The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 343
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The Van Dorn Trails
converged upon this point from the northwest, and others ap-
proached it from the southeast. A road from Henrietta ap-
proached this early gateway from the east. The old Van Dorn
Road, already described, came up from Brushy Mound near
Bowie. A road led northwest from old Buffalo Springs,83 and
another came due north from Antelope. Later, perhaps just
for good measure, a road came northeast from Archer City.
There were minor crossings on the Little Wichita that were
used at times, but for at least forty miles southwest of Henri-
etta there was no other important crossing. In the late seventies
great bull wagons, piled high with buffalo hides, en route to
Sherman, or herds of cattle headed north and west were not
uncommon sights at the Van Dorn Crossing. Whether or not
old Placedo was leading young L. S. Ross through an ancient
Indian gateway when he selected this crossing on the Little
Wichita, he was at least making a cross-road for many pioneer
Major Steen crossed at this same point on the Little
Wichita in laying out a road north to the Washita River at a
time not very far from that of Van Dorn's Indian campaign.8"
In 1865 six companies of soldiers laid out a trail, partly new,
from Fort Belknap all the way by the great bend of the Arkan-
sas and north to Fort Riley, Kansas. Apparently they, too,
crossed at the Van Dorn crossing.85
Other trails crossed and recrossed as the buffalo hunters and
the cattlemen took over the development of the country, but
Van Dorn holds fairly clear title to having established the
first widely used wagon road in the Wichita area to the north
and west of the California road. Thus did men, who sometimes
wore plumed hats and silk sashes, and who rode fine Kentucky
horses, lend greatly to the early transportation facilities of
Wichita and her sister counties. Or, perhaps, more to the point,
thus did a certain Mr. Duff and his teamsters "cuss" tough-
mouthed mules across mud holes and swollen rivers that his-
tory might record an almost ancient highway leading into the
land of new cities.
Wichita Falls, Texas.
82Edwards, A. B., Hilburn, R. S., Portwood, H. W., and many other per-
83Hilburn, R. S., personal interview, 1938.
84Neighbors to Washington, July 11, 1859. Neighbors Papers, Univer-
sity of Texas Library.
85Greer County Record, map opposite, 172.
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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/m1/382/: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.