Sabine River (Texas-Louisiana)
Overview
 
The Sabine River is a river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

, 510 miles (820.8 km) long, in the U.S. states of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake
Sabine Lake
200px | thumb | Sabine lake as seen from outer space.Sabine Lake is a salt water estuary on the Texas-Louisiana border. The lake, some long and wide, is formed by the confluence of the Neches River and Sabine River. Through its tidal outlet long, Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some of Texas...

, an estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. The river formed part of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 international boundary during the early 19th century. The upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 forests along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the bayou
Bayou
A bayou is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river , or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to creeks that see level changes due to tides and hold brackish water which...

 country near the Gulf Coast.
Encyclopedia
The Sabine River is a river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

, 510 miles (820.8 km) long, in the U.S. states of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake
Sabine Lake
200px | thumb | Sabine lake as seen from outer space.Sabine Lake is a salt water estuary on the Texas-Louisiana border. The lake, some long and wide, is formed by the confluence of the Neches River and Sabine River. Through its tidal outlet long, Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some of Texas...

, an estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

. The river formed part of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

-Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 international boundary during the early 19th century. The upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

 country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through pine
Pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

 forests along the Texas-Louisiana border, and the bayou
Bayou
A bayou is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river , or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to creeks that see level changes due to tides and hold brackish water which...

 country near the Gulf Coast. The river drains an area of 9756 mi2, of which 7426 mi2 is in Texas and 2330 mi2 in Louisiana. It flows through an area of abundant rainfall and discharges the largest volume of any river in Texas. The name Sabine (Sp
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

: Río de Sabinas) comes from the Spanish word for cypress
Cupressaceae
The Cupressaceae or cypress family is a conifer family with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27 to 30 genera , which include the junipers and redwoods, with about 130-140 species in total. They are monoecious, subdioecious or dioecious trees and shrubs from 1-116 m tall...

, in reference to the extensive growth of such trees (here Bald cypresses) along the lower river. The river flows through an important petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

-producing region, and the lower river near the Gulf is among the most industrialized areas of the southeastern United States.

The river was often described as the dividing line between the Old South and the New Southwest.

Description

The Sabine rises in northeast Texas by the union of three branches: the Cowleech Fork, Caddo Fork, and South Fork. The Cowleech Fork rises in northwestern Hunt County
Hunt County, Texas
As of the census of 2000, there were 76,596 people, 28,742 households, and 20,521 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile . There were 32,490 housing units at an average density of 39 per square mile...

 and flows southeast for 49.2 miles (79.2 km). The Caddo Fork, shown as "Caddo Creek" on federal maps, rises in two tributary forks, the East Caddo Fork and the West Caddo Fork, in northwestern Hunt County. The South Fork rises in the southwestern corner of Hunt County and flows east for 28.3 miles (45.5 km), joining the Caddo Fork and Cowleech Fork in southeastern Hunt County. The confluence of the forks is now submerged in the Lake Tawakoni
Lake Tawakoni
Lake Tawakoni is a reservoir located approximately 53 miles east of Dallas, Texas, southeast of Greenville, Texas, and 21 miles northeast of Wills Point, Texas. It lies within three Texas counties, Hunt, Rains, and Van Zandt. It is used for water supply and recreation.The reservoir was...

 reservoir. The combined river flows southeast across northeast Texas and is joined by a fourth branch, Lake Fork Creek
Lake Fork Creek
Lake Fork Creek is a river in Hunt, Rains and Wood counties in Texas. It is a major tributary of the Sabine River, and has as its major tributaries Dry Creek, Glade Creek, Caney Creek, Little Caney Creek, Rainwater Creek, and Birch Creek....

, 70 miles (112.7 km) downstream from the reservoir.

In northeast Texas, the river flows past Mineola
Mineola, Texas
Mineola is a city in Wood County, Texas, United States. It lies at the junction of U.S. highways 69 and 80, eighty miles east of Dallas in southwestern Wood County...

, Gladewater
Gladewater, Texas
Gladewater is a city in Gregg and Upshur Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 6,228 at the 2010 census. U.S. Highway 80 traverses the city....

, Big Sandy
Big Sandy, Texas
Big Sandy is a town in Upshur County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the town's population was 1,288. A lake of the same name is cut nearly in half by U.S. Highway 80, the main thoroughfare of Big Sandy....

, and Longview
Longview, Texas
Longview is a city in Gregg and Harrison Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 80,455. Most of the city is located in Gregg County, of which it is the county seat; only a small part extends into the western part of neighboring Harrison County. It is...

, the largest city on the river, to southwest of Shreveport
Shreveport, Louisiana
Shreveport is the third largest city in Louisiana. It is the principal city of the fourth largest metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana and is the 109th-largest city in the United States....

 at the 32nd parallel north
32nd parallel north
The 32nd parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 32 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean....

, where it establishes the Texas-Louisiana boundary. It flows south, forming the state line for the remainder of its course. It is impounded 10 miles (16 km) west of Leesville
Leesville, Louisiana
Leesville is a city in and the parish seat of Vernon Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 6,753 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Fort Polk South Micropolitan Statistical Area. The city is home to the Fort Polk U.S. Army installation...

, Louisiana, to form the 70 miles (112.7 km) Toledo Bend Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir
Toledo Bend Reservoir is a reservoir on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana. The lake has an area of 185,000 acres , the largest man-made body of water in Texas, the largest in the South, and the fifth largest in the United States. The dam is capable of generating 92 megawatts of...

, with the Sabine National Forest
Sabine National Forest
Sabine National Forest is located in East Texas near the Texas-Louisiana border. The forest is administered together with the other three United States National Forests and two National Grasslands located entirely in Texas, from common offices in Lufkin, Texas. The units include Angelina, Davy...

 along its western bank. South of the reservoir it passes through the bayou
Bayou
A bayou is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river , or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to creeks that see level changes due to tides and hold brackish water which...

 country, surrounded by wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s, as well as widespread industrial areas near the Gulf Coast. Approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of Orange
Orange, Texas
Orange is a city in Orange County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 18,643. It is the county seat of Orange County, and is the easternmost city in Texas. Located on the Sabine River at the border with Louisiana, it is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur...

, Texas, it meets the Neches River
Neches River
The Neches River flows for through east Texas to its mouth on Sabine Lake near the Rainbow Bridge. Two major reservoirs, Lake Palestine and B. A. Steinhagen Reservoir are located on the Neches. Several cities are located along the Neches River Basin, including Evadale, Tyler, Lufkin, Silsbee,...

 from the west to form the 17 miles (27.4 km) and 7 miles (11.3 km) Sabine Lake
Sabine Lake
200px | thumb | Sabine lake as seen from outer space.Sabine Lake is a salt water estuary on the Texas-Louisiana border. The lake, some long and wide, is formed by the confluence of the Neches River and Sabine River. Through its tidal outlet long, Sabine Pass, Sabine Lake drains some of Texas...

, which drains through Sabine Pass
Sabine Pass
Sabine Pass is the natural outlet of Sabine Lake into the Gulf of Mexico. It borders Jefferson County, Texas, and Cameron Parish, Louisiana.Two major battles occurred here during the American Civil War, known as the First and Second Battles of Sabine Pass....

 to the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Port Arthur, Texas
Port Arthur, Texas
-Demographics:As of the 2000 census, there were 57,755 people, 21,839 households, and 14,675 families residing in the city. The population density was 696.5 people per square mile . There were 24,713 housing units at an average density of 298.0 per square mile...

, sits along the western shore of Sabine Lake.

History

Archeological evidence indicates the valley of the river was inhabited as far back as 12,000 years ago. Starting in the 8th century the Caddo
Caddo
The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northern Louisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a cohesive tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma...

 inhabited the area, building extensive mound
Mound
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically...

s. The Caddo culture flourished until the late 13th century, but remnants of the Caddo were living along the river when the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an explorers arrived in the 16th century. The river was given its name in 1716 by Domingo Ramón
Domingo Ramón
Domingo Jesús Ramón Menargues is a retired long-distance runner from Spain, known for winning the bronze medal in the men's 3000 m steeplechase event at the 1982 European Championships in Athens, Greece. He represented his native country in two Summer Olympics...

 and appeared as Río de Sabinas on a 1721 map. The river was used by French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 traders, and at various times, the river was claimed by both Spain
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 and France. After the acquisition by Spain of the French territory of Louisiana in 1763, the capital of the Spanish province of Texas was established on the east side of the river, near present-day Robeline
Robeline, Louisiana
Robeline is a village in western Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 183 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area....

, Louisiana.

The area's geography remained one of the least understood in the region, with various Spanish maps containing errors in the naming of the Sabine and Neches, and sometimes showed them flowing independently into the Gulf of Mexico. After the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1803, this indefinite nature of the boundary between the U.S. and Spain led to an agreement on November 6, 1806, negotiated by Gen. James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson
James Wilkinson was an American soldier and statesman, who was associated with several scandals and controversies. He served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, but was twice compelled to resign...

 and Lt. Col. Simón de Herrera, to establish a neutral territory on both sides of the river.

The indefinite boundary was resolved by the Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

 of 1819, which established the river as the boundary from the Gulf to the 32nd parallel. The Spanish delay in the ratification of the treaty, as well as the 1821 independence of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, re-ignited the boundary dispute. The United States claimed for a while that the names of the Sabine and Neches had been reversed, and thus claimed the treaty established the boundary at the Neches. The first American settlers began arriving in the region in the 1820s, soon outnumbering the Mexicans by 10 to 1. After the independence of the Republic of Texas
Republic of Texas
The Republic of Texas was an independent nation in North America, bordering the United States and Mexico, that existed from 1836 to 1846.Formed as a break-away republic from Mexico by the Texas Revolution, the state claimed borders that encompassed an area that included all of the present U.S...

 from Mexico in 1836, the boundary between the U.S. and Texas was firmly established at the Sabine in accordance with the Adams-Onís Treaty. The river served as the western boundary of the United States until the Texas Annexation
Texas Annexation
In 1845, United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas and admitted it to the Union as the 28th state. The U.S. thus inherited Texas's border dispute with Mexico; this quickly led to the Mexican-American War, during which the U.S. captured additional territory , extending the nation's...

 in 1845.

In the 1840s, river boats began navigating the river. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, on September 8, 1863, a small Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 force thwarted a Union
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 invasion of Texas at the Second Battle of Sabine Pass
Second Battle of Sabine Pass
The Second Battle of Sabine Pass took place on September 8, 1863, and was the result of a Union expedition into Confederate-controlled Texas during the American Civil War...

, fought at the mouth of the river.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the middle course of the river became the scene of widespread logging
Logging
Logging is the cutting, skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto trucks.In forestry, the term logging is sometimes used in a narrow sense concerning the logistics of moving wood from the stump to somewhere outside the forest, usually a sawmill or a lumber yard...

. The discovery of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 at nearby Spindletop
Spindletop
Spindletop is a salt dome oil field located in the southern portion of Beaumont, Texas in the United States. The Spindletop dome was derived from the Louann Salt evaporite layer of the Jurassic geologic period. On January 10, 1901, a well at Spindletop struck oil . The new oil field soon produced...

 led to the river basin becoming the scene of widespread oil drilling. The lower river saw the development of many oil refineries
Oil refinery
An oil refinery or petroleum refinery is an industrial process plant where crude oil is processed and refined into more useful petroleum products, such as gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt base, heating oil, kerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas...

 and chemical plants, leading to a degradation of the water quality, which in turn led to on-going efforts to restore the quality of the river.

The lower river south of Orange
Orange, Texas
Orange is a city in Orange County, Texas, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 18,643. It is the county seat of Orange County, and is the easternmost city in Texas. Located on the Sabine River at the border with Louisiana, it is part of the Beaumont–Port Arthur...

, Texas, to Sabine Lake forms part of the Intracoastal Waterway
Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals...

, carrying barge traffic.

As a young man, Captain Bill McDonald of the Texas Rangers
Texas Ranger Division
The Texas Ranger Division, commonly called the Texas Rangers, is a law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction in Texas, and is based in Austin, Texas...

 operated a small store at Brown's Bluff on the Sabine in Gregg County
Gregg County, Texas
There were 42,687 households out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.00% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.50% had...

, Texas.

In literature and music

Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale is an American author and martial-arts expert. He has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense...

, who grew up in Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, often features the river in his work.

Gerald Duff, novelist and short story writer, has set several of his works in the territory of the Sabine, including the stories "Texas Wherever You Look," "The Way a Blind Man Tracks Light," and "Redemption". His novels Graveyard Working and Coasters are centered geographically and metaphorically along the Sabine.

In Jack Kerouac
Jack Kerouac
Jean-Louis "Jack" Lebris de Kerouac was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing, covering topics such as Catholic...

's 1955 novel, On The Road, the book's narrator Sal Paradise
Sal Paradise
Salvatore “Sal” Paradise is the narrator and the protagonist in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. Sal, an Italian American youth living in New Jersey with his aunt, is an uninspired writer working on a book who follows and accompanies Dean Moriarty, a young and reckless Denver vagrant, on his...

 and other prominent character Dean Moriarty (an alias of Kerouac's friend Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

) encounter the Sabine River. It is recorded as an "evil old river," and "the mansion of the snake...we could almost hear the slither of a million copperheads." A novel in which the theme rests heavily on familiarity with the American continent, it's interesting that Kerouac labels the region as "a manuscript of the night we couldn't read."

Blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 singer Alger "Texas" Alexander wrote a song called the "Sabine River Blues".

January 2010 oil spill

Up to around 450,000 gallons (about 11,000 bls) of crude oil spilled over the Sabine River when the tanker Eagle Otome which was carrying the shipment struck two chemical-carrying barges due to loss of engine power on January 24, 2010, at 10 AM local time.

Works cited

  • Benke, Arthur C., ed., and Cushing, Colbert E., ed.; Dahm, Clifford N.; Edwards, Robert J., and Gelwick, Frances P. (2005). "Chapter 5: Gulf Coast Rivers of the Southwestern United States" in Rivers of North America. Burlington, Massachusetts: Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-088253-1.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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