Colbert’s Ferry

Photo of Historical Marker Colbert's Ferry-Chickasaw Nation. "Ferry owned by B.F. Colbert, at old crossing on Red River 3 miles south, was noted on the Butterfield Overland Mail line, organized 1857; first U.S. mail route by stage between cities of St. Louis and San Francisco. Colbert post office was established here on Nov. 17, 1853, Walter D. Collins, postmaster.
Photo of Colbert’s Ferry Historical Marker

In 1853, Benjamin Franklin Colbert received permission from the Chickasaw Nation to operate a ferry where the Texas Road crossed the Red River. When the Butterfield Overland Mail began in 1858, Colbert’s Ferry became the last stage stop in the Indian Territory. Colbert maintained the road and transported the stage across the river free of charge. Travelers who stopped for a meal at his home were impressed by his hospitality and enterprise. The mail service lasted only from September 1858 until the outbreak of the Civil War. After the war, Colbert profited from increased migration to Texas and from the Texas cattle drives that used his crossing. Charges were $1 to $1.50 a wagon, 25 cents for a man on horseback and 10 cents a head for cattle and horses. On a hill above the ferry, Colbert built a mansion called Riverside. The home burned, but in the nearby cemetery an impressive granite monument reads:

B. F. Colbert

Born Dec. 18, 1826 Died March 11, 1893

Amiable and Beloved Husband Farewell

Not on this Perishing Stone

But in the Book of Life

And in the Hearts of thy Afflicted Friends

Is Thy Worth Recorded