I found a couple of 1872 sketches of the “Red River” by Alfred Rudolph Waud. Waud was an English illustrator who worked in the last half of the 19th century for several US publications. His sketches became illustrations for magazines like Harpers Weekly. I discovered the sketch, “On the Red River” in the Historic New Orleans Collection at the Louisiana Digital Library (see above). I thought I had found a treasure trove of art that depicted life on the Red River, which I was h
There is nothing nicer than finding that a WPA built stadium is still in use, like the sturdy, stone arena in Hugo, Choctaw County, Oklahoma. And there is nothing more frustrating than finding its WPA plaque obscured by electrical boxes. The WPA is the Works Progress Administration, an agency founded and funded by the New Deal in 1935. The WPA provided work for thousands of Americans in disparate fields – construction of public buildings, interviewing people about their life
The Grand Central Hotel (first class, no less!) in Terral, Jefferson County, Oklahoma was an imposing building at the turn of the century – it sported three chimneys and a balcony. The Clark Fire Insurance Map of 1900 for Terral depicts two hotels, both along Apache Street at the intersection of Second Street. Their outlines are not the same as the hotel pictured, however, and one is labeled as the “Cottage Hotel.” (Clark Fire Maps, OHS). Both hotels are long gone. A Google m
Paddle wheeler “Amy Hewes” on the Red River (no date), but most likely this picture was taken in the 1940s. The “Amy Hewes” was built in the 1920s for the Jeanerette Lumber Company, and was last owned by the May Brothers of Morgan, LA. This boat was mostly in service in the southern part of the Red River around the Atchafalaya River confluence, St. Mary’s Parish. It plied the waters of Bayou Teche. (Cattle Raiser’s Museum, Fort Worth.) #history #research #transportation
Drove to Henrietta, Clay County, Texas the other day to take some photos and came across this utilitarian, brick structure behind an adobe building (which may be a city-owned structure) and facing the old Clay County Jail (now the Clay County Jail 1890 Museum). What could this building be? This little building intrigued me, because it reminded me of a calaboose – a one room jail cell, often used as a drunk tank. But, I pondered, why would there be a calaboose next to a county
Reader Ben Jones graciously shared a vantage point of the Red River that’s rarely seen nowadays – Spanish Bluff on the southern bank of the Red River. Thank you for this lovely photo, Ben! Located between Bowie County, Texas and Little River County, Arkansas, Spanish Bluff was named after an event that took place in 1806. An American expedition team from the Corps of Engineers was sent by President Thomas Jefferson to study the flora, fauna, and geology of the Red River as pa
The northern portion of John Pope’s 1854 map to survey a possible transcontinental route through Texas marks the Cross Timbers between Gainesville and Preston on the Red River. In 1854, John Pope of the US Army (and a veteran of the Mexican American War) was tasked by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis to plot out a transcontinental railroad route through Texas. Southern politicians worked very hard to convince the rest of Washington that a southern, not northern, transcontinen
According to the National Register, De Soto Parish, which lies between the Red and Sabine rivers in northwestern Louisiana, contains the highest concentration of Greek Revival architecture, outside of New Orleans, in the state. A perfect example is this beautiful 1850 mercantile in Keachie (aka Keatchie, aka Keachi), an antebellum town north of Mansfield. Keachie’s history is palpable in its buildings. The antebellum Baptist Church in Keachie is similar in style to the Method
Grant Foreman, one of Oklahoma’s first historians, appears in this photograph overlooking the ruins of Fort Towson in 1900. Although Fort Gibson in northeastern Oklahoma gets more publicity as “the first fort in Oklahoma,” its sister, Fort Towson in today’s Choctaw County, was established the same year – 1824. Located close to where the Kiamichi River meets the Red River, the fort served several purposes. One, it was meant to protect the incoming Choctaws, who had signed the
French map from 1754 (Library of Congress) Did you know that the now- states of Arkansas and Louisiana once bordered Georgia, North, and South Carolina? It’s true! Until 1785, the original English colonies (after 1783, the original U.S. states) stretched their western boundaries all the way to the Mississippi River. In doing this, the colonies refused to recognize the Indian Reserve that the English had established between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River after the
An English cowboy paid to have his picture taking at Red River Station in Montague County, Texas before heading up the Abilene Trail through Indian Territory. (University of Texas Arlington, Special Collections) A lot of “to do”has been made over the years about the Chisholm Trail. And don’t the words, “Chisholm Trail,” just sound wonderfully exotic? That’s probably why Texas has made it its historical mission to promote its association with the trail, though technically, the
I often spend my evenings (as well as days, weekends, times when I should be grading papers…) perusing old maps. One of my particular interests is mapping the Chihuahua Trail. The Chihuahua Trial was a short-lived road blazed by merchants from Mexico and the U.S. In 1830, Mexican merchants traveled from Chihuahua to Fort Smith, Arkansas for trade. After the Texas Revolution, American merchants (in particular a Missourian named Henry Connelly) wanted to ensure a continued trad
The Red River in Louisiana experienced quite a bit of troubles in 1864. Nathan Banks, Union general, commandeered several gunboats to venture up the Red River in the hopes of reaching Shreveport. From there, his troops, the Union army in southwestern Arkansas, and troops in southern Indian Territory were supposed to lead an invasion into Texas in 1864, Union losses culminating in the Battle of Mansfield forced Banks to retreat, but the river had become too shallow. Under the
One of the oldest roads in the Red River Valley was the Tennessee to Washington (Hempstead County, Arkansas) to Fulton (Hempstead County) trail that was formed along a geological ridge line. Before American settlement, the trace was an aboriginal path to salt “mines” (actually, just places where salt could be sieved and collected) and to the Caddoan settlements along the Red River, specifically the Nasoni villages. Now called the “Southwest Trail” by heritage tourism promoter
Along a county road in Jackson County, Oklahoma, lies the lonesome grave of Joel Moseley, 1846-1890. Mr. Moseley was born in Georgia and, at one point, made his way to Texas. He died when Jackson County (organized in 1907) was still part of Greer County, Texas until the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the land between the North Fork and the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River belonged to Oklahoma Territory. Mr. Moseley may have died on a cattle drive (if it was a long distance
Boggy Depot Plan numbers Depot Muriel Wright 1927
1. Gov. Allen Wright’s residence.
2. John. Kingsbury residence.
3. House built by Mr. Lore (cobbler).
4-5. Wood shop and residence of A. J. Martin.
6. Dr. T. J. Bond’s residence.
7. Store of Reuben Wright—later store of Edward Dwight.
8. Temporary schoolhouse (hewed logs)—later Aunt Lou’s bakery,
9. Apothecary shop.
10. Joseph J. Phillips’ store.
11. Mr. Maurer’s blacksmith shop.
12. Mr. Maurer’s residence.
13. Miss Mary Chiff
Indulge me for a moment while I vent a consistent frustration of mine… and probably one experienced by historians (professional and lay alike) everywhere. This past weekend, I took a trip up to Oklahoma to see if I could spot the remains of historically significant sites. Specifically, I was seeking the Oklahoma historical marker, placed in 1958, for Nail’s Crossing, a stage stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail and Stagecoach route. I was also seeking the possible remains of
On my website, Red River Historian, I haven’t often written about controversial topics in history because I tend to shy away from confrontation. Since my readers are mostly U.S. Americans from the South, there are certain historical events and themes that may be deemed safer if “buried in the past.” However, I made a resolution to change this – I decided to not be timid anymore. I’ve finished a short article on Dallas’ segregated cemeteries and another one on the Colfax Massa
I love strolling through cemeteries – the older and more overgrown, the better, of course. I’m not particularly ghoulish, though. I just enjoy the underlying history that cemeteries provide. Some of that history is relayed in tomb stones and monuments. Often, however, the history is contained beneath more subtle contexts: the layout of the stones, the level of ruin within the cemetery, the innocuous placing of a fence… See that fence in the background? It denotes the racial d
In the US, death of history is frequent. I’m not talking about historical events today, even though they have their own share of death and destruction. I’m referencing historic preservation, or to put it more bluntly, the complete and utter lack thereof. I found myself driving through southwestern Arkansas just this past week, filled with the peculiar anxiety always reserved for the things I hold most dear – old, abandoned buildings that have historical significance but have