The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 12
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
porary, was carefully noted along the route. Eight miles west of
the station at the head of the Concho were the Mustang Water
Holes, which were often dry. Eleven and one-half miles ahead
were the Flat Rock Ponds, shallow basins in the surface rock that
sometimes held water."8 These ponds, according to the Conklings'
excellent study, were just west of the former Reagan county seat
town of Stiles. Six miles beyond the ponds was old Centralia
Station in the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railway Com-
pany Survey No. 1947. Centralia was built as a way station on
Ben Ficklin's mail road established after the Civil War, but all
visible evidence indicates that his road at this point was the same
as the road used by the Butterfield interests more than a decade
earlier. Land surveyors on May 4, 1873, recorded field notes that
tie the location of this stage stand to the permanent land rec-
ords.38 Confirmation of the fact that the El Paso Road passed
by this station is given in the field notes of the adjoining survey
some seven years later.40
Further exact data are furnished by the map makers of the
General Land Office. For twenty miles from Centralia Station
southwestward to a point near the present-day town of Rankin
in Upton County these draftsmen have mapped the mail road.41
The full twenty miles were used by the Ben Ficklin stage coaches
instead of the Butterfield but the part of the road by Centralia
Station was also used by the Concord coaches of the Overland
Mail. At a mile and a half southwest of Centralia Station the
older mail road branched westward toward China Ponds,42 Castle
Gap, and Horsehead Crossing,43 all of which were known points
on the Butterfield Trail. The Conklings discovered the ruins
of an old stage stand on the west branch of the trails, two and
a half miles west of this point where the roads forked. They
named the old depot Llano Estacado and, beyond any reasonable
asConkling, The Overland Mail, I, 361-362.
39Original Transcribed Surveyors Records, Tom Green County (MS., County
Clerk's Office, San Angelo), IV, 219.
4olbid., XVI, 432.
41'General Land Office Map of Upton County, dated, 1918.
42Ibid. China Lake is shown in Block Y, Section 23, Gulf, Colorado, and Santa
Fe Railway Company lands.
43General Land Office Map of Crane County, dated 19o0. Horsehead Crossing is
shown in Block 1, Section 37, Houston and Texas Central Railway lands.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/30/: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.