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Mt. Vernon in Mobile County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Fort Stoddert

— Mount Vernon History Trail —

 
 
Fort Stoddert Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 2, 2020
1. Fort Stoddert Marker
Inscription.  Early in 1799 a joint U.S.-Spanish survey commission had determined the international boundary to be a few miles south of this spot, at 31° N Longitude. (A marker known as the Ellicott Stone still stands on the old boundary line, just east of US Highway 43 near the Alabama Power Company generating plant in the community of Bucks.) Because the relocated line lay well south of the long-presumed boundary, Spanish colonial administrators withdrew their garrison from Fuerte San Esteban, which became St. Stephens. To assert American claims to this region, Congress created the Mississippi Territory and ordered the U.S. Army to establish posts along the new boundary for the protection of settlers and for collection of customs duties from commercial traffic on the rivers flowing to Mobile, in Spanish West Florida.

In July 1799, two companies of the 2nd Regiment U.S. Infantry, commanded by Captain Bartholomew Schaumburgh, marched from Natchez and established Fort Stoddert, named for first Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert, at Ward's Bluff on the Mobile River. The stockade fort had blockhouses in two of the four bastions,

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mounted with ordnance; soldiers' barracks and officers' quarters formed the curtain walls.

Although no battles were ever fought at Fort Stoddert, the post had an interesting and colorful history. Ephraim Kirby served here briefly here as federal judge in 1804. Upon Kirby’s death, Judge Harry Toulmin succeeded him on the bench and assumed the role of first postmaster in January 1805. In February 1807, Captain Edmund P. Gaines and a detachment of mounted riflemen arrested former Vice President Aaron Burr on the road north of the fort and escorted him to Washing, DC, for trial on charges of treason.

Early in 1811 John Hood and Samuel Miller carried a printing press overland from Chattanooga to the Alabama River, then downstream to Fort Stoddert, with the intention of publishing a newspaper in Mobile. The city, however, remained under Spanish rule, so they printed The Mobile Centinel, the first newspaper published in what would become the state of Alabama, at Fort Stoddert from May 23, 1811 to June 6, 1812.

In November 30, 1811, Captain Matthew Arbuckle of the 3rd Regiment.U.S. Infantry commanded a road construction party from Fort Stoddert that met a construction party working from the east to open the Federal Road to Georgia. Amid the War of 1812, an expedition launched from Fort Stoddert seized Mobile from Spain on April 13, 1813. In early September,

Fort Stoddert Marker on Old Military Rd East (farthest marker). image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 2, 2020
2. Fort Stoddert Marker on Old Military Rd East (farthest marker).
Fort Stoddert and Mount Vernon Cantonment sheltered thousands of refugees displaced from the Tombigbee and Tensaw settlements by the destruction of Fort Mims at the beginning of the Creek War.

During the war, Fort Stoddert served as military headquarters for General Ferdinand Claiborne's Mississippi Territorial Volunteers and for regular U.S. Army troops operating on the Gulf coast. By the end of 1814, Fort Stoddert no longer functioned as a military post, although the name continued to be applied to the civilian community (later called Florida, then Mount Vernon) that had grown up around the fort.

[Map on left] "Settlements on the Tombeckby and Tensaw Rivers," circa 1802 (Courtesy of the National Archives, Washington, DC)
 
Erected by Town of Mount Vernon. (Marker Number 6.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Forts and Castles. A significant historical date for this entry is April 13, 1813.
 
Location. 31° 5.475′ N, 87° 58.888′ W. Marker is in Mt. Vernon, Alabama, in Mobile County. Marker is on Old Military Road East (Alabama Route 96) 0.1 miles Old Military Road South (Alabama Route 96), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mount Vernon AL 36560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ephraim Kirby's Grave (here, next to this

Orientation Map of the Mt Vernon History Trail (#6) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, May 2, 2020
3. Orientation Map of the Mt Vernon History Trail (#6)
Map (marker) is located at intersection of US-43 and Coy Smith Hwy. Marker has not weathered well. Attempts to clean it were not successful.
marker); Old Military Road and Old Federal Road (approx. ¾ mile away); Mount Vernon Historical Museum and Train Depot (approx. 2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Stoddert (approx. 2.1 miles away); Mt. Vernon Federal Highway (approx. 2.1 miles away); Mt. Vernon Arsenal and Barracks/Searcy Hospital (approx. 2½ miles away); Mount Vernon Arsenal (approx. 2½ miles away); St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church (approx. 4.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mt. Vernon.
 
Also see . . .  Fortwiki article about Fort Stoddert. (Submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 759 times since then and 95 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Apr. 24, 2024