The Texarkana and Northern Railway Company was chartered on June 18, 1885, to connect Texarkana with the Arkansas state line on the Red River in Bowie County. The capital stock was $100,000, and the principal place of business was Texarkana. Members of the first board of directors were William L. Whitaker, Ben Whitaker, B. T. Estes, William Buchanan, Anthony L. Ghio, Joe Marx, and William Behan, all of Bowie County; C. C. Gallaway of Cass County; and E. W. Taylor of Marion County. In 1885 the railroad built ten miles of track to reach Whitaker's timber holdings between Texarkana and the Red River. On July 9, 1889, it was renamed the Texarkana and Fort Smith Railway Company.