HISTORICAL – The San Felipe “Trail”

| September 1, 2016

The map above shows the route of the San Felipe road traveling through Katy west into Houston.

by Carol Adams

The photograph shows the actual location where the San Felipe road crossed Cane Island creek.

The San Felipe “Trail” was a rough dirt road from Harrisburg to San Felipe. It was cleared in 1830, and allowed cotton and other crops to be brought from Stephen F. Austin’s colony to the new port at Harrisburg (later Houston) to be exported. The road was also used by early settlers and commercial stage coach lines. It was extremely important in regional history.

It was also important in Katy history. Our earliest historians shared stories about the road that were passed down through generations. Some of them were true. John Buttery was a driver for the stagecoach who settled in Katy in the late 1800s. He recalled the lack of trees in the area and abundance of Prairie Chickens. (True) There are stories about an Inn on the road in Katy, where the dishonest owner was killed by patrons. (Mostly untrue) There is also a story about Santa Anna marching his army through Katy. (Untrue)

But the road did run through Katy, and many have speculated that it followed the route of what is now SH90 or 5th Street. In 1955, Leroy Wilkinson wrote what he was told about the route: “From Pattison the stagecoach came by Will Sterling’s across to Henry Wilpitz’ home to the point where the gas plant is now located on to where the Katy Cemetery is now located-straight east to Franz Road, striking the Hempstead Road some two miles above Eureka at brick house gully.”

After years of speculation about where exactly it was, we now know the route. In 2010, Dan M. Worrall reviewed State, County and Houston archives and early settler recollections to chart the road. Aerial photographs from the mid-1900s also show the overgrown and forgotten remnants of the old San Felipe road.

Knowing the regional importance of the San Felipe road and the proven facts of its true route are a wonderful affirmation of Katy’s role in the history of Texas.

Carol Adams is the author of HISTORIC KATY: An Illustrated History

The map above shows the route of the San Felipe road traveling through Katy west into Houston.

The map above shows the route of the San Felipe road traveling through Katy west into Houston.

sponsored-by-Artisan-Center-by-Carol-Adams

 

 


Category: Katy Texas History

Comments are closed.