General Ranald Slidell MacKenzie,
MacKenzie Trail Monument
Gibson, July 2009
The Old MacKenzie
The Old MacKenzie Trail
by "Larry" Chittendon
Stretching onward toward the sunset, o'er prairie, hill and vale,
far beyond the double mountains winds the Old MacKenzie Trail. Ah,
what thoughts and border memories does that dreaming trail suggest,
thoughts of travelers gone forever to the twilight realms of rest.
Where are now the scouts and soldiers, and those wagon trains of care,
those grim men and haggard women and the echoes whisper - where? Ah,
what tales of joy and sorrows could that silent trail relate: tales
of loss, and wrecked ambitions, tales of hope, of love, and hate:
Tales of hunger, thirst, and anguish tales of skulking Indian braves,
tales of fear, and death, and danger, tales of lonely prairie graves.
Where are now that trail's processions, winding westward sure and
slow? Lost: ah, yes, destroyed progress, gone to realms of long ago.
Nevermore shall bold MacKenzie, with his brave and dauntless band,
guide the restless, roving settlers through the Texas borderland.
Yes, that soldier's work is over, and the dim trail rests at last,
but his name and trail still lead us through the borders of the past.
The MacKenzie Trail first crossed by General Ranald Slidell MacKenzie,
4th United States Cavalry, in 1871 in quest of warring bands of Indians.
Erected by the state of Texas with funds appropriated
by Federal government to commemorate one hundred years of Texas independence.
- 1836 - 1936
"... A number of towns have claimed portions of the Mackenzie
Trail as their own, and most of them probably have a right to do so...
By 1900 railroads had obliterated much of the Mackenzie Trail and
made it mostly unnecessary. The railroads were the new trails, and
some of them followed Mackenzie's route.
The best of what's left of the Mackenzie Trail today is probably on
private property. You're near it when you're at the intersection of
U.S. 277 and Texas 6 in Stamford,
where a monument tells you the trail ran a little north of there.
The trail also ran between Dickens
so when you're on parts of U.S. Highway 82 from Dickens
you're probably following Mackenzie's path pretty closely.
Historian Ernest Wallace noted in his account of Mackenzie on the
plains that Mackenzie's trail was a highly significant contribution
to the exploration and opening of the American West..." Read