The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 70
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
There were only two main roads across the Neutral Ground.
The Old Spanish Trail crossed the disputed territory from
Natchitoches, the last American settlement before encountering
Arroyo Hondo, to Nacogdoches, the first Spanish settlement
west of the Sabine River. The Opelousas Road followed ap-
proximately the same line at present used by the highway
from Orange, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. There were
two other fairly important roads, one from Bayou Pierre to
Nacogdoches, and the other from Bayou Pierre to Natchitoches.
Numerous other trails entered these main roads and crossed
the Neutral Ground at various angles, but these were used
mainly by hunters, trappers, and Indians and not by regular
travelers or traders.
The Neutral Ground, as stated, was the bridge over which
passed most of the trade carried on between Texas and Louisi-
ana. Spain had restricted and prohibited commercial intercourse
with Louisiana, but the urgent need that often developed for
supplies compelled frontier authorities to amend all prohibitory
legislation whenever necessity dictated such a course. Spanish
commercial policy gave rise to a highly profitable smuggling
trade for which the Neutral Ground served as an ideal base.
Traders' caravans going across the disputed area, or to the
Indian villages, presented an excellent opportunity for plunder.
Bandits infested this area and forced both the Spanish and
American governments, at times, to send armed detachments
into the Neutral Ground to clear the trade routes.
Closely connected with trade in and across the Neutral Groufid
was the firm of Barr and Davenport, which operated profitably
until the Guti6rrez-Magee filibusters invaded Texas. The activi-
ties of the House of Barr and Davenport can be understood only
in the light of the Spanish determination that the Neutral
Ground should be a permanent barrier to Anglo-American west-
ward expansion. From the earliest days of the existence of the
United States, the Spaniards had believed that the young
American republic, despite its democratic and pacific doctrine,
had been born with an imperialistic complex. Shortly after the
United States acquired Louisiana, trade between Louisiana and
Texas was wholly prohibited. The House of Barr and Davenport
tion of 1810 did not destroy the settlement and did not explore beyond it.
Furthermore, the Spanish government established a trading post in that
settlement in 1809.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/79/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.