BY WILSON WHITE FORT LANCASTER In the days of westward expansion, during the early and mid 1800s, there were several main routes crossing he American West. To thenorth, the Oregon Trail lead to the settlement of the Pacific North West. Towards the center of the continent ran the Santa Fe Trail. To the far south the El Paso / San Antonio Road served as the main overland route to California.At the end of the Mexican- American War in 1848, along with the discovery of gold in California, numerous people were drawn out west. Travel- ing through what would be- come Crockett County along the Lower El Paso / San Anto- nio Road, these travelers included California bound gold seekers (the 49ers), western settlers, the U.S. mail line and the stagecoach service. West Texas, during the time of the 1850s – 1870s still had Native Americans living throughout the region and Fort Lancaster was established to protect he road and travelers.