Bland Lake

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Promotion: Nearby Map of San Augustine County

San Augustine County is in extreme East Texas, twenty-three miles from the eastern state boundary. It is bordered by the Attoyac River on the west, Sabine County on the east, Shelby County to the north, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir to the south. San Augustine, the largest town and county seat, is just north of the county center, 31°28' north latitude and 94°08' west longitude, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 96, State highways 21 and 147, and Farm roads 711, 2213, and 353. The Timberrock Railroad enters the county from the north and bisects the county. The county comprises 524 square miles of the East Texas Timberlands region. It is covered in pines interspersed with hardwoods, particularly oaks, and some native grasses. The soil varies from light-colored sandy loams over red clay in the north to darker loam-covered clay in the south. Elevation ranges from 150 to 400 feet above mean sea level. Mineral resources include oil, gas, lignite coal, industrial sand, and ceramic clay. Between 21 and 30 percent of the soil is prime farmland. The climate is warm and moist, with annual rainfall averaging forty-eight inches. Temperatures range from an average low of 36° F in January to 94° in July. The first freeze is usually in mid-November and the last in mid-March, providing a 238-day growing season.

Some of the earliest inhabitants of San Augustine County were the Hasinai Indians, an agricultural Caddoan people with a stable society. Their tribes, particularly the Ais (or Ayish), occupied the area for centuries before the French and Spanish arrived. The first European visitors probably arrived with the Moscoso expedition early in the 1540s. Almost 150 years later they were followed by French traders based near the site of present Natchitoches, Louisiana. These adventurers found three Indian settlements-the main village near the site of present San Augustine, one just south on Ayish Bayou, and another on the Attoyac River-possibly with as many as 500 inhabitants. To counteract the French influence on local tribes and maintain their claim to the land, the Spaniards began activities in East Texas. In 1691 Domingo Terán de los Ríos traveled through the area, cutting a path that would become the Old San Antonio Road. But the threat of French invasion remained, and in 1717 Father Antonio Margil de Jesús established Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais Mission on Ayish Bayou in an attempt to secure a permanent Spanish presence on the eastern frontier. By 1719, however, the mission was abandoned because of drought, hunger, lack of supplies, and encroaching French forces. Three years later the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo, governor of Coahuila and Texas, returned and rebuilt the wooden mission in the same vicinity on Mission Hill. The mission, however, ultimately failed; the Indians refused to be organized into a pueblo around the mission compound, and they never consented to be converted or baptized. In 1773 the government ordered the abandonment of all East Texas missions, and the Spanish settlers reluctantly removed themselves. The mission was probably destroyed after they left.

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Vista K. McCroskey | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Bland Lake is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists

Yes

Place type

Bland Lake is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [Blandlake]
  • (Stop)

Location

Latitude: 31.59017900
Longitude: -94.11158410

Has Post Office

No

Is Incorporated

No

Population Count, 2009

80