The Fort Family

One of the early families to come to the area were the Forts. Benjamin Herman Fort was born December 15, 1857 in Scott County, Arkansas to John Gabriel Fort and Dorinda Jane Bell Fort and was the youngest of their eleven children. Benjamin married the former Louisa Swilling “Lou” Bramlett in Paris, Arkansas in 1879. In the years that followed, they had at least about twelve children of their own and lived first in Arkansas before settling down in Brown County, Texas. They were living in Texas when in 1902, they decided to take the younger children and make the long trip by covered wagon to New Mexico. However, Lou did not survive the journey. She passed away about 130 miles from their destination and was buried in the small community of Fluvanna, Scurry County, Texas. Benjamin and the children continued on to the area near Lovington, which was then part of Chaves County.

Fort Family about 1902 – Walter, Dorinda, Mae, Nannie, Lula Second Row: Herman, Johnny Front Row: Lillie, Eddie, Benjamin H. (Father), holding Bessie, Louise (Mother), holding Adriane and Claudie. Photo is believed to be in the public domain.

Benjamin and the children settled not far from the Texas border. Some, if not all, of their property has remained in the family since that time. A number of the children of Benjamin and Lou Fort remained in the area or came to the area to live including Nannie Fort Allen, Benjamin Walter Fort, Dorinda Jane Fort Mann, John Ruben Fort, William Herman Fort, Eddie Thomas Fort and Claudie Adolphus Fort. Benjamin died in Texas in 1929 and is buried with several other family members in Antioch Cemetery in eastern Lea County.

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