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. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Texas Brazos Trail Region

Map of Madison County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Bucareli | Madison County | Robbins' Ferry | Site of Trinidad
Uncommemorated Sites (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Clapp's Blockhouse | Trinity River Fort


Marker Title: Bucareli
City: Midway
County: Madison
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: From Midway take SH 21 about 4 mi E to marker on N side of Rd, just W of trinity bridge.
Marker Text: In this vicinity, at Paso Tomas on the Trinity, was the Spanish town Nuestra Senora del Pilar De. Bucareli (1774-1779) Indian troubles had caused Spain to move Louisiana colonists to Bexar (San Antonio). These people, however, pled to return to East Texas, and secured the consent of Viceroy Antonio Maria Bucarelo. Led by Gil Ybarbo (1729-1809), they built at the Trinity crossing a church, plaza, and wooden houses, and grew to a town of 345 people. But ill luck with crops, a few Comanche raids, and river floods sent the settlers farther east. Again led by Ybarbo, they rebuilt the old town of Nacogdoches, 1779.

Madison County

Marker Title: Madison County
Address: 901 N. May St.
City: Madisonville
County: Madison
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 901 N. May St. (SH 75) (At TX DOT Maintenance Center).
Marker Text: Formed from Grimes, Walker, and Leon counties. Created January 21, 1853 and organized April 4, 1853. Named in honor of James Madison 1751-1836, "Father of the Constitution," fourth president of the United States. County seat, Madisonville.

Robbins' Ferry

Marker Title: Robbins' Ferry
City: Midway
County: Madison
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: from Midway, take SH 21 about 4 mi. east to marker on north side of road, just west of Trinity Bridge.
Marker Text: First known as Paso Tomas (Thomas' Ford) at the crossing of the San Antonio and La Bahia roads over the Trinity. Ferry established about 1821 by Joel Leakey. Named in honor of Nathaniel Robbins who operated it many years. Acquired about 1852 by Elisha Clapp whose descendants operated it until 1930 when Clapp's Ferry Bridge was constructed.

Site of Trinidad

Marker Title: Site of Trinidad
City: Midway
County: Madison
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: from Midway, take SH 21 about 3.5 mi. east to marker on south side of road.
Marker Text: Later known as Spanish Bluff. A fort and town as early as 1805. Captured by the Magee-Gutierrez Edpedition in October, 1812. Near here the survivors of the Battle of the Medina were executed in 1813. Inhabitants of the town were butchered by order of the Spanish commander and the town desolated.

Clapp's Blockhouse
Elisha Clapp Picture
Captain Elisha Clapp
Painted by great-granddaughter, Wilfred Clapp

Captain Elisha Clapp was captain of the mounted Rangers, whose fortified home became the headquarters for his Rangers. On September 16th, 1836, he received orders from Sam Houston that read as follows:

"You will range from any point on the Brazos to Mr. Hall's Trading House on the Trinity. For your orders, I refer you to copies of those given to Captain Michael Costley of the N.W. Frontier, therewith enclosed for your information. The general principles of them you will find applicable to your command as well as to all officers employed on the frontier. You will detail eight men from your command for the service and place at the disposition of Dan Parker Esq., as the local situation of the frontier may require."

Trinity River Fort

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

Captain Clapp's rangers, in the meantime, were ordered to secure the upper crossing of the Trinity River with a new blockhouse. The fort was advantageously located on Texas's main east-west road, El Camino Real, at the Robbins' Ferry crossing of the Trinity (at present State Highway 21 on the western border of Houston County). This fort became known as the Trinity River Fort.

Join the discussion

Further reading

Recent Comments