Stephen F. Austin State University

The Stagecoach Crossing on Peason Ridge (Novemeber 2011)

The Stagecoach Crossing on Peason Ridge
By Rickey Robertson

Located on present day Peason Ridge Military Reservation are many historical sites and locations. There are old wagon roads, buffalo grazing areas, old homesteads, American Indian sites, and crossings and fords on the many creeks of the area. One such historical site involves a crossing site on Sandy Creek used by stagecoaches that traveled through this area in the 1800's.

Located on one of the old stagecoach roads that ran from Texas into Louisiana is the old rock stagecoach crossing near the old Foster Dowden homestead. I have walked and rode the route of the old stagecoach road and it came along the ridgelines and through the forest all the way to the Sabine River. During the 1800's a stagecoach was the main source for travel. Travelers could ride the stagecoach from one location to another, with stops every so far to change horses, and to let passengers stretch their legs and have a meal at the way stations.

The stagecoach road ran right by the homesteads of Foster and his brother Asa Dowden. After passing the Foster Dowden place, the stage had to cross Sandy Creek. Located here on Sandy Creek is a rock crossing on the creek where you can still see the ruts cut by the wheels of the stagecoaches into the rock. After the stagecoach crossed this spot, it traveled a couple of more miles to what is now known as Stagestand, where a stage stop was located. After a brief stop at Stagestand, the coach would turn toward Kisatchie, where it would stop at the Beasley Stage Stop. From there the coach would cross what is known as the Devil's Backbone, steep rocky ridges in the Kisatchie Hills, in present day Kisatchie National Forest, and from there its next stop was Natchitoches, La. on the Red River. Once at Natchitoches passengers could either go by coach or steamboat on their continued travels.

During the Civil War, I have found that Confederate forces under General Richard Taylor received supplies from Texas along various routes, and this stagecoach route was one of those used. Until the railroads began to come into western Louisiana, this route was used. But as the days of the stagecoach faded, much of its history did also. But here on Peason Ridge we still have a keep-sake of this era with our beautiful old rock crossing on Sandy Creek.

Old Stagecoach Crossing located on Sandy Creek. You can still see the ruts cut into the rock by the wheels of the stagecoaches that crossed here for many years.

Water from Sandy Creek flows gently across the old Stagecoach Crossing located on Peason Ridge.