The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 334
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the testimony of Ely, and the weight of many decades of tra-
dition, the answer seems clear-the old Van Dorn crossing,
five miles south of Jolly, or fifteen miles southeast of Wichita
Falls, is the genuine article.
The old crossing is plainly visible today. The water still
trickles over the sand-rock bottom as it did eighty years ago.
The current of the river at flood stage, however, has washed
out the south bank so that wagon traffic would not now be
possible. The remains of an iron bridge, built by Harry
Halsell4 more than forty years ago, are still to be seen beside
the former crossing.
As to the location of the remainder of the Van Dorn trail,
the answer may be brief. A very old road led south from the
Little Wichita by the village of Halsell, toward Antelope, in
the northeast corner of Jack County. It may have been part
of our route-though the proof is not positive. However, from
a point somewhere near the southwest corner of Clay County
to Fort Belknap, there can be little doubt about the course of
the old road. Ross, Van Dorn, and Neighbors, all of whom
admittedly followed the Van Dorn Road, without exception
camped at or passed by the Cottonwood Spring. This spring
was just north of the present town of Jean in Young County
and was a regular camping place on the Preston-Belknap Road.
The course of the Preston-Belknap Road, in so far as it con-
cerns us here, can be marked out almost as definitely as the
paved highway from Olney to Graham. Maps from the State
Land Office and early surveying records tell the whole story.42
For the convenience of those who wish to follow it, we are
listing the location of a number of points on the old road from
Fort Belknap to Camp Radziminski. Those who do not care
to study the route minutely should pass over these details.
The route follows:
(1) From old Fort Belknap north, through the east edge
of present New Castle in Young County; (2) still northward,
passing about one mile west of Jean; (3) next across the Trinity
River, about ten miles south of Archer City, in Texan Emigra-
tion and Land Company block 1831; (4) northeast, by old Flag
Springs in Texan Emigration and Land Company block 1841,
at Electra, Texas. At the time Green was en route to the Panhandle of
Texas to engage in a buffalo hunt.
41Halsell to Williams.
42The map of the Texan Emigration and Land Company, dated 1854, is
filed in the State Land Office. The trails referred to are shown on that 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/m1/371/: accessed April 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.