(Sabine County, Texas)

Pioneer Trade Day is held on the last Saturday in October, and there is no reason not to mark your calendar for an incredible trip though Sabine County History now. Hosted by the Sabine County Historical Commission the day spotlights many of the unique features in Sabine County, such as the "red hills and greenest forest" early Texas settlers had ever seen. 

But the main event will be on the Gaines Oliphint-House, the oldest thatch house in Texas, with a rich Texas history.

The story is of American's traveling south when Texas really was another country, and Sabine County was the point of access. 

The Gaines-Oliphint House is estimated Circa 1818, and has been cared for by the James Frederick Gohmert Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas over the years. This group of ladies lovingly worked to preserve, restore and maintain a very unique piece of Texas History right here in the pineywoods of East Texas.

"The Gaines-Oliphint House is one of the earliest Pre-Republic, Anglo-American structures in Texas and the only surviving structure of the early settlement of Pendleton/Gaines Ferry," local Historian Weldon McDaniel said.

Located on a large plantation when it was built, owned by James Taylor Gaines. The ferry-tavern enterprise lay on the bank of the Sabine River, a critical thoroughfare for early settlers South along the El Camino Real, (King's Highway). The modern Highway 21. The historic route has been traced to a Spanish Trial that dates back to 1669, and called the El Camino Los de Tejas. The historic path through Sabine County has been designated a Historic National Trial.

"Sabine County was one of the original 23 counties in the newly founded Republic of Texas and I might add the only one that the boundaries have not been changed," Weldon McDaniel said.

The Pendleton Crossing, at the Pendleton Bridge is one of the locations where about 80 percent of all early pioneers got mud on their boots first right here in Sabine County, as they came into Texas.

"The crossing was still well used as an entrance into Texas as late as the 1900s, especially after the Civil War when a big influx of pioneers came from southeast states," McDaniel said.

James Taylor Gaines was born in Virginia, he married Isabella Christian in Tennessee and had one child. 

In 1803 Gaines and his cousin Lt. Edmond Pendleton Gaines, traveled south to Nachitoches, Louisiana. Thomas Jefferson assigned Gaines the duty of surveying the waterways along the Natchez Trace, which includes several rivers, after the Louisiana Purchase was signed. 

In 1812, Gaines began operating the ferry at Pendleton.

Records also show Gaines served in the war of 1812 and by 1813 Gaines was living in Texas and is part of several skirmishes where different groups tried to wrestle Texas from Spain.

By 1815 James Gaines purchased the ferry and builds the Gaines Ferring House. "This house was identical to the Gaines-Oliphint House and was located down on the banks of the Sabine River," McDaniel said.

In 1818, the Gaines Oliphint House was built up on top of the hill, where it still stands tall today. 

Remember, the Republic of Texas did not declare independence from Spain until March 2, 1836. James Taylor Gaines signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.

If you have not seen or learned the history of this amazing structure preserved right here in Sabine County you have missed an amazing journey of early Texas.  The funds raised with this event helps support the upkeep of this Historic one-of-kind piece of Texas History.

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