CAMDEN, TX (GREGG COUNTY)
CAMDEN, TEXAS (Gregg County). Camden, also known as Walling's Ferry, was on the south bank of the Sabine River, just north of the site of what is now Easton in the extreme southeastern corner of Gregg County. It was among the earliest settlements in the county. The community grew up around a Sabine ferry crossing operated by John Walling, who moved to the area during the late 1820s or early 1830s. The site was known for many years both as Walling's Ferry and as Camden. Walling's ferry operation, which was on the road between Port Caddo and Henderson County, was licensed by the Mexican government (see MEXICAN TEXAS) in the early 1830s, and Camden reportedly served as a stopping point for Sam Houston on his first trip to Texas in 1832. In 1844 the settlement was formally established as a townsite, and the same year Enoch Hays built a two-story, eight-room log tavern and hotel. A post office under the name Walling's Ferry operated there intermittently from 1847 to 1872; in 1861 its name was briefly changed to Camden. During the 1850s steamboats came up the Sabine as far as Camden. By the Civil War, however, the settlement had begun to decline. A Confederate colonel who visited the community in 1863 found it unimpressive, and shortly after the war another visitor wrote that the townspeople seemed "notably inert and melancholy." Disease-particularly malaria, which was rampant along low-lying riverbottoms-and the rise of nearby Iron Bridge eventually doomed the town. By the late 1860s most of Camden's remaining residents had moved away, and in the 1870s the town was no longer shown on maps. Camden cemetery was still in use in the 1990s.
Eugene W. McWhorter, Traditions of the Land: The History of Gregg County (Longview, Texas: Gregg County Historical Foundation, 1989).