The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 59
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Retracing the Chisholm Trail
the Chisholm Trail crossed the West Fork of the Trinity River,
veered a bit to the northwest, and led north along the border of
Wise and Denton counties. Crossing Elizabeth and Oliver creeks,
it passed east of the village of Decatur, then across Denton
Creek and Clear Creek. Beyond, it entered the breaks of the
Some of the early herds crossed the Red River at Sivell's Bend,
in Cooke County, or at old Spanish Fort. But most of them were
trailed farther upstream and put across at Red River Station, in
northeastern Montague County. This crossing, just below the
mouth of Fleetwood Branch, took its name from a Civil War
outpost of the Texas Rangers. Soon after it became a heavily used
crossing, it acquired a store and a saloon.
The Red River, often flooded during the spring trailing sea-
son, was one of the worst streams to swim a herd across. Some
times several herds were held up on the Texas bank, waiting
the water to subside. At best, the crossing was made dangerous
by quicksands and by the tendency of the Longhorns to start
milling in the middle of the river instead of going on across.
On the rolling prairies of the Indian country, the trail outfits
were subject to the constant hazard of redskin raiders. Coman-
ches, Kiowas, and others would try to stampede the cattle and
drive off the horses. Night guards had to heed every sound. But
usually the Territory offered plenty of grass and water. The trail
led almost straight north on a route now closely hugged by
United States Highway 81. Trees along the streams provided
firewood for the trail cook, except in the northern part, where
he had either to carry wood or to rely on cow chips.
About twenty-seven miles north of the Red River was a land-
mark that many of the trail drivers remembered. This was a
mesa that became known as Monument Hill or Monument
Rocks. Situated just east of the present village of Addington, it
offered a fine view of the surrounding country. Cowboys on its
summit could spot cook wagons and strung-out herds for ten
to fifteen miles in either direction. The almost flat top of the
hill was strewn with slabs and boulders of reddish sandstone.
Early drovers gathered some of these rocks into two piles as
markers for the trail. The piles were about three hundred feet
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/72/: accessed February 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.