Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Exploring Jefferson, Texas

Location: Buckhorn Creek (COE) Campground; near Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson is located in the northeast corner of Texas about 20 miles from the Louisiana border (as the crow flies). During the early 1800's it was a booming little town because steamboats could go from Jefferson to the Mississippi River by way of Big Cypress Bayou and the Red River. It was a commercial gateway for products to and from west Texas, Oklahoma and the midwestern states. This ended when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired Captain Henry Miller Shreve to clear the "Great Raft" on the Red River. The great raft was a 160 mile long log jam on the Red River upstream and downstream of current Shreveport, Louisiana (named after Captain Shreve). Once he cleared the Red River, lakes and bayous upstream of Shreveport, emptied dramatically. One such bayou was Big Cypress Bayou. Once the water level dropped, no riverboats could make it to Jefferson. So, like most things in life, it was a balancing act. Removing the raft helped some while hurting others. This happened around 1840 or so. This was the first of two things to hurt Jefferson. The second was in the 1870's when the railroads were being built in Texas. The final route for the Texas and Pacific went from Texarkana to Marshal to Dallas/Fort Worth. This route bypassed Jefferson, which completed its commercial decline. Today, it is a small tourist town trying to hold on to its previous glory days.

I mentioned in the previous post that I would be exploring a museum in Jefferson although I had become Jaded to small town museums over the years. I said I would keep and open mind. Well, I explored and came away more jaded. It would be a nice one for people who haven't visited these type of museums. One good thing was it was free because I was a veteran. 

It is a larger museum than most in such a small town. They have four floors on displays. The building is an old Federal Building with old Court House and Post Office. This was the old court room that they hung many portraits of mostly unknown people. Some were very elaborate and well done. I enjoyed this room the best.

I took this picture in honor of my mother and the object located at the foot of the bed. Fancy people call it a "chamber pot" but my mother called it a "slop jar". As some of you know, while growing up, my family moved around the country about every year or two. Well, on the trip from West Virginia to Lafayette, Louisiana, the moving van wrecked in the mountains of either Kentucky or Tennessee. When the moving company called to tell my parents about the wreck,,, the first question from my mother was "what about my slop jar???", since she had just bought one from an estate sale before the move. The moving van company told her, "we don't know about a slop jar ma'am, but our driver is alive and well". This humbled my mother, and she never forgot it. Apparently, neither have I.

Notice the small door above the safe. It is where the postal inspector stayed. His job was to literally "over see" transaction down below.

A typical street in Jefferson. The people who convince towns to use bricks on their streets should be "tarred, feathered and run out of town on a rail". They are good for a couple of years, but are very difficult to maintain resulting in problems. Just my personal opinion.

This is the other thing on my list of things to explore in Jefferson. It is a General Store. 

It's a sensory overload when you enter. I was lucky because I was the only one in the store except for the two nice guys that worked there. I took this picture because of the Pearl Beer sign in the top/middle. One of my kinfolks really liked that brand and it started in San Antonio.

Candy everywhere. Some I hadn't heard of or seen since my childhood. Memory flashback.

Ice cream parlor and small cafe. I didn't buy anything except on of their 5 cent coffees.

I didn't know about his building and stumbled on it while driving around. It is a Carnegie Library. There were about 2,500 of them built between 1883 and 1929 by Andrew Carnegie and his foundation. Some say he did this to calm some of his guilt, but either way, he did a good thing for a lot of people before public libraries came along.

 A storm blew through the area today bringing high winds and some rain. It has now passed over which is good because tomorrow is moving day. A second round of rain is expected tomorrow evening but hopefully I'll be set up in my new campsite at Liberty Hill (COE) Campground.

Yesterday morning, just after sunrise. This is looking out the door of Liberty2

This was taken while walking around the campground about 30 minutes before sunset. 

Ya'll take care of each other. Maybe I'll Cya down the road.



  1. Brick streets look nice but I've never had to deal with them other drive over them.

    1. They are a pain in the B-hind to maintain, but they are pretty and smooth for a while when new.

  2. My kinda town! I grew up with one of those stores in Easley, MO. It sits on the Missouri River. Got it marked on my got to see list. Thanks Darrell.

  3. I didn't know that about the Red River. Thanks for the history lesson.

  4. You're welcome Shawn,,, be safe out there floating (sailing). :)