The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944 Page: 220
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
they reached this road, and could then follow it southward into
Austin, and to other points of South Texas.
But even this road was not the complete answer to the needs
of North Texas. The greater portion of the population, which
was still centered in and near Red River County, must travel
miles out of the way to reach South or Central Texas. Plainly,
the bill that created the National Road corrected this difficulty.
That act of Congress made a new, short-cut route available for
the inhabitants of the Jonesboro-Clarksville country. These
pioneers on far-away Red River could now follow the new road
southwest to the banks of the Trinity, and from there drive
southward down the Preston-Austin Road into the system of
roads and trails then in use in South Texas.
The National Road, instead of beginning at a dead-end on the
Trinity and ending at another dead-end on Red River, connected
the roads of Texas with the military roads from Fort Towson
into the United States. It connected Saint Louis with San
Antonio, and was, in fact, an international highway.
The Texas Congress named this new highway the "Central"
National Road, even though it led directly into the unsettled
frontier. Undoubtedly the Congress was thinking in terms of
future development; the great stream of immigrants that soon
began to flow justified the undertaking.
Nevertheless, the National Road did not play the glorified
role that the Congress may have visualized.44 The fact that
Greenville shortly became a county seat town changed the course
of much of the traffic in the middle part of the road, and the
swift westward movement of the frontier caused the Preston and
other roads to share heavily in wagon travel that was soon to
double, triple, and quadruple the population of Texas.
One of the best illustrations of this rapid growth came at the
440n March 4, 1851, the road from McKenzie's Ferry, via Dallas, to
Waxahachie was made 30 feet wide and declared a first class road. All
other roads in Dallas County were made 20 feet wide and declared to be
second class (Dallas County Commissioners' Court Minutes, A, 106).
Thus it appears that for a few years the National Road (from McKenzie's
Ferry to Dallas) was part of the most important thoroughfare in Dallas
County. In 1852 the Commissioners of Lamar County granted William
Russell and Josiah Ashby a franchise to build causeways closely parallel-
ing the National Road across the three principal creeks between Paris
and Pine Bluff; tolls were charged on these causeways. The entire route
of the National Road across Lamar County was declared a first class
highway (A. W. Neville, The History of Lamar County, 95). However,
despite these evidences of its early importance, the National Road did
not hold the spotlight very long-it does not appear on any of the
numerous old maps of Texas that the writer has examined.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944, periodical, 1944; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/m1/251/?q=%22westward%20movement%22: accessed July 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.