Heritage, Summer 2003 Page: 15
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The LOWver Road easier for wagons. Though there was another northerly
00 _ J- J ri route through West Texas, this southern trail was shorti0
E M1 L - ;l l 11 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I nff
Soan Antonio-EIl Paso er, therefore better traveled, and became known as the
With the annexation of the Republic of Texas to theLower (or San Antonio-El Paso) Road.
United States on December 29,1845, the need to survey
and develop transportation links between San AntonioThe mid-1800s were a busy time on the Lower Road. It is
and points west became a high priority for the U.S.estimated that in 1849, about 3,000 adventurers used
Army. In 1848, a Texas Rangers' expedition lead by this route across Texasas they headed to California. The
Colonel John C. Hays and Captain Samuel Highsmithpresent-day city of El Paso owes its existence, too, to
made the first attempt to open a road between Santhe Lower Road and its many travelers. With the steady
Antonio and El Paso. The rugged, waterless West Texas flow of wagons on the road, merchants offering good
terrain took its toll on the defeated group that wasand supplies came in to service those travelers, and
frced :to return to San Antonio. freight trains were not far behind.
But with the news of gold discoveries in California, thereIndian attacks were common on the road, and by 1854,
was renewed interest in a southerly route to the West the military began to provide protection with a line of
that would prove reliable for both the movement of forts placed at strategic points. In 1852, Fort Cark,
troops and commercial purposes. On orders of Major near present-day Bracketville was established anid
General William J. Worth of the 8th Military Department two years later, troops were stationed at Fort Daisi
(Texas), two engineer officers-Lieutenants William H.C. West Texas. Fort Lancaster followed in 1854, and
Whiting and William Smith-led another expedition to Camp Hudson, near what is now Comstock, ws built
extend the work done by the Rangers. They left San in 1857. Despite this military presentce,it as not uti
Antonio in February of 1849, mapped the territoryafter the Civil War that it became relativey safe to
through the Trans Pecos, successfully reached El Paso ,travel the Lower Road.
del Norte, and returned to San Antonio by the late^^^^^^^^^^^^^
H E R I TA G E W SUMMER 2003
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2003, periodical, Summer 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45377/m1/15/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.