Friends of Northeast Texas Archaeology




Caddo Creek is a generally eastward-flowing tributary of the Neches River that originates in Henderson County in East Texas. The creek flows ca. 30 km to its confluence with the Neches River, just south of the A. C. Saunders site (41AN19), one of the more important ancestral Caddo mound centers in this part of East Texas.

Caddo Creek flows from west to east across the eastern edge of the Post Oak Savannah and into the Pineywoods physiographic regions of East Texas (see Figure 1b; see also Diggs et al. 2006). The Pineywoods cover large parts of East Texas, have medium-tall to tall broadleaf deciduous forests in more mesic habitats, and shortleaf and loblolly pines are common on upland fine sandy loam soils with adequate moisture. Small areas of tall grass prairie may be present in both communities throughout the region, and this may be particularly the case in more xeric sandy lands. The “Redlands” around Nacogdoches are often mentioned, but prairies were also found elsewhere in East Texas (Diggs et al. 2006:82). Fray Francisco Hidalgo noted in 1710 that, “The whole country, as far as it has been examined, is wooded. It contains many small open spaces, and stretches of sand and marshes where the Indians live.” Bottomland communities along the major river and creek drainages, such as the Neches River, Caddo Creek, and Walnut Creek, contain a diverse hardwood and swamp forest (including cypress, tupelo, and sweet gum), with natural levees and alluvial terraces, point bar deposits, old stream channels, oxbow lakes, and backwater swamps. A less diverse bottomland hardwood community is present along the smaller creeks and their tributaries.

The Post Oak Savannah is a narrow southwest-northeast trending woodland that marks an ecotone between the more xeric Blackland Prairie to the west and south (Diggs et al. 2006:Figure 2) and the more mesic Pineywoods to the east. The woodlands in the Post Oak Savannah consist of broadleaf deciduous forests, primarily including several species of oak as well as hickory and pecan. Small areas of tall grass prairie were present in this physiographic province that ran from the Colorado River on the west to near the Trinity River on the east. Bottomland communities along the rivers and major tributaries in the Post Oak Savannah had a diverse hardwood and/or swamp forest, including cypress, sweet gum, and other hardwoods that tolerant periodic flood waters, on natural levees and alluvial terraces, point bar deposits, old stream channels and oxbow lakes.

An 1840 Texas General Land Office map shows a “Comanche Indian Trail” extending along the Caddo Creek valley, which likely coincides with the “grand hunting Trace of the Caddos and Kickapoos” recorded in 1854 property records in the Henderson County Clerk’s office. Goodmaster also notes that this area is “purported to be the location if a Caddo encampment raided by General Thomas J. Rusk in 1839 during the final stages of Native American removal from the Republic of Texas.”

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