Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace

By: Howard N. Martin

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

The Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace was a trail used primarily by Coushatta Indians on trips from their village on the Sabine River to Nacogdoches, Texas. The large village was on the east bank of the Sabine River, opposite the mouth of Quicksand Creek. Dr. John Sibley, the American Indian agent in Natchitoches, Louisiana, wrote that this Coushatta village was approximately eighty miles south of Natchitoches. From the village the combined Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace and the Coushatta Trace ran northwestward across Newton County and northern Jasper County to the Kisatchie Wold, a continuous ridge from the Mississippi River floodplain to the lower Rio Grande valley in Texas. At this point the Coushatta Trace turned westward along the Kisatchie Wold, and the Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace continued in a northwest direction, traversing southern San Augustine County, crossing Attoyac Bayou north of its confluence with the Angelina River, and continuing to Nacogdoches.

An 1820 map of Louisiana and Mississippi, published by H. S. Tanner of Philadelphia, shows the route of the trail from the Coushatta village on the Sabine River to Nacogdoches. The Spanish post of Nacogdoches was an important factor in the pattern of living developed by the Coushatta and Alabama Indian tribes in the Big Thicket. Nacogdoches served as governmental administration center, military post, source of supplies and presents, and a market for deer hides, bear oil, and other items sold by the Indians near Nacogdoches. The increasing significance of Coushatta contacts with this trading and distribution center led to the development of a nearly straight trail from the Coushattas' village on the Sabine to Nacogdoches. The Spanish commandant at Nacogdoches maintained a record, the Nacogdoches Diary of Daily Events, which includes references to visits of Coushattas for various purposes.

Isaac Joslin Cox, "The Louisiana-Texas Frontier," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 10, 17 (July 1906, July, October 1913). John Sibley, A Report From Natchitoches in 1807 (New York: Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, 1922).

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

Howard N. Martin, “Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994