BURR'S FERRY. The site of Burr's Ferry, also called Burr Ferry, is on State Highway 63 and the Sabine River in northeast Newton County, about eighty miles northeast of Beaumont. The ferry was located on the middle branch of the Old Beef Trail, which ran from Huntsville, Texas, to Alexandria, Louisiana. It was known as Hickman's Ferry as late as 1840. However, an early Newton County commissioners' court meeting designated the crossing Burr's Ferry, in honor of Dr. Timothy Burr, a second cousin of Aaron Burr. Dr. Burr was an early settler in the Newton County area who eventually established a plantation on the Texas side of the Sabine River. The town that grew up around the ferry in Louisiana became an important business center for pre-Civil War Newton County. After the fall of Vicksburg in 1863 the United States War Department ordered Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks to invade Texas. In anticipation of this projected Union thrust, Confederate forces threw up breastworks on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River at Burr's Ferry. They also cleared the adjoining area on the Texas side to give their artillery a better field of fire. A Union map detailing "the best route for Military Operations from Alexandria La. to Huntsville, Texas" listed Burr's Ferry as a good crossing. The bottom on the west side was "good and hard," and a road through rolling open pine woods with ample water and suitable campsites ran to Jasper. The breastworks are still standing. One Union invasion was halted at Sabine Pass, and another projected move against Niblett's Bluff was deemed impossible because of inadequate supplies.
After the war a post office on the Louisiana side served Burr's Ferry during the years 1873–1918, 1922, and 1929–33. The ferry, which eventually included a wire cable and pulley enabling it to serve automobiles, discontinued operations in 1936, when a highway bridge connecting Texas Highway 63 and Louisiana Highway 8 was completed. The town is now a suburb of Leesville, Louisiana.
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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
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, Robert Wooster, "Burr's Ferry," accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rtb02.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.