Administrative History
NPS Logo


Like so many people who have visited and worked at Fort Davis National Historic Site, I too came to realize the park's special qualities of environment and history. I also recognized the care and attention paid to the natural and cultural resources of Fort Davis by all who have been fortunate to work there. Thus it is no surprise that the staff and management of Fort Davis gave generously of their time and expertise. Thanks are especially in order for Jerry Yarbrough, superintendent at the park who decided that Fort Davis should have an administrative history prepared. His love of west Texas, and his commitment to public service, guided the research and writing of this manuscript at every turn. In like manner, longtime staff members Mary Williams (park ranger), Susanna Liddell (administrative assistant), and Paula Bates (administrative officer), were most helpful, as were supervisory ranger Allan Morris, muse urn curator Elaine Harmon, and Rito Rivera.

Previous staff members who gave of their time for interviews included Kevin Cheri, Doug McChristian, Bill Gwaltney, Frank Smith, Michael Becker, John Sutton, Dale Scheier, Pablo Bencomo, John Mitchell, Ralph Russell, and Erwin Thompson. Without the commitment and energy of Robert Utley, Fort Davis might not have become a park, and thanks are in order for his delightful and candid interview. The Friends of Fort Davis were most helpful, especially Pansy Espy and Malcolm "Bish" Tweedy. Other community members supportive of the work were Gene Hendryx and Clay Miller. Regional office staff who assisted immeasurably were Doug Faris, Art Gomez, Joanne Ortiz, and Stella Moya. Special thanks go to Neil Mangum, Trans-Pecos historian for the National Park Service, whose idea it was to revive the dormant administrative history that had been attempted twice before. His knowledge of the park service's historical needs, and his love of Fort Davis, made the project all the easier to conduct. It would not be right to ignore the fine accommodations offered in the town of Fort Davis by the staff of the Hotel Limpia, whose own history is closely linked to that of the fort and the national historic site.

Anyone who undertakes historical research of this nature must remember the contributions of family members, especially when time is limited and distance is far. My daughter Jacquie admired the park the first time she saw it, and in so doing followed in the footsteps of her mother, Cindy, whose family has deep roots in far west Texas as well as property in the Davis Mountains. Cindy's stories of the beauty and grandeur of the region (not to mention the cool summer weather) allowed me to appreciate the subtle attractions of the area, and to make sure that the story of Fort Davis reflects the impressions of visitors as well as public officials. Her help with the preparation of the manuscript, in light of the birth of our son Edward during its writing, also is apparent in the text and production. Fort Davis means as much to families as it does to scholars, and ours will remember its special character for years to come.

Michael Welsh
Greeley, Colorado
May 1996

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 22-Apr-2002