Early 19th Century trade routes across the Sabine River were few, and served all travelers and traders. The Beef Road, which replaced earlier "Zavala Road", was an important route by 1840, crossing this area. Named for cattle trade, it began in Huntsville and Liberty regions, and ran through Zavala, Jasper, and into present Newton County, where it forked near this site, forming three routes. The northern fork, to Natchitoches, crossed the Sabine at Bevil's Ferry (later Haddon's); The middle route, to Alexandria, led to Hickman's Ferry (later Burr's); The southern branch, to Opelousas, crossed at New Columbia. The cattle were corralled at night in "beef pens", located at points along the trails, including Week's Chapel and Toledo.
During the Civil War, the Beef Road was an important supply artery to the Confederate States, until the Federal Army gained control of the Mississippi River in July 1863. This halted the eastern cattle drives. Sabine River crossings were fortified against attack, as the roads would be a necessity for an invading force, but he expected invasion never came.
Railroad expansion into Kansas, in the late 1860s, diverted the cattle drives to the north, and led to decline of Beef Road as a major cattle trade route.