The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 360
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The movement to northern markets, which mounted steadily
during the 185o's, generally followed a route that Indians, trad-
ers, and immigrants already had well marked. Indians had used
it for decades. They had ridden over it hunting buffalo and
in raiding the early white settlements in Central Texas to steal
horses and to capture prisoners for ransom. Many pioneer set-
tiers, coming down through the Territory in Conestoga wagons,
had entered Texas by this trail. They called it the Texas Road.
In the early spring of 1845, more than a thousand wagons were
said to have crossed the Red River into Texas in six weeks.
This route, which some drovers came to call the Shawnee
Trail, led from the ranges of southern and southwestern Texas
past Austin, Waco, and Dallas. On to the north, it kept to the
high prairies, skirting the post oak cross timbers. The herds
swam the Red River at Rock Bluff crossing, near Preston, in
Grayson County. This crossing was popular because a natural
rock formation served as a chute into the water and because a
gentle slope on the opposite side made it easy for the cattle
to come out.
Texas drovers who used this route in the 185o's called it the
cattle trail, the Kansas trail, or merely the trail. Just when or
why some began calling it the Shawnee Trail is uncertain. That
name appeared in print at least as early as 1874 and presumably
was used before that. The name could have been suggested by
an Indian village, called Shawneetown, on the Texas bank of
the Red River just below the trail crossing, or by the Shawnee
Hills, which the route skirted on their eastern side before cross-
ing the Canadian River.
In Dallas, where herds of bawling Longhorns raised clouds of
dust in the streets, settlers knew that section of the trail from
their town to the Red River as the Preston Road. This road
and the road into Dallas from the south had been surveyed in
1840 in the days of the Republic. In the fall of 1839, under an
act the Congress of Texas had passed a year earlier, Albert Sidney
Johnston, secretary of war, had sent north a company of soldiers
under the command of Colonel William G. Cooke. The pur-
pose was to lay out a military road from the Brazos to the Red
River and to set up small forts to protect the settlers against
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/432/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.