Pioneers of Dallas County

JESSIE FITZGERALD TUCKER, 1870 – 1945


25 February 2018    Jim Foster

Jessie Fitzgerald, the third son of Kibby Kirby and Charles Masters Tucker, was born on November 6, 1870 at the home place on the present-day site one block west from Centerville Road on Castle Drive (near the Rowlett & Garland city limits). Centerville used to head north through Mills Cemetery, cross Highway 66 (the old […]

MILLER in BATTLE to FOUND LANCASTER


23 February 2018    Jim Foster

LANCASTER, suburban city of more than 10,000 population today, became the first major market center for southern Dallas County as the result of intense competition between two rival towns. First on the ground was Madison Moultree Miller, a former Alabama plantation overseer who came west before the Civil War with the idea of joining the […]

SEAGOVILLE ENEMY ALIEN DETENTION STATION


23 February 2018    Jim Foster

In 1940, the United States government constructed a female correctional facility in Seagoville, Texas, a small town of 700 located approximately twenty miles southeast of Dallas. In April 1942, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) appropriated the site and operated an internment camp for “enemy aliens.” Many internees, though not all, were Japanese and Germans […]

DENTON NAMED FOR FIGHTING PARSON

DENTON NAMED FOR FIGHTING PARSON


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

THE NEIGHBORING county of Denton is one of the few in Texas named for an ordained minister of the gospel. He was John B. Denton, who served for ten years as an itinerant Methodist preacher in Arkansas and Missouri before coming to Texas as a missionary in 1837. He was also a thirty-six-year-old captain of […]

MAGNOLIA’S FLYING RED HORSE

MAGNOLIA’S FLYING RED HORSE


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

When the 400-foot-tall Magnolia Petroleum building opened in 1922, it was the city’s first skyscraper – and tallest building west of the Mississippi River. With 29 floors and seven elevators, the Magnolia building towered over the nearby Adolphus Hotel, built in 1913. The Magnolia also was first high rise in the United States to have […]

FINE CITY HALL COMPLETED in 1889

FINE CITY HALL COMPLETED in 1889


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

COMPLETION of Dallas’s first high-rise city hall in June, 1889, was the occasion for widespread congratulation on the part of Dallas citizens. The building was acclaimed by the Dallas News as “a credit to a great city.” It rose majestically some four stories above its basement floor at the northwest corner of Commerce and Akard, […]

WILLIAM H. GASTON

WILLIAM H. GASTON


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

Captain William H. Gaston, Confederate soldier, banker, financier, and empire builder, designed and constructed his own Greek Revival home in 1873 on the northeast corner of Swiss Avenue and St. Joseph Street. This elegant mansion, headquarters of the 400-acre plantation that became the town of East Dallas, was demolished in 1927 to construct the Dallas […]

ST PAUL’s HOSPITAL, Dallas TX

ST PAUL’s HOSPITAL, Dallas TX


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

Back in the 1890s, the City of Dallas was growing and there was a desperate need for another hospital since City Hospital was the only health facility serving the population of 37,000. Several prominent Dallas physicians and civic leaders appealed to Catholic Bishop Edward Joseph Dunne to encourage the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent […]

BEATRICE PELTON & OSCAR MERRITT

BEATRICE PELTON & OSCAR MERRITT


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

Oscar “Runt” Merritt was born to Robert N. Jr. and Udorah Flowers Merritt at Rowlett, Texas on August 29, 1902. Robert N. Merritt, Jr. was born in York County, South Carolina on May 18, 1864 and Udorah Flowers was born in Tennessee on August 8, 1866. Oscar was the sixth of eight children and an […]

L. C. LaFON: From TENNESSEE to TEXAS

L. C. LaFON: From TENNESSEE to TEXAS


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

L. C. (Leeander Calvin) LaFon rode a horse to Texas from Tennessee, according to a family story my grandfather, Vernie Lee LaFon, related to me several years ago. That journey would have been in the early 1880s, as he married Susan Elizabeth McCoy, January 30, 1884, in Dallas County. Jonathon LaFon, my great-great-grandfather, who had […]

JOHN & BERTIE ROAN HERFURTH

JOHN & BERTIE ROAN HERFURTH


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

John Samuel ( “J. S.” or “Johnny”) Herfurth was born at Castorville, Texas on March 29, 1879. He was the son of John C. and Anna Barbara Etter Herfurth. J. S. Herfurth came to Dallas County in the 1890s searching for a place to settle. His quest was successful when he found the fertile, promising […]

THE ERVAY STREETCAR

THE ERVAY STREETCAR


22 February 2018    Jim Foster

We grew up in a big white house at 1721 Marburg Street in South Dallas. I lived there from 1928 until 1949, when I married. Four houses to the left of us were Southern Pacific Railroad tracks for freight trains and steam engines. To the right of us, there were three houses, and at that […]