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Early History of East Texas

Farm Corner - June 3, 1959

by Joe F. Combs

East Texas and West Louisiana are rich in history and in the early days of this country, as now, were closely associated in business and commerce. Fact is , Natchitoches, La., was the seat of the Spanish governors who ruled over Texas for half a century. We might say that Natchitoches was actually once the capital of Texas.

It is believed by some historians that Sieur Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, laid out the faous El Camono Real, or King's Highway in 1713 or 1714, when he set out from Natchitoches for the west to increase trade with the Mexicans and Indians.

One of the most famous of early-day ranches was "El Lobonillo," a few miles east of San Augustine. It was on the King's Highway and was owned by Gil Ybarbo, famous in East Texas history. This ranch reached the dignity of a pueblo.

Tramel's Trance was the name of an early-day road, a historic route from Nacogdoches to the Northeast. It was over this old road that such great men as David Crockett and Sam Houston traveled on their way to Texas. It ran along a region near the present boundary of Shelby and Nacogdoches counties.

"Raven Hill" was the plantation hoe of General Sam Houston, built in 1844 and sold before the Civil War. It was located about four miles southeast of Cold Springs in San Jacinto County. It was named "Raven Hill" by the general because he was called the "Raven" by the Cherokee Indians.

Liberty County was the home of the Orcoquisac Indians and an east-west trail they often tramped over on their foraging expeditions became the La Bahia, or lower road in the 18th Century. It finally came to be known as the Opelousas Road, over which great cattle drives went in the early days.

La Calle Real del Norte was an 18th-Century trail connecting the Indian villages of the Nacogdoches and Nasoni Indians. This trail was traveled by the Spanish missionaries, soldiers, settlers, French raders and other before American colonists came to this region.

The grave of the great pioneer woman, Sarah Bradley Dodson, is to be found in the old Bethel Cemetery near Bedias in Grimes County. She was the Betsy Ross of Texas, having made the firs Texas flag to be carried by our troops.

In the old Buena Vista Cemetery in western Shelby County rests another great woman, to the author, for she was Annie Mae Combs, his mother.

The old Beuna Vista community was settled before 1825 by Bill and Granny Richards. The little town of Partoon in southeastern Shelby County was settled about the same time by Bailey and Jonathan Anderson, William English, Emory Rains, Nathan Davis and possibly other.

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