Rails and Trails

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“The Adair’s were soon to enter a Texas economy ablaze with pent-up Railroad Frenzy, put on hold by the Civil War. Not only would this soon spell the end of buffalo and Indian lifeways, but, soon thereafter, would end the romantic open range and the great trail drives that had made Adair’s partner, Charles Goodnight, duly famous.”

The Texas Legislature chartered five southern transcontinental railroads in 1852 and 1853 alone. After the Civil War, the famed albeit crooked Gen. John C. Frémont, Indian fighter, became interested in a southern transcontinental railroad and got involved in the affairs of the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific Railroad. Frémont used the railroad’s land grant as collateral for bonds he sold in France, but the company only graded a few extra miles. Frémont and his associates soon incorporated The Southern Trans-Continental Railway Company on July 27, 1870, to acquire the Memphis, El Paso and Pacific and to build along its projected route to El Paso as well as between Jefferson and Texarkana, but this company also did no work. The Memphis, El Paso and Pacific remained independent, however, as both it and the Southern Trans-Continental were sold to the Texas and Pacific Railway Company on June 12, 1873,and March 30, 1872, respectively. The Texas and Pacific built from Marshall through Jefferson to Texarkana in 1872 and 1873 and finally completed the projected Memphis, El Paso and Pacific line between Texarkana and Fort Worth in 1880.

George C. Werner
Handbook of Texas Online
Adopted, 2007