Texas Almanac, 1988-1989 Page: 79
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length is 550 river miles and its drainage area, 17,969
square miles. Because of moderate to heavy rainfall
over its drainage area, it has a flow of 5,800,000 acre-feet
near its mouth on the Gulf, exceeded only by the
Neches, Red and Sabine River basins.
The Trinity derives its name from the Spanish
"Trinidad." Alonso de Leon named it La Santisima
Trinidad (the Most Holy Trinity).
Navigation was developed along its lower course
with several riverport towns, such as Sebastopol In Trin-
ity County. For many years there has been a basin-
wide movement for navigation, conservation and utili-
zation of its water. The Trinity River Authority is a state
agency and the Trinity Improvement Association is a
publicly supported nonprofit organization, advocating
The Trinity has in its valley more large cities, great-
er population and more Industrial development than.
any other river basin in Texas. On the Lower Coastal
Plain there is large use of its waters for rice irrigation.
Largest reservoir on the Elm Fork is Lewisville Lake
(formerly Garza-Llttle Elm and Lake Dallas). There are
four reservoirs above Fort Worth-Lake Worth, Eagle
Mountain and Bridgeport on the West Fork and Lake
Benbrook on the Clear Fork. Lake Lavn in southeast
Collin County and Lake Ray Hubbard in Collin-Dallas-
Kaufman-Rockwall counties are on the EastFork.
The Neches is In East Texas with total length of
about 416 miles and drainage area of 10,011 square
miles. Abundant rainfall over itsentire basin gives it a
flow near the Gulf of about 6 million acre-feet a year.
The river takes its name from the Neches Indians that
the early Spanish explorers found living along its
banks. Principal tributary of the Neches, and compara-
ble with the Neches In length and flow above their con-
fluence, is the Angelina River, so named from Angelina
(Little Angel), a Hainai Indian girl who converted to
Christianity and played an important role in the early
development of this region.
Both thewNeches and the Angelina run most of their
courses in the Piney Woods and there was much settle-
ment along them as early as the 1820s. Sam Rayburn
(McGee Bend) Reservoir, near Jasper on the Angelina
River, was completed and dedicated in 1965.
The Sabine River is formed by three forks rising in
Collin and Hunt counties. From its sources to its mouth
on Sabine lake, it flows approximately 360 miles and
drains 9,733 square miles. Sabine comes from the Span-
ish word for cypress, as does the name of the Sabinal
River, which flows Into the Frio in Southwest Texas.
The Sabine has the largest water discharge (6,800,000
acre-feet) at its mouth of any Texas river. Throughout
most of Texas history the lower Sabine has been the
eastern Texas boundary line, though for a while there
was doubt as to whether the Sabine or 'the Arroyo
Hondo, east of the Sabine In Louisiana, was the bound-
ary. For a number of years the outlaw-infested neutral
ground lay between them. There was also a boundary
dispute in which itwas alleged thatthe Neches was real-
ly the Sabine and, therefore, the boundary.
Travelers over the Camno Real, or Old San Antonio
Road, crossed the Sabine at the famous Gaines Ferry,
and there were famous crossings for the Atascosito
Road and other travel and trade routes of that day.
Two of Texas'. larger man-made reservoirs have
been created by dams constructed on the Sabine River.
The first of these Is Lake Tawakoni, in Hunt, Rains and
Van Zandt counties, with a capacity.of 936,200 acre-
feet. Toledo Bend Reservoir impounds 4,472,900 acre-
feet of water on the Sabine in Newton, Panola, Sabine
and Shelby-counties. This Is a joint project of Texas and
Louisiana, through the SabineR river Authority.
The Red River (1,360 miles) Is exceeded in length
only by the Rio Grande among rivers associated with
Texas. Its original source is water in Curry County, New
Mexico, near the Texas boundary, forming a definite
channel as it crosses Deaf Smith County, Texas, in trib-
utaries that flow into Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red
River. These waters carve the spectacular Pale Duro
Canyon of the High Plains before the Red River leaves
the Cap Rock Escarpment, flowing eastward.
Where the Red River crosses the 100th meridian,
the river becomes the Texas-Oklahoma boundary and
is soon joinedby the Salt Fork to form the main channel.
Its length across the Panhandle is about 200 miles and,
from the Panhandle east, -it is the Texas-Oklahoma
boundary line for 440 miles and thereafter the Texas-
Arkansas boundary for 40 miles before it flows into Ar-
kansas, where it swings south to flow through Louisi-
ana. The Red River is a part of the Mississippi drainage
basin, and at one time it emptied all of its water into the
Mississippi. In recent years, however, part of its water,
especially at flood stage, has flowed to the Gulf via the
Atchafalaya. The Red River takes its name from the red
color of the current. This caused every explorer who
came to its banks to call it "red" regardless of the lan-
guage he spoke - Rio Role or Rio Roxo in Spanish, Ri-
viere Rouge in French and Red River in English. The
Spanish and French names-were often found on maps
until the middle of the last century when the English,
Red River, came to be generally accepted. At an early
date, the river became the axis for French advance
from Louisiana northwestward as far as present-day
Montague County. There was consistent early naviga-
tion of the river from its mouth on the Mississippi to
Shreveport, above which navigation was blocked by a
natural log raft. A number of important gateways into
Texas from the North were established along the
stream such as Pecan Point and Jonesborough in Red
River County, Colbert Ferry and Preston in Grayson
County and, later, Dean's Store Crossing in Wilbarger
County. The river was a menace to the early traveler
because of both its variable current and its quicksands
which brought disaster to many a trail herd cowas well
as ox team and covered wagon.
The largest water conservation project on the Red
River is Lake Texoma, which is the largest lake lying
wholly or partly in Texas and the tenth largest reservoir
(in capacity) in the United States. Its capacity is
5,382,000 acre feet. Texas' share is 2,722,000.
Red River water's high content of salt and other
minerals limits its usefulness along its upper reaches.
Ten salt springs and tributaries in Texas and Oklahoma
contribute mostof these minerals.
The uppermost tributary of the Red River in Texas
is the Tierra Blanca Creek, which rises in Curry County,
N.M., and flows easterly across Deaf Smith and Randall
counties to become the Prairie Dog Town Fork a few
miles east of Canyon. Other principal tributaries in
Texas are the Pease and the Wichita in North Central
Texas and the Sulphur in Northeast Texas, which flows
Into the Red River after it has crossed the boundary line
into Arkansas. From Oklahoma the principal tributary
is the Washita. The Ouachita, a river with the same pro-
nunciation of its name, though spelled differently, is the
principal tributary to its lowercourse.
The Canadian River heads near Raton Pass in
northern New Mexico near the Colorado boundary line
and flows into Texas on the west line of Oldham County.
It crosses the Texas Panhandle into Oklahoma and
there flows into the Arkansas. Most of its course across
the Panhandle is in a deep gorge. A tributary dips into
Texas' North Panhandle and then flows to a confluence
with the main channel in Oklahoma. One of several the-
ories as to how the Canadian got its name Is that some
early explorers thought it flowed into Canada. Lake
Meredith, formed by Sanford Dam on the Canadian, pro-
vides water for 11 Panhandle cities.
Because of the deep gorge and the quicksand at
many places, the Canadian has been a peculiarly diffi-
cult stream to bridge. It is known especially in its lower
course in Oklahoma as outstanding among the streams
of the country for great amount of quicksand in its
"We Sell to Sell Again!"
Arthur Rawlings ERICA G$ 1/214/358-2902
2622 FREEWOOD * DALLAS, TEXAS 75220
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Texas Almanac, 1988-1989, book, 1987; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth113819/m1/82/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.