Central National Road

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 10, 2020

The Central National Road of the Republic of Texas was planned by the Texas Congress, which, on February 5, 1844, established a five-man commission to select a right-of-way, see that it was cleared, and supervise the building of necessary bridges. The commissioners, William M. Williams, John Yeary, Rowland W. Box, Jason Wilson, and James Bradshaw, were paid for their services in land, much of which they selected along the route chosen. George W. Stell of Paris was the surveyor. The road was to begin on the bank of the Trinity River not more than fifteen miles below the bank of the Elm Fork in Dallas County and run to the south bank of the Red River in the northwest corner of Red River County, opposite the mouth of the Kiamachi River. As surveyed, the route probably started at John Neely Bryan's crossing on the Trinity River, a little north of the later site of the Dallas County Courthouse, ran east by north to the Dallas county line, crossed Rockwall County near Rockwall, and cut off the southeast corner of Collin County. It then crossed northwestern Hunt County north and west of Greenville, ran along the southeast line of Fannin County through the site of present Ladonia, proceeded northeast across Lamar County through Paris, and extended nine miles within the extreme northwest corner of Red River County along the Red River to Travis Wright's landing. This terminus, six miles above old Jonesborough, later became the site of Kiomatia; in 1844 it was the head of navigation on the Red River. To the north and east the Central National Road connected with the military road to Fort Gibson and old roads connecting the Jonesborough area with settlements in Arkansas. At its southern terminus it connected with the road opened in 1840 between Austin and Preston Bend on the Red River, in effect making an international highway between St. Louis and San Antonio. The international role that Congress may have visualized for the road was never fulfilled, however, because of population shifts that came with the westward movement of the frontier and the subsequent development of new towns and increased importance of other routes. See also NATIONAL ROAD.

Clarksville Northern Standard, March 2, 1844. J. W. Williams, "The National Road of the Republic of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 47 (January 1944).

Time Periods:
  • Republic of Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Central National Road,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/central-national-road.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 10, 2020