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A Visit to Red River Station

A map of the former settlement of Red River Station in Montague County, at the confluence of the Red River and Salt Creek, drawn from memory and now residing at the Tales N Trails Museum in Nocona.

Red River Historian reader Ray Blackburn recently did some work for the current owner of the land that once held Red River Station, the fabled crossing for the Abilene Cattle Trail at the Red River in Montague County during the 1870s and 1880s. He received permission to explore the former town, including its cemetery, and he kindly shared the photos with me so I can share them with you.

Please note that Ray received expressed permission to check out what remains of Red River Station, and the owner is not wanting uninvited visitors, so please be like me and enjoy the trip to Red River Station vicariously!

A short history: Red River Station came into being around 1860 as a camp for the "frontier guard" during the Civil War; these were men mustered into service to stop Comanche eastward encroachment. Then, upon southern defeat in 1865, the little settlement let itself become wealthy with cattle crossing from Texas into Indian Territory over the Red River along Salt Creek. That's how the community got its first name -- Salt Creek -- until the name changed in the 1880s when the bovine hustle and bustle, with accompanying tax collectors and dipping vats, saloons, hotels, blacksmith shop, and a daguerreotype studio made this place THE most popular cattle drive crossing in Texas.

How did Red River Station become lost, though, a site only accessible by permission? Thank a tornado that wiped out most of the town, and ranching that divided the land into fenced parcels for easy cow-gathering.

Thank you, Ray!!!!

A quick word: the photos were sent via messenger on Facebook, which automatically resizes them and makes enlargement fuzzy. It's best to view the photos on your mobile device. Ray also sent videos that I cannot upload as I'm not the originator.

I urge you to follow to Shannon Gillette's blog about Montague County history, -- she wrote a great post about Red River Station, and posted the map that is shared in this post!

And, I also urge you to visit the Tales N Trails Museum in Nocona, the keeper of Montague County's very interesting history and the steward of the map:

One of the graves at Red River Station.

The cemetery at Red River Station was marked by the Montague County HIstorical Commission in 2005.

Sarah Kimberlin (?)'s grave, made of marble, still stands after she died at the age of 11 in 1889..

More graves from the Kimberlin family at the Red River Station cemetery, which now sits on private property.

Early Spring at Red River Station in Montague County, Texas.

Born in 1828 and died at Red River Station, this person came to Texas during its Republic years (1836-1845).

Metal objets
Ray, the photographer of Red River Station, also did some metal detecting and found a square naiil at the site of the fomrer Blacksmith's Shop, and and old .22 mag shelll, most likely from the era when the town was still in operation.

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