The land becomes perfectly flat as I approach the river. The old trees that overhung the ferry road and shaded barefoot boys, genteel ladies in their carriages, and ranchers herding their stock to market, have survived to intertwine their branches to form a cocoon - a Texas Ho Chi Minh Trail. To the north lay Indian Territory through the end of the 19th century and the Five Civilized Tribes and other small bands resettled there mostly were, but you always had to watch out for a few renegades and outlaws.
Old Ferry Road DB 1808.jpg
The plantation owner, a Ranger Captain during the days of the Republic, and a Confederate Colonel during the Civil War, had established trade with the federal forts and reservations before and afterwards. The ferry road fronted his home and storehouse - from my old maps I know I am getting close. He was a fierce fighter and local legends suggest he chose this remote location to be safe from former enemies. As Provost Martial and Commander of the Border Battalion he had to control his many conscripts and maintain order among the settlers, a mix of immigrants from both north and south. The Red River Region counties almost all voted against secession and feelings ran strong on both sides of the issue. In 1862 he oversaw the roundup of some 60 suspected Union sympathizers and 40 were hung after a brief trial.
The plantation slaves had their own crude cabins and cemetery. The owner was not known to be unkind with them but was firm. This dressed stone may mark one of their graves.
These are the only known photos of the plantation home. The top one was taken as the lake was filling and just before the dismantling. They provide a clue to the size of the area of remains I am seeking.
35-44 composite photo.jpg
Now fully afoot I press through 70 years of undergrowth and before me stands one of two wells I would find. This one may have been improved later in life with the brick curb. The other is just a rock lined hole in the ground.
Bourland Well DB 3153.jpg
Next I find a pile of rubble and fire burned bricks probably from the hearths; then this more orderly pile:
Bourland Cellar DB SCV.jpg
Not sure what it is, hidden in the grass. It is too large to be the foundation piers and the porch steps were wooden, not stone. It might have been a chimney base but the dry stacked bricks and cut stones would had been easily salvaged. Why were these left behind? The were rumors of an escape tunnel leading to the river bank - might this have been the entrance or merely a cellar?
Stay tuned - I'm going to need more men, with shovels.