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Details about Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches is the oldest town in Texas. (Similarly sister city Natchitoches is the oldest town in Louisiana). Evidence of settlement on the same site dates back to 10,000 years ago. It was one of the original European settlements in the region originally populated with Adaeseños from fort Los Adaes. Nacogdoches is named for the Caddo family of Indians who once lived in the area. There is a legend that tells of an old Caddo chief who lived near the Sabine River and had twin sons. When the sons grew to manhood and were ready to become leaders of their own tribes, the father sent one brother three days eastward toward the rising sun. The other brother was sent three days toward the setting sun. The twin who settled three days toward the setting sun was Nacogdoches. The other brother, Natchitoches, settled three days to the east in Louisiana. The two brothers remained friendly and the road between the two communities was well traveled. This road became a trade route and the eastern end of El Camino Real. Nacogdoches remained a Caddo Indian settlement until 1716 when Spain established a mission here, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches. That was the first European activity in the area, but a mission was not a town - it was a church. The "town" of Nacogdoches got started after the Spaniards decided that the French were no longer a threat and that maintaining the mission was too costly. So, in 1772 they ordered all settlers in the area to move to San Antonio. Some were eager to escape the wilderness, but others had to be forced from their homes by soldiers. Old Stone FortAntonio Gil Y'Barbo, a prominent Spanish trader, emerged as the leader of the settlers, and in the spring of 1779, he led a group back to Nacogdoches. Later that summer, Nacogdoches received designation from Mexico as a pueblo, or town, thereby making it the first "town" in Texas. Y'Barbo, as lieutenant governor of the new town, established the rules and laws for local government. He laid out streets with the intersecting State Highway 21 (El Camino Real) and U.S. Highway 259 (La Calle del Norte, North Street) as the central point. On the main thoroughfare, he built a stone house for use in his trading business. The house, or Old Stone Fort as it is known today, became a gateway from the United States to the vast Texas frontier.

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