The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 322
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
had come was old Fort Belknap, located just south of the
present-day town of New Castle in Young County. Their ob-
jective lay to the northwest in the area that is now Tillman
County, Oklahoma, a point from which they expected to carry
on an extended Indian campaign.
As they filed over the hilltop that is now decorated by a
modern roadside park, perhaps a clear sun shone in the sky
and fleecy clouds floated overhead, but the landscape presented
a far different picture from the scenery of 1940. These soldiers
of 1858 saw no twelve-story buildings, no flour mill, no junior
college. It was forty miles east to the nearest log cabin.
Montague County had just been organized, with its county
seat at the new village of Montague. Saint Jo (then called
Head of Elm) was little more than a country store. Gainesville
and Sherman were mere villages, and Dallas, by actual count,
had only four hundred and thirty inhabitants. Young County,
from which Van Dorn had just moved his little army, had been
organized in 1856,' with its county seat almost in the shadow
of Fort Belknap. Randolph B. Marcy had preceded all settle-
ments west of Gainesville when he opened the California trail
midway between the present towns of Wichita Falls and Jacks-
boro in the gold rush year of 1849.5
As Van Dorn's soldiers entered Wichita County, an area then
Biographies of the old Second Cavalry, later known as the Fifth Cavalry,
fill a majority of the pages of this large volume. E. Kirby Smith and
Fitzhugh Lee joined Van Dorn later. Robert E. Lee, George H. Thomas,
Albert Sidney Johnston and John B. Hood were some of the leading figures
of the Second Cavalry who were not part of this particular expedition.
(b) Thorburn, Joseph B., "Indian Fight in Foard County in 1859,"
Kansas Historical Collections, 1911-12.
3Texas Almanac, 1936, 144.
'31 Cong. 1 sess. Sen. ex. doc. No. 64, 169-233. Marcy's report details
his expedition from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Santa F6 and return in 1849.
His return journey came from the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico,
eastward, near the sites of Pecos, Big Spring, Gainesville and Denison.
None of these towns were in existence in 1849. Gainesville began as a small
village in 1850. The map of the Texan Emigration and Land Company,
filed in the Texas General Land Office in 1854, shows about eighty miles of
the road that resulted from Marcy's journey. This part of the "California
Trail" extended from a point about four miles southeast of Throckmorton
to Brushy Mound, which is a well known hill some five miles northwest of
Bowie. This part of Marcy's trail is shown on the map that accompanies
this paper, for the drawing of which I have to thank the courtesy of Mr.
R. W. McClesky of Hardin Junior College. In 1858 John Butterfield and
associates established a government mail road to California, through
Gainesville and Belknap. Butterfield's road, which was partly new, in a
large measure supplanted Marcy's road west of Young County. Part of the
Butterfield trail is shown on the accompanying map.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/359/: accessed June 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.