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The King's Highway

The Camino Real/King's Highway stretched some 1,000 miles from Saltillo, Mexico to Louisiana. Utilizing Indian and buffalo trails, Domingo Teran de los Rios laid out the portion known as the "Trail of the Padres" in 1691, thereby joining Monclova, then capital of the province, to the Spanish missions of east Texas. The Texas Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution chose to support a resurvey and marking of the trail, providing substantial financial support. In 1915 the Texas legislature appropriated $5,000 to survey and mark the route. V.N. Zivley was commissioned to make the survey. The road was verified and resurveyed based on extant Spanish land grants and other documents. In 1918, granite markers were placed every five miles along the Texas section of the road. Ultimately, the project cost the Society $10,544.00, and the Texas government, $8,000.00. The railroads contributed by transporting the granite monuments at one-half the standard portage rates.

The Zivley manuscript volume, containing 114 sheets is endorsed: "I certify that this trail has been marked by granite boulders, inspected & dedicated, March Second, 1920", by Mrs. Lipscomb Norvell, State Chairman Old Trails Committee, Daughters of the American Revolution.

Excerpt from V.N. Zivley's "Preface":

In East Texas, that is from the initial point to the crossing of the Colorado River at Bastrop, the King's Highway, while in many places has been abandoned and entirely obliterated, was very definitely located by the Field Notes of land surveys made in the early years of the last century. These surveys were either bounded on one side by the old road, or if they crossed it the course and distance from the nearest corner to said crossing was in most instances stated, so that the relocation of the road in that part of the State was only a question of time and labor. From Bastrop to San Antonio there was little to guide me except tradition and the remaining evidence of the road to be found on the ground. From San Antonio to the Rio Grande or vice verse from the Rio Grande to San Antonio, about the only guide I had was the afore mentioned Diary of Morfi, a very learned and observant Spanish Priest who traveled the King's Highway in December 1778 form Presidio Rio Grand to the old Missions at San Antonio, and to that old Padre, though I am a Protestant of the most ultra blue stocking type, I want to doff my hat, as the most accurate artist in words of a country traversed that I have ever met -- in books. Every place he mentioned, every object of interest, I found just as described by him in that brief Diary. His only inaccuracy was in the distance stated between given points, invariably the distance given by him was greater than that given by the steel tape. But I picture him as a scholarly devout man of fragile physique and wearied as he was by the days travel "y muchas inflexiones inuteiles" how natural for him to overestimate distance.

Page last modified: December 5, 2017