. The annual Western Frontier Days is a great time to visit.