The Sabine River continues to be of importance. From before Newton County became an independent county, the river has controlled a part of its destiny.
In the fall of 1843 the steamboat Sabine, with Capt. John Clemmons at the helm, made the first trip on the Sabine River. Being a sturdy craft, she made several trips up and down the river successfully.
“Often the steamboats were small compared to present-day standards, which ran on the East Texas Rivers were not new having been bought from the Mississippi trade where five years was the usual life of a boat. There competition was keen and the traffic rough on the boats. Transportation on the Mississippi was big business and the owners could afford the best. These secondhand boats, when kept in repair might have many good years left in them when run on smaller rivers.
About 1858, a steamboat bearing the name of Biloxi came up the Sabine from Biloxi, Mississippi, and unloaded several dozen slaves. The landing where they unloaded became known as Biloxi. For awhile it prospered. Then it became a ghost town and vanished, as many of the river towns did when the railroads came and the steamboat era ended.
The Attacapa Indians were the first to probe the backwaters and sloughs of the Sabine and the Neches-Angelina, in their swift pirogues for no one knows how long. Then exploring LaSalle and the Spaniards came, and in the year 1817 Jean Lafitte, the notorious pirate, anchored his ships in the harbor at Anahuac and made Galveston a rendezvous for his pirate crew. They then proceeded to establish a slave colony of Shackle foot far up the Sabine, a slave station at the mouth of the river, and a slave plantation on the Brazos
The romance of the Sabine River began with great effort of people to make a living.