Site of Musick’s Trading House (13.5 miles east of U.S. 67 (Mandeville) on AR 296 to Hervey, 1.2 miles east on CR 379, 0.8 miles west, across First Old River Lake, on Local Road to end)
Approximately 500 yards northwest of this spot was the site of Musick’s Trading House. South of the Great Bend of the Red River “were such worthies as Robert B. Musick—”Old Bob,” he was afterward called—who, having gone quite native, was content to bury a fine intellect in an Indian camp, solacing himself with whiskey and the embraces of a Delaware squaw; William Berry, of whom nothing good or bad has survived; and Morris May, who was represented by as reputable a person as Stephen F. Austin as being too closely connected with the traffic in stolen horses for his subsequent good name.”[i]
Robert B. Musick served as magistrate of the township of Ozan in 1828. Musick was appointed Overseer of the Camden and Washington Road from Martin Parmer’s to the town of Washington. From this court action in 1828 it appears that a pre-existing road, perhaps John Johnson’s road, and a newer road to the Musick place were being connected together as the Ecore Fabre to Washington Road and were being placed under the care of the persons who lived near them in the sparsely populated country. Robert B. Musick had no land patents in this early period. On November 7th, 1828, Musick and his wife sold the West half of the Southwest Quarter of Section 33 of Township 11 South Range 24 West to Hardin Wilson. The deed was recorded on August 8th, 1829, in Deed Book B, page 311. This 80-acre tract sold for $400, suggesting by its price that a house and other substantial improvements were on the property. This tract which probably contained Musick’s house north of Hope, just to the east of present-day Hempstead County Road 217, now a paved road that has been in use for many years. Hempstead County Road 46, a gravel and dirt road, veers off of 217 and continues on into Washington on the northeast corner of Washington Corporation. It is marked in places by deep embankments and could well be part of the old Camden to Washington Road.[ii]
In 1829, Musick purchased the north half of the Peter Ellis Bean League of land six miles west of Alto in Cherokee County, Texas. Robert died in 1830 and his wife Martha and their five children moved to the Texas land in 1835.[iii]
The Arkansas Territory Superior Court Records of 1835 mention Robert B. Musick as a defendant in a lawsuit in 1829 in Hempstead County:
“On the 24th day of January, 1829, Wilson, the plaintiff in error, recovered a judgment against Robert B. Musick, for the sum of eighty-three dollars debt, and five dollars and sixty cents damages, and the costs of the suit, and on the same day, Eads, the defendant in error, appeared before the justice and acknowledged himself jointly bound with Musick for the stay of execution. On the 24th of July, the stay of execution having expired, Wilson caused execution to be issued against Musick and delivered it to the proper officer, who made return thereon, on the 19th day of August, 1829, in the following words: “No goods or chattels are found in my township to levy on, nor is the body of the defendant Robert B. Musick.”
[i] Strickland, Rex W.; Miller County, Arkansas Territory, The Frontier that Men Forgot—Chronicles of Oklahoma; Oklahoma Historical Society; Vol. 18, No. 1, Pg. 16; http://digital.library.okstate.edu/Chronicles/v018/v018p012.html
[ii] Arkansas Properties on the National Register of Historic Places: Camden to Washington Road — Rosston Segment, Nevada County; Arkansas Historic Preservation Program; http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/blog/arkansas-properties-on-the-national-register-of-historic-places-camden-to-washington-road-rosston-se; January 28th, 2015.
[iii] Cherokee County Historical Commission (Tex.). Cherokee County History, Book, 2001; (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth354360/ : accessed December 06, 2015), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Cherokee County Historical Commission, Rusk, Texas.