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Bridgeport/Decatur-Southern Wise County

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. Please consider reading our editorial policy to understand how and why we publish the resources we do.

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Wise County, Texas

The map above shows 114 (green) heading northwest from D/FW to Bridgeport.

Follow 114 (green-dotted route) and continue west from Bridgeport on 380 (the old Butterfield Stage Route) taking the Earhart Station Leg towards Jacksboro.

More Stories and Information on Fort Tours Road Trips

Decatur boasts the Waggoner Mansion (El Castile) and a stunning pink granite court house surrounded by a nice selection of restaurants and antique shops.

Wise County Historical Markers

Wise County Court House Picture
Wise County Court House

Waggoner Mansion Picture
Waggoner Mansion

North Texas Ranger headquarters were located in Decatur. A.J. Sowell's first-hand account of his troops scout to Camp Colorado provides a vivid description of the post Civil War frontier.

Picture of Captain R. B. Marcy

Thanks to the discovery of gold in California, Fort Worth was an obsolete sentinel on the frontier almost before construction was finished. An army detachment under Captain R.B. Marcy (pictured left) escorted the first large wagon train of goldseekers from Fort Smith, Arkansas through the Rockies on the Santa Fe Trail. Marcy's return route entered Texas through El Paso, skirting the western side of the Hill Country and Cross Timbers and entering Indian territory north of Dallas at Fort Preston on the Red. His return route, referred to as the Southern Route, California or Marcy's Trail, was warmer, less mountainous and popular with gold and adventure seekers. By the summer of 1851, a new line of forts stood to protect the western bound traffic.

Map of Northwest Texas and the Rolling Plains 1861
Map from the book, Blood & Treasure, by Donald S. Frazier

Butterfield's Stages began transporting mail and passengers between the Mississippi and the Pacific, utilizing much of Marcy's Trail. Nervous westbound riders may have noticed Butterfield's fine horses were replaced by mules during the Fort Belknap stop. The driver, if asked, explained it was safer to lose a little speed than to risk driving such attractive prizes into Comancheria.

Continue west on 114 past Earhart Station to Fort Richardson.

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