The word "road" is not used because routes varied from a simple footpath to a "highway" in the Antebellum Period. Routes were slow to develop in Vernon Parish.

To our north through Natchitoches Parish was the El Camino Real or King's Highway, which connected Natchitoches to Mexico City. To our south in St. Landry Parish was the Coshatta Beef Trail which crossed the Sabine River at Merryville on US Hwy. 190. Because of crime, Vernon Parish was to be avoided.


From 1791 to 1801 Philip Nolan made four filibuster expeditions to East Texas. There is much disagreement as to his routes. Sabine Parish claims Nolan's Trace four miles south of the El Camino Real (LA Hwy. 6) and Vernon Parish claims  Nolan's Trace (LA Hwy. 8).

The first mapped route in Vernon Parish in 1814 was a north-south route called the Opelousas Road from Opelousas to Natchitoches which skirted the east bank of the Calcasieu River. An east-west road from Alexandria crossed the Calcasieu River, but ended in the Neutral Strip.

In 1827 the Beef Trail from Opelousas to Nacogdoches crossed the Sabine River below Indian Creek in Merryville.  Even though it was not in Vernon Parish, it was the first mapped route after the Neutral Strip was added to Louisiana in 1819.

In 1842 a route from Alexandria split at Hicks Crossing and the north route went to Bevil's Crossing through Anacoco and the south route went to Burr Ferry through Huddleston. The southern route was used to move mail in 1847 to and from Burr Ferry and Huddleston.

In 1856 the first north route from Huddleston through Anacoco to Many was established.

This route became US Hwy. 171. Three years later, in 1859, a route south from Huddleston to Washington in St. Landry Parish was established.
The last route to be established in the Antebellum Period was a route from Opelousas through Bayou Chicot to New Columbia,  on the west bank of the Sabine River in Texas.