Howard N. Martin

ALABAMA TRACE. The Alabama Trace was an Indian trail that extended from a point on the Old San Antonio Road about three miles west of what is now San Augustine, Texas, to the Lower Coushatta Village (Colita's Village) on the Trinity River in what is now San Jacinto County. The route of this trail is shown on Stephen F. Austin's memorandum for a map of Texas in 1827. Surveyors' passing calls in field notes for original land surveys in selected East Texas counties confirm the location of this trail, which passed through four Alabama Indian village sites in the Texas counties of Angelina, Tyler, and Polk. From the Old San Antonio Road this trail went southwest through an Alabama village on the Angelina River near the junction of this river and Attoyac Bayou, and then crossed the Neches River at the Spanish-designated "pass to the south," where Fort Terán was constructed in 1831. The next important locations on the Alabama Trace were the Cane Island Village and the Peachtree Village of the Alabamas in northwestern Tyler County, after which the trail crossed into eastern Polk County and went south along the east side of Bear Creek, passed through an abandoned Alabama village on what is now the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, went through a prominent Indian campground at the junction of Big Sandy Creek and Bear Creek, and from this point went on south to terminate at the Colita Village of the Coushatta Indians on the Trinity River. The Alabama Trace was used extensively not only by Indians but also by illegal immigrants and contraband traders who entered Spanish Texas from Louisiana on the Old San Antonio Road. They found that they could avoid Spanish military patrols operating from Nacogdoches by using out-of-the-way trails such as the Alabama Trace to bypass Nacogdoches. During the Republic of Texas period, Samuel T. Belt began operating a ferry across the Neches River at the Fort Terán site. Stagecoaches traveling from Houston to San Augustine went via Montgomery, Swartwout, Livingston, and the Fort Terán site, and then used a segment of the Alabama Trace for the remainder of the trip to San Augustine.


Ellen Marshall, Some Phases of the Establishment and Development of Roads in Texas, 1718–1845 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1934). Howard N. Martin, "Polk County Indians: Alabamas, Coushattas, Pakana Muskogees," East Texas Historical Journal 17 (1979). Stephen F. Austin's Memorandum for a Map of Texas, 1827 (S. F. Austin Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Howard N. Martin, "ALABAMA TRACE," accessed August 23, 2019,

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Modified on September 12, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox