Fort Davis

Downtown Fort Davis

Downtown Fort Davis

The Harvard Hotel in Fort Davis. Photo by Rosie Hatch.

Fort Davis, the county seat of Jeff Davis County, is on Limpia Creek at the intersection of State highways 17 and 118, eighty miles northeast of Presidio and 175 miles southeast of El Paso in south central Jeff Davis County. The precursor of the town was a rough-and-tumble settlement known as Chihuahua, which formed just southwest of the military post of Fort Davis after it was established in 1854. The fort was on the site of an earlier Indian village, which the earliest Anglo-American explorers of the area called Painted Comanche Camp. When Henry Skillman contracted to carry the mail from San Antonio to El Paso in 1850, a stage stand was established near the site of the future town. E. P. Webster, a native of Illinois, and Diedrick Dutchover, a Belgian immigrant who had fought in the Mexican War, rode with W. A. (Big Foot) Wallace to escort the first mail coach to the site, by way of Fort Concho. Webster remained in Limpia Canyon as the first master of the stage station there and may have been the first White settler in the area. Dutchover rode as a guard for two more years before settling at Fort Davis. During the Civil War, when Confederate troops withdrew from the fort, they left Dutchover, who had maintained strict neutrality while establishing a small sheep ranch near the post, in charge. Almost immediately the Apache chief Nicolás attacked the settlement. Dutchover, a Mexican woman with two children, and four Americans hid on the roof for three days while the Apaches looted the fort. On the third night Dutchover and all the others, except one of the Americans, who had fallen ill, slipped out and began the long trek to Presidio, eighty miles away. One day later the stage arrived to find a ravaged fort and the American dead on the roof, apparently of natural causes. Dutchover and the others staggered into Presidio four days later. The Belgian later returned to Fort Davis and was employed as a hauling contractor.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Fort Davis is part of or belongs to the following places.

Adopt a Town

The Texas Almanac's Land Rush program lets you adopt the town, county, or lake of your choice and share your message with the world. 100% of the proceeds benefit education in Texas.

Currently Exists


Place type

Fort Davis is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Chihuahua)
  • (El Alamo de San Juan)
  • (Limpia Cañon)
  • (Painted Comanche Camp)


  • Latitude

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Proud to call Texas home?

Put your name on the town, county, or lake of your choice.

Search Places »

Fort Davis by the Numbers

This is some placeholder text that we should either remove or replace with a brief summary about this particular metric. For example, "We update population counts once per year..."

Population Counts

Fort Davis
Pop. Year Source
1,024 2020 United States Census Bureau
1,329 2019 Texas Demographic Center
1,201 2010 United States Census Bureau
1,050 2000 United States Census Bureau
1,212 1990 United States Census Bureau
900 1980 United States Census Bureau
896 1970 United States Census Bureau
850 1960 United States Census Bureau
1,200 1950 United States Census Bureau
1,000 1940 United States Census Bureau
1,200 1930 United States Census Bureau
1,061 1920 United States Census Bureau
1,061 1900 United States Census Bureau
1,162 1880 United States Census Bureau
615 1870 United States Census Bureau