Area Author Hosts Book Signing at The Alexandria Historical & Genealogical Library.

The Alexandria Historical & Genealogical Library hosted a book signing by long time area educator and historian Scott Debose, Saturday, May 20. The book is a history of Sabine Parish’s Fort Jessup, built in 1822 on what was then the western frontier of the United States. The original area of the fort is now the Fort Jessup State Historic Site.

Debose’s book traces the history of the fort during its years of active service from 1822 to 1846. Soldiers from the fort protected the nation’s western border, surveyed and built roads, as well as bringing order to the lawless “neutral strip” between the United States and Colonial Spain. The fort was closed in 1846 as America’s western expansion meant that its location was no longer on the frontier and the fort was no longer needed.

While Fort Jessup may be little known in the modern day, the fort played a major role in several areas. In 1845, over half of the U.S. Army passed through Fort Jessup on their way to Mexico. Ironically, the United States’ victory in that war was to make the fort irrelevant as a border outpost and led to its closure. Two United States presidents, Zachary Taylor and Ulysses Grant served at Fort Jessup as did over 40 officers who went on to become generals in the Civil War. As an interesting historical aside, two future U.S. Surgeon Generals served at the fort, one of whom was to treat President Abraham Lincoln after he was shot in 1865.

Scott Debose is a lifelong resident of Sabine Parish who has served as Many High School’s band director for the past 15 years. He holds two degrees from NSU, a bachelor’s in history and anthropology as well as a master’s in music education. His book, Fort Jessup – a History, is an interesting journey into a fascinating era of our nation’s story.