The fun of a road trip is in the getting there, therefore, a good one requires scenic roads and interesting stops. These mountains and valleys are very much as they were over a century ago, as are the historical sites and the lovingly preserved forts and town squares. Many of the names found in these historical accounts appear above the entrances of surrounding ranches as well as above the pockets of the town's merchants. The things they sell come from local workshops, kitchens and gardens.

The heart of the Cross Timbers and some of its most historical sites can be visited on a short day trip from D/FW. The shortest trip should include Jacksboro and Weatherford. Jacksboro was an important stop for the Butterfield Overland Stage and is home of the beautifully preserved Fort Richardson.


Fort Richardson

 
Weatherford has a particularly handsome courthouse and town square but most importantly, an ancient graveyard lies a few blocks northeast of the square. Goodnight's final resting place is honored by a large monument beneath the oldest and tallest oaks. About thirty paces west across the main entrance road is Bose Ikard's headstone. Lonesome Dove fans would not want to miss seeing Goodnight's inscription which, like Woodrow Call's inscription for Josh Deets, recalls his brave service in many fights against the Comanche, and ends, "Splendid behavior."

     

 Characters McMurtry invented with the exploits of Ikard, Goodnight and Loving in mind.

A longer trip can include Fort Belknap and the Palo Pinto jail museum. Hwys. 4 and 16 are particularly dramatic geographically; rock and timber walls seem to close in as they did then when the prospect of ambush was always present. You'll feel an eerie vulnerability as you rise up on the Plains and lone peaks on the horizon draw your attention just as they must have done in that dangerous time. Then, as now, a flash of light or a faint report makes the skin prickle and eyes keep vigilant attention on the horizon. Then one searched for war parties perched on distant heights, now for a rising thunderhead. Still, long after the alert, a feeling of pending, fast-closing violence lingers in the air. Visit the Ghosts of the Cross Timbers.

Though many prefer the freedom of exploring a side road or changing their destination mid-drive, I offer several recommended routes and stops as well as links to communities and points of interest through the Deadliest Frontier.

Jack/Young

Parker/Palo Pinto

Click on the above thumbnails to enlarge the maps!

The active map below and the pages that follow are intended to place the sites of the Ghosts of the Cross Timbers in historical perspective.

 

Click on sites for accounts and pictures!

Ghosts of the Cross Timbers is the hub in a series of one-day road trips including north to Fort Sill, west to Forts Griffin and Phantom Hill and south to Parker's Fort that can be combined to create a weekend or a longer vacation. I am trying to obtain the best pictures of the forts, battlesites and combatants available in an effort to better enhance the experience of those around the world who, at least for now, can only tour the frontier electronically.

Location of events are based on the information within this site or books available in the commissary. I would like to be as accurate as possible and would appreciate any corrections as well as copies of letters or pictures relevant to these events. I do not encourage anyone to cross a fenceline or walk through someone's pasture.

 

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