An East Texas History Lesson
By Gary Endsley / Voices from the Backwoods
“Jefferson even started its own rail line in 1860. The vast majority of cotton from North Texas, Southern Arkansas and Oklahoma poured into Jefferson by rail and was shipped out by steam boat.”
Jefferson did not have a railroad in 1860, or even 1870 for that matter. Ox teams from the area brought cotton wagons into town before the railroad arrived. This didn’t occur until after 1873 when the Corps of Engineers cleared the Great Raft from the Red River dropping water levels to the point where navigation between Jefferson and points south and east were impossible. The railroad came in shortly thereafter.