International Boundary Marker
The International Boundary Marker was placed at its current site in 1841, after an arduous journey up the Sabine River, passing through Logan’s Ferry onto its resting place. It was the first land marker placed by the engineers, as they shot the line northward from the Sabine River as it veered off the line westward. The Sabine River was officially established as the boundary between the United States and Spanish Mexico by the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. Twenty years and a revolution later, the demarcation of that line between Louisiana and Texas was completed. A convention of the two governments, held in Washington, D.C., appointed a joint commission to represent the two nations in establishing the official boundary line in the center of the Sabine River.
After the line was marked, the United States and the Republic of Texas began the task to clear out bands of outlaws who had taken advantage of the lack of jurisdiction in the Neutral Ground on either side of the Sabine. These outlaws had made frontier life hard for settlers of the area, robbing and killing, then taking refuge in the Neutral Ground. The neutral ground became known as “No Man’s Land”, in the Piney Woods region along the borders of the Sabine River and the Town of Logansport, Louisiana.
The International Boundary Marker is a relic from the days when Logansport, Louisiana, was the western edge of the American southwest. During the Bicentennial year of 1976, a three-acre park was dedicated around the marker. At the dedication, the DeSoto Historical Society unveiled a bronze plaque near the park gate, stating the significance of the granite marker. To check vandalism, the Society also erected a fence round the park. The International Boundary Marker, just north of Logansport, is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. That distinction was conferred on April 13, 1977, after years of effort by the DeSoto Parish Historical Society of DeSoto Parish.
Late in 1979, the American Society of Civil Engineers also recognized the International Boundary Marker as an historic civil engineering landmark. A copy of the Journal of the Joint Commission, with photos of the marker, was used to present the request to the Louisiana Chapter of the Society of Civil Engineers. This Journal makes interesting reading for the curious. Written by representatives of the two governments who placed the boundary marker between the United States and the Republic of Texas, it records the daily events from inception at the mouth of the Sabine River. It describes in detail changing terrain on the banks, the trees and wildlife observed by the crew. The journal was placed in the Congressional Record by a Louisiana representative who attended the dedication of the DeSoto Historical Society’s bronze marker in 1976. It has also been printed in the DeSoto Plume and is available to anyone interested in reading the account of the expedition.
Other granite boundary markers had been placed regularly along the line between the turn of the Sabine River and the bend of the Red River as it entered Arkansas. All markers set along that line have long since disappeared, except the one near Logansport, Louisiana. This is the only known International Boundary Marker existing within the United States.
International Boundary Marker and its Beginning
France and Spain began disputing their New World International Boundary which included the area along and beyond the Sabine River; each nation claimed what is now Texas, in the early 1700’s. When the U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803, the boundary was still in dispute. Leaders agreed to a neutral area, between the Arroyo Hondo and the Sabine River, and the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty formally defined the border. When Texas became a republic in 1836, it appointed a joint commission with the U.S. to survey and mark the established boundary from the Gulf of Mexico up the Sabine River an on to the Red River. John Forsyth represented the U.S., and Memuncan Hunt represented Texas in the work. The task to mark and establish the boundary proved to be long and difficult.
The survey crew began the demarcation process on May 20th, 1840 at the Gulf of Mexico, placing a 36-foot pole in the middle of a large earthen mound there. Proceeding north, they placed eight-foot posts denoting the number of miles from the 32nd parallel. The survey crew probably passed through and possibly even stopped at the Logan’s Ferry site for needed supplies, on their expedition up the Sabine River. Upon reaching the 32nd parallel, they placed a granite marker on the west bank of the Sabine River, thus the site near Logansport, Louisiana came into existence. From that point, they traveled due north to the Red River, completing their wok in late June 1841.
As a result of erosion, the first granite marker on the Sabine fell into the river long ago, but a second granite marker on the northward path of the surveyors replaced it to mark the North-South Meridian. This is the only known marker to remain, and it is believed to be the only original International Boundary within the contiguous U.S. Today, the border between Texas and Louisiana follows the Sabine River to the 32nd Parallel, where it connects to the boundary established by Hunt and Forsyth. The Texas Historical Foundation purchased this site to provide public access to the early boundary marker.
From Shelby Co. and southern Panola Co., Tx. And DeSoto Parish, La:
- Take U.S. Hwy 84 to Logansport, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana.
- On the north side of U.S. Hwy. 84 in Logansport, take La. State Hwy. 764 north, approximately 3 miles, to
the “Y” intersection with La. State Hwy. 765.
- At the “Y”, take La. Hwy. 765 to the left, or northwest, approximately 2 miles, to the Louisiana/Texas
- The roadside area where the boundary marker is located will be on the right, or north side of the