Arikara known as Sahnish, Arikaree or Hundi, are a tribe of Native Americans in North Dakota. Today, they are enrolled with the Mandan and the Hidatsa as the federally recognized tribe known as the Mandan and Arikara Nation; the Arikara's name is believed to mean "horns," in reference to the ancient custom of wearing two upright bones in their hair. The name could mean "elk people" or "corn eaters." The Arikara language is a member of the Caddoan language family. Arikara is close to the Pawnee language; as of 2007, the total number of remaining native speakers was reported as ten, one of whom, Maude Starr, died on 20 January 2010. She was a certified language teacher. Linguistic divergence between Arikara and Pawnee suggests a separation from the Skidi Pawnee in about the 15th century; the Arzberger Site near present-day Pierre, South Dakota, designated as a National Historic Landmark, is an archeological site from this period, containing the remains of a fortified village with more than 44 lodges.
An Arikara village, near where present-day Pierre, South Dakota developed, was visited in 1743 by two sons of the French trader and explorer La Vérendrye. In the last quarter of the 17th century, the Arikara came under attack from the Omaha/Ponca and the Iowa near the end of the Omaha/Ponca migration to Nebraska. With peace established the Arikara influenced the newcomers; the Omaha still credit the Arikara women for instructing them in the art of building earth lodges. The Arikara lived as a semi-nomadic people on the Great Plains. During the sedentary seasons, the Arikara lived in villages of earth lodges. While traveling or during the seasonal bison hunts, they erected portable tipis as temporary shelter, they were an agricultural society, whose women cultivated varieties of corn. The crop was such an important staple of their society that it was referred to as "Mother Corn."An early European, a botanist, praised the Arikara women as excellent cultivators. He had not seen finer crops anywhere in America.
The surplus corn and other crops, along with tobacco, were traded to the Lakota, the Cheyenne and more southern plains tribes during short-lived truces. The amount of trading items passing through the Arikara villages made them a "trading center on the Upper Missouri". Before smallpox epidemics hit the three village tribes, they were the "most influential and affluent peoples in the Northern Plains". Traditionally an Arikara family owned 30–40 dogs; the people used them for hunting and as sentries, but most for transportation in the centuries before the Plains tribes adopted the use of horses in the 1600s. Many of the Plains tribes had used the travois, a lightweight transportation device pulled by dogs, it consisted of two long poles attached by a harness at the dog's shoulders, with the butt ends dragging behind the animal. Women used dogs to pull travois to haul firewood or infants; the travois were used to carry meat harvested during the seasonal hunts. The Arikara played a central role in the Great Plains Indian trading networks based on an advantageous geographical position combined with a surplus from agriculture and craft.
Historical sources show that the Arikara villages were visited by Cree, Crow, Arapaho, Kiowa, Plains Apache and Comanche. In the late 18th century, the tribe suffered a high rate of fatalities from smallpox epidemics, which reduced their population from an estimated 30,000 to 6,000, disrupting their social structure. Other estimates range from less than 10,000 people as a peak population to 25,000; the smallpox epidemic of 1780-1782 reduced the Arikara villages along the Missouri to just two from thirty-two. The effects of the epidemic may have been so terrible that it could not be comprehended but in allegorical form. All-out war hit the weakened and divided Arikara. In a burned-down village, archaeologists found the mutilated skeletons of 71 men and children, killed in the early 1780s by unknown Indian attackers. Groups of Sioux were the ones, they attacked the vulnerable Arikara and increased "the pace of Sioux expansion" west of the Missouri. The Arikara faced many challenges during the first quarter of the 19th century: Reduced numbers, competition from white traders, military pressure from the Lakota and other groups of Sioux.
Alliances shifted constantly. The Arikara joined old foes the Sioux in raids on Hidatsa Indians, they negotiated for peace with both village tribes. Due to their reduced numbers, the Arikara started to live closer to the Mandan and Hidatsa in the same area for mutual protection, they migrated from present-day Nebraska and South Dakota into North Dakota in response to pressure from other tribes the Sioux, European-American settlers. The remainder of the group was encountered in 1804 by the Clark Expedition; the first Arikara delegation left for the capital, Washington, DC, in April 1805, urged by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Chief Ankedoucharo died in Washington; the delegates blamed the whites for the chief's death. That was one reason why the Arikara for the next decades were "notoriously hostile to white Americans". On June 2, 1823, the Arikara attacked a group of 70 trappers led by William Henry Ashley of the Henry/Ashley Company; the trappers were camped near an Arikara village at the mouth of Grand River.
Nacogdoches is a small city in East Texas and the county seat of Nacogdoches County, United States. The 2010 U. S. Census recorded the city's population to be 32,996. Nacogdoches is a sister city of the smaller and similarly-named Natchitoches, the third-largest city in the Southern Ark-La-Tex. Nacogdoches is the home of Texas' largest azalea garden. Local promotional literature from the Nacogdoches Convention and Visitors Bureau describes Nacogdoches as “the oldest town in Texas”. Evidence of settlement at the same site dates back to 10,000 years ago, it is on the site of Nevantin, the primary village of the Nacogdoche tribe of Caddo Indians. Nacogdoches remained a Caddo Indian settlement until the early 19th century. In 1716, Spain established a mission there, Mission Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches; that was the first European construction in the area. The “town” of Nacogdoches got started after the French had vacated the region, Spanish officials decided that maintaining the mission was too costly.
In 1772, they ordered all settlers in the area to move to San Antonio. Some were eager to escape the wilderness, it was one of the original European settlements in the region, populated by Adaeseños from Fort Los Adaes. Colonel Antonio Gil Y'Barbo, a prominent Spanish trader, emerged as the leader of the settlers, in the spring of 1779, he led a group back to Nacogdoches; that summer, Nacogdoches received designation from Spain as a pueblo, or town, thereby making it the first “town” in Texas. Y'Barbo, as lieutenant governor of the new town, established the rules and laws for local government, he laid out streets with the intersecting El Camino Real and La Calle del Norte/North Street as the central point. On the main thoroughfare, he built a stone house for use in his trading business; the house, or Old Stone Fort as it is known today, became a gateway from the United States to the Texas frontier. The city has been under more flags than the state of Texas. In addition to the Six Flags of Texas, it flew under the flags of the Magee-Gutierrez Republic, the Long Republic, the Fredonian Rebellion.
People from the United States began moving to settle in Nacogdoches in 1820 and Texas' first English-language newspaper was published there. However, the first newspaper published was in Spanish. An edition of the newspaper is shown at the local museum. In 1832, the Battle of Nacogdoches brought many local settlers together, as they united in their stand to support a federalist form of government, their successful venture drove the Mexican military from East Texas. Thomas Jefferson Rusk was one of the most prominent early Nacogdoches Anglo settlers. A veteran of the Texas Revolution, hero of San Jacinto, he signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was secretary of war during the Republic of Texas, he was president of the Texas Statehood Commission and served as one of the first two Texas U. S. Senators along with Sam Houston, he worked to establish Nacogdoches University, which operated from 1845 to 1895. The Old Nacogdoches University Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.
Rusk suffered from depression as a result of the untimely death of his wife, killed himself on July 29, 1857. Sam Houston lived in Nacogdoches for four years prior to the Texas Revolution and opened a law office downtown, he courted Anna Raguet, daughter of one of the leading citizens, but Anna rejected him after finding that he was not divorced from his first wife Eliza Allen of Tennessee. William Goins, the son of a white mother and black father, operated a local inn, trucking service, blacksmith works and maintained a plantation outside Nacogdoches on Goins Hill, he was owned slaves. He was appointed as an agent to treat with the Cherokees and was prominent in providing assistance to the Texas Army during the Revolution. Adolphus Sterne was a merchant of German Jewish extraction, he was visited by famous luminaries such as Sam Houston, Thomas Rusk, Chief Bowles, David Crockett, many others, so his diary is one of the best sources for early Nacogdoches history. Nacogdoches contains one of the last surviving family-owned homestead plantations in East Texas, the August Tubbe Plantation and operated by the same family which established it in 1859.
August Tubbe was a German-born immigrant, who with his elderly mother, left Germany in 1858 and arrived in Nacogdoches by 1859. Their lives are recounted in several books, including a historical fiction novel by Gisela Laudi entitled “This is what I want to give ye report on. Tubbe plantation is significant in the formation of early life in East Texas, not only in its cotton and sugarcane, but because it played an important part in milled-lumber production. Tubbe Sawmill was the first water-, steam-powered, sawmill in Nacogdoches. During renovations of the Cason-Monk buildings in the early 21st century, boards stamped with Tubbe Mill logos made dating the building possible; the estate contains one of the largest owned genealogical archives pertaining to the Tubbe family in existence, providing important insight into early settlers life during the 19th century. The family has been featured in a number of German museums including the Expo2000 in Bremerhaven Germany; the estate and archives are owned and maintained by a descendant of its original founder, are available for study through
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations; the term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander"; the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. A vast variety of peoples and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were affected by the European colonization of the Americas, which began in 1492, their population declined precipitously due to introduced diseases as well as warfare, territorial confiscation and slavery.
After the founding of the United States, many Native American peoples were subjected to warfare and one-sided treaties, they continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies into the 20th century. Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans. Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations; when the United States was created, established Native American tribes were considered semi-independent nations, as they lived in communities separate from British settlers. The federal government signed treaties at a government-to-government level until the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended recognition of independent native nations, started treating them as "domestic dependent nations" subject to federal law; this law did preserve the rights and privileges agreed to under the treaties, including a large degree of tribal sovereignty.
For this reason, many Native American reservations are still independent of state law and actions of tribal citizens on these reservations are subject only to tribal courts and federal law. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U. S. citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. This emptied the "Indians not taxed" category established by the United States Constitution, allowed natives to vote in state and federal elections, extended the Fourteenth Amendment protections granted to people "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. However, some states continued to deny Native Americans voting rights for several decades. Bill of Rights protections do not apply to tribal governments, except for those mandated by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange.
As most Native American groups had preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, the first written sources of the conflict were written by Europeans. Ethnographers classify the indigenous peoples of North America into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits, called cultural areas; some scholars combine the Plateau and Great Basin regions into the Intermontane West, some separate Prairie peoples from Great Plains peoples, while some separate Great Lakes tribes from the Northeastern Woodlands. The ten cultural areas are as follows: Arctic, including Aleut and Yupik peoples Subarctic Northeastern Woodlands Southeastern Woodlands Great Plains Great Basin Northwest Plateau Northwest Coast California Southwest At the time of the first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and Christian immigrants; some Northeastern and Southwestern cultures, in particular, were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than that with which Europeans were familiar.
The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. Europeans at that time had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were different; the differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, social disruption. Before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity. Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492".
Old World diseases were the primary killer. In many regions the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact. "Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U. S. vary ranging from William M Denevan's 3.8 million in his 1992 w
Caddoan Mississippian culture
The Caddoan Mississippian culture was a prehistoric Native American culture considered by archaeologists as a variant of the Mississippian culture. The Caddoan Mississippians covered a large territory, including what is now Eastern Oklahoma, Western Arkansas, Northeast Texas, Northwest Louisiana. Archaeological evidence that the cultural continuity is unbroken from prehistory to the present; the Caddoan Mississippians are thought to be an descendants of Woodland period groups, the Fourche Maline culture and Mossy Grove culture peoples who were living in the area around 200 BCE to 800 CE. They were linked to other peoples across much of the Eastern Woodlands through trade networks; this time period saw the introduction of pottery making from peoples to their east, by 500 CE the bow and arrow from the Southwest. By 800 CE early Caddoan society began to coalesce into one of the earlier Mississippian cultures; some villages began to gain prominence as ritual centers, with elite residences and temple mound constructions.
The mounds were arranged around open plazas, which were kept swept clean and were used for ceremonial occasions. As complex religious and social ideas developed, some people and family lineages gained prominence over others; this hierarchical structure is marked in the archaeological record by the appearance of large tombs with exotic grave offerings of obvious symbols of authority and prestige. By 1000 CE a society now known as "Caddoan" had emerged; this included the increased prominence of ritual centers and the development of a more stratified social hierarchy with some lineage and kin groups exerting more control over the community. This is evidenced by the tomb burials of people thought to be leaders, accompanied by elaborate grave goods and sacrificial retainer burials of family members and followers. Major sites such as Spiro and the Battle Mound Site are in the Arkansas River Valley and the Red River Valley these valleys being the largest and most fertile areas in the Caddoan region, where maize agriculture would have been the most productive.
The Caddoans had developed a distinct type of pottery making described by the de Soto expedition as some of the finest they had seen in their European homeland. By 1200, the numerous villages and farmsteads established throughout the Caddo world had begun extensive maize agriculture. Recent excavations have revealed more cultural diversity within the region than had been expected by scholars in sites along the Arkansas River. Caddoan Mississippian towns had a more irregular layout of earthen mounds and associated villages than did towns in the Middle Mississippian heartland to the east, they lacked the wooden palisade fortifications found in the major Middle Mississippian towns. Living on the western edge of the Mississippian world, the Caddoans may have faced fewer military threats from their neighbors, their societies may have had a somewhat lower level of social stratification. The location of the western edge of the Eastern Woodlands may account for these differences; the climate west of the woodlands was drier, hindering maize production, the lower population on the plains to the west may have meant fewer neighboring chiefdoms with whom to compete and contend.
However, around 1400 CE, Caddoan populations had peaked. After this point many ritual centers begin to decline in population. A more dispersed settlement system developed, with the bulk of the people living on scattered homesteads and small farms rather than in large villages. By this time the earlier broad cultural unity of the area began to break down, with many distinct local variations developing. Caddoan Mississippian peoples were connected to the larger Mississippian world to the east and other cultures to the southwest by trade networks which spanned the North American continent. Artifacts found in "The Great Mortuary" at the Spiro site included wood, conch shell, basketry, woven fabric, fur and carved stone statues; some artifacts came from as far away as Cahokia in Illinois and Ocmulgee in Georgia, Moundville in Alabama. Many featured the elaborate symbolism of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, a multiregional and pan-linguistic trade and religious network. Exotic material from other regions found at Caddoan Mississippian sites included colored flint from New Mexico, copper from the Great Lakes, conch shells from the Gulf Coast, mica from the Carolinas.
The Spiro site is the only Mississippian site. This is a piece of black obsidian from Mexico reaching this site through Caddoan Mississippian trade with peoples to the southwest. Using these valued materials, Mississippian artists created exquisite works of art expressing their cultural identity and their complex spiritual beliefs; the Caddoan Mississippians were speakers of many Caddoan languages. The Caddoan languages once had a broad geographic distribution; the modern languages in the Caddoan family include Pawnee. Both are now spoken by tribal elders; when the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto led an expedition into what is now the southeastern United States in the 1540s, they encountered Native American groups recorded as the Naguatex, Nishone and Nondacao. They are now believed to be Caddo villages, it is estimated that in 1520, the many tribes of people numbered about 250,000. Over the next 250 years the population of these Caddoan-speaking peoples was reduced by epidemics of diseases inadvertently brought
The Angelina River is formed by the junction of Barnhardt and Shawnee creeks 3 miles northwest of Laneville in southwest central Rusk County, Texas. The river flows southeast for 120 miles and forms the boundaries between Cherokee and Nacogdoches and Nacogdoches, Angelina and San Augustine counties, it empties into the Neches River 12 miles north of Jasper in northwestern Jasper County. The Sam Rayburn Reservoir is on the southern part of the river; the river was named for a native Hasinai girl. It was well known to missionaries in East Texas. Spanish land grants along the stream date back to the eighteenth century, there was considerable settlement in the area during the Mexican period. In 1832, the Battle of Nacogdoches spilled over onto the Angelina, when James Bowie ambushed the fleeing Mexican army at this river. River traffic on the Angelina began to die in the 1880s with the arrival of the railroads. By 1900, the stream was no longer navigable. Farming and clear-cutting by the growing lumber industry in the river's watershed caused the river to silt up, numerous sandbars formed along its course.
The Angelina River is mentioned in "Rivertown" by Texan Hayes Carll on his 2005 album Little Rock. Mason Williams, in "The Rivers of Texas" on the album Of Time and Rivers Flowing, says "the fair Angelina runs glossy and gliding." List of rivers of Texas U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Angelina River
The Chitimacha known as Chetimachan or the Sitimacha, are a Federally recognized tribe of Native Americans who live in the U. S. state of Louisiana on their reservation in St. Mary Parish near Charenton on Bayou Teche, they are the only indigenous people in the state who still control some of their original land, where they have long occupied areas of the Atchafalaya Basin, "one of the richest inland estuaries on the continent." In 2011 they numbered about 1100 people. The people spoke the Chitimacha language, a language isolate; the last two native speakers died in the 1930s. But the tribe has been working since the 1990s to revitalize the language, based on notes and recordings made by linguist Morris Swadesh about 1930, they have started immersion classes for adults. In 2008 they partnered with Rosetta Stone in a two-year effort to develop software to support learning the language; each tribal household was given a copy. The Chitmacha have used revenues from gaming to promote education and cultural preservation, founding a tribal museum, historic preservation office, restoration of their language.
The Chitimacha are one of four federally recognized tribes in the state. In addition, Louisiana recognizes several other tribes. In the late 20th century, Louisiana had the "third-largest Native American population in the eastern United States." The Chitimacha Indians and their ancestors inhabited the Mississippi River Delta area of south central Louisiana for thousands of years before European encounter. Tradition asserts that the boundary of the territory of the Chitimacha was marked by four prominent trees. Archaeological finds suggest that the Chitimacha and their indigenous ancestors have been living in Louisiana for 6,000 years. Prior to that they migrated into the area from west of the Mississippi River. According to the Chitimacha, their name comes from the term Pantch Pinankanc, meaning ‘men altogether red,’ meaning warrior; the Chitimacha were divided into four sub tribes: the Chawasha, Chitimacha and Yagenachito. The name Chawasha is a Choctaw term for ‘Raccoon Place.’ Washa is Choctaw and means ‘Hunting Pace.’ Yaganechito means ‘Big country.’ The Chitimacha established their villages in the midst of the numerous swamps and rivers of the Atchafalaya Basin, "one of the richest inland estuaries on the continent."
They knew this area intimately. The site conditions provided them with a natural defense to enemy attack and made these villages impregnable; as a result, they did not fortify them. The villages were rather large, with an average of about 500 inhabitants. Dwellings were constructed from available resources; the people built walls from a framework of poles and plastered them with mud or palmetto leaves. The roofs were thatched; the Chitimacha raised a variety of crops, agricultural produce provided the mainstay of their diet. The women tended the crops, they were skilled horticulturalists, raising numerous, distinct varieties of corn and squash. Corn was the main crop, supplemented by beans and melons; the women gathered wild foods and nuts. The men hunted for such game as deer and alligator, they caught fish. The people stored grain crops in an elevated winter granary to supplement fishing. Living by the waters, the Chitimacha made dugout canoes for transport; these vessels were constructed by carving out cypress.
The largest could hold as many as forty people. To gain the stones they needed for fashioning arrowheads and tools, the people traded crops for stone with tribes to the north, they developed such weapons as the blow gun and cane dart. They adapted fish bones to use as arrowheads; the Chitimacha were distinctive in their custom of flattening the foreheads of their male babies. They would bind them as infants to shape their skulls. Adult men would wear their hair long and loose, they were skilled practitioners of the art of tattooing covering their face, body and legs with tattooed designs. Because of the hot and humid climate, the men wore only a breechcloth, the women a short skirt. Like many Native American peoples, the Chitimacha had a matrilineal kinship system, in which property and descent passed through the female lines; the hereditary male chiefs, who governed until early in the 20th century, came from the maternal lines and were approved by female elders. Children took their status from her.
Like other Native American tribes, the Chitimacha at times acculturated other peoples. In addition, as Chitimacha women had relationships with European traders in the decades of more interaction, their mixed-race children were considered to belong to the mother's family and were acculturated as Chitimacha; the Chitimacha were divided into a strict class system of commoners. They had such a distinction. Intermarriage between the classes was forbidden. At the time of Columbus’ arrival in America, historians estimate the combined strength of the four Chitimacha groups was about 20,000. Although the Chitimacha had no direct contact with Europeans for two more centuries, they suffered Eurasian infectious diseases contracted from other natives who had traded with them, such as measles and typhoid fever. Like other Native Americans, the Chitimacha had no immunity to these new diseases and suffered high fatalities in epidemics. By 1700, when the French began to colonize the Mississippi River Valley
Sabine River (Texas–Louisiana)
The Sabine River is a river, 510 miles long, in the Southern U. S. states of Louisiana. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the first half of the 19th century, the river formed part of the Spanish–American, Mexican–American, Texan–American international boundaries; the upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through the pine forests along the Texas–Louisiana border, the bayou country near the Gulf Coast; the river drains an area of 9,756 square miles, of which 7,426 square miles are in Texas and 2,330 square miles in Louisiana. It flows through an area of abundant rainfall and discharges the largest volume of any river in Texas; the name Sabine comes from the Spanish word for cypress, in reference to the extensive growth of bald cypresses along the lower river. The river flows through an important petroleum-producing region, the lower river near the Gulf is among the most industrialized areas of the southeastern United States.
The river was described as the dividing line between the Old South and the New Southwest. The Sabine rises in northeast Texas by the union of three branches: the Cowleech Fork, Caddo Fork, South Fork; the Cowleech Fork flows southeast for 49.2 miles. The Caddo Fork, shown as "Caddo Creek" on federal maps, rises in two tributary forks, the East Caddo Fork and the West Caddo Fork, in northwestern Hunt County; the South Fork rises in the southwestern corner of Hunt County and flows east for 28.3 miles, joining the Caddo Fork and Cowleech Fork in southeastern Hunt County. The confluence of the forks is now submerged in the Lake Tawakoni reservoir; the combined river flows southeast across northeast Texas and is joined by a fourth branch, Lake Fork Creek, 70.0 miles downstream from the reservoir. In northeast Texas, the river flows past Mineola, Big Sandy, Longview, the largest city on the river, to southwest of Shreveport at the 32nd parallel north, where it establishes the Texas-Louisiana boundary.
It flows south. It is impounded 10 miles west of Leesville, Louisiana, to form the 70-mile-long Toledo Bend Reservoir, with the Sabine National Forest along its western bank. South of the reservoir, it passes through the bayou country, surrounded by wetlands, as well as widespread industrial areas near the Gulf Coast. 10 miles south of Orange, it meets the Neches River from the west to form the 17-mile-long and 7-mile-wide Sabine Lake, which drains through Sabine Pass to the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Port Arthur, sits along the western shore of Sabine Lake Archeological evidence indicates the valley of the river has been inhabited for as long as 12,000 years by indigenous peoples. Starting in the eighth century, the Caddo inhabited the area, building extensive earthwork mounds in complexes expressing their cosmology; the Caddo culture flourished until the late 13th century. Descendants of the Caddo were living along the river when the first European explorers arrived in the 16th century; the river was named in 1716 by Spanish explorer Domingo Ramón, appeared as Río de Sabinas on a 1721 map.
The river was used by French traders, at various times, the river was claimed by both Spain and France. After the acquisition by Spain of the French territory of Louisiana in 1763, following France's defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War, the capital of the Spanish province of Texas was established on the east side of the river, near present-day Robeline, Louisiana. After acquiring the French territory west of the Mississippi River in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the United States started to exert control in this area, it was at war with Native Americans in Louisiana along the Sabine River from 1836 to 1837, in the period when it was trying to remove the Indians to Indian Territory from the Southeast. The Sabine River was too deep to ford, proved to be navigable. Early travelers and settlers would have to swim the river on horseback and cattle would have to be driven into the river to swim across. Ferries were put into service. By the 1840s, steamboats were travelling from Logansport to Sabine Lake.
Recorded ferry use began 1794, when Louis Chabinan, his wife Margarite LaFleur, their four children settled on the east bank of the Sabine River on land purchased from Vicinte Michele. Chabinan built a ferry landing on the river called Paso del Chaland. Louisiana State Highway 6 and Texas State Highway 21 now meet near here, at the site of the present-day Pendleton Bridge. In 1796, Chabinan was drowned after falling into the Sabine. Michel Crow married his widow and ran the ferry, until he sold it to James Gaines circa 1819; this ferry was in service until 1937, when it was replaced by the Pendleton Bridge, built during the Great Depression. Crow operated a ferry he had started upriver, a 120-foot crossing started in 1796, it linked what became known as Carter's Ferry Road, now Texas FM 276. Carter's ferry was 15 miles from Many, Louisiana. Crow sold the ferry to Carter. Farther north, just above Bayou Lanan, was Williamson Ferry. Other ferries on the Sabine River: Burr's ferry Hadden's ferry Ballew's ferry Sabinetown ferry Gaines Ferry: Carter's ferry: (Located SSE of La 191 after crossing hwy 1215.