Eastern Texas Railroad [#1]

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Eastern Texas Railroad Company, an antebellum line, originated as the Henderson and Burkeville Railroad Company, chartered in 1852 to connect Burkeville in Newton County with Henderson in Rusk County. In 1853 the charter was changed to provide that the line run from the Gulf through Nacogdoches and Mount Enterprise. The charter was again amended in 1856, when the name was changed to the Mexican Gulf and Henderson Railroad Company. Construction began at Pine Island Bayou north of Beaumont, and 30½ miles was graded before a new company took over the project. In January 1860 the Eastern Texas Railroad was chartered to run from Sabine Pass to Henderson along the line graded by the Mexican Gulf and Henderson. Slaves were used to build the road. According to tradition a change from cornbread to wheat bread caused an epidemic among the slaves and held up the work until the crewmen could recover from their change of diet. In 1861 the line was in operation for twenty-five miles between Beaumont and Sabine Pass, and grading had been done north from Beaumont. During the Civil War the equipment was moved to Beaumont as a precaution against capture by federal troops, and in September 1863 Richard W. Dowling used some of the rails to fortify Fort Sabine. That year the Eastern Texas was abandoned. An unsuccessful effort was made to revive the project after the Civil War.

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

Anonymous, “Eastern Texas Railroad [#1],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/eastern-texas-railroad-1.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995