Updated: Aug 19
Mound City in Red River County, Texas once welcomed steamboats in the 1870s, and was still marked on maps in the 1890s, but according to newspaper accounts from 1900, it hadn't seen river traffic for many years prior.
Originally, all early Native and European settlements hugged the Red River as it acted as a highway of sorts. However, the settlements that were established on higher ground were able to grow and prosper because, unlike those on the river, they weren't drowned out. The banks of the river are dotted with these forgotten places, but most evidence has been erased by farmers' plows.
The newspaper clipping reads: "An object lesson in Red river navigation appeared this week in one of the local papers. In quoting from an issue of a paper published here in April, 1875, it is mentioned that the "steamer R.L. Bryarly landed at Mound City today with a cargo of corn and groceries." Mound City is on Red river in this county, fifteen miles north of Clarksville. It appears that the river was navigable in those days."
Mound City may have been named for the Caddo villages that were once very prominent along the river as it made its way to the Great Bend, or it may have been named by Missourians who wanted it to grow into St. Louis, which was nick-named "Mound City."
The R.L. Bryarly paddle wheeler was the first ship to go north from the Great Raft after the Army Corps of Engineers cleared the river from its natural log jam (the second federal project) in 1873. It apparently was still plying the middle Red River in 1875.