CHARLES W. DARR, Rockwall Co. Pioneer

Charles William Darr, was born in 1855 at Willow Springs which is now Heath, Texas.  His parents were Dr. John and Angeline Darr.  His parents, along with other family members, traveled by ox drawn wagons from Gibson County, Tennessee.  The women and children rode in wagons, with men walking. Sister, Betty, said she also walked most of the way. They crossed the Mississippi River by raft.

H. H. Mattie (Bratcher) & C. W. Darr

H. H. Mattie (Bratcher) & C. W. Darr

Upon arrival in Rockwall County, they waited in the wagons while the Heath family vacated the log house and fifteen acres on East Bois D’arc which is know known as the East Fork of the Trinity River.

They farmed and operated a mill where they processed bois d’arc apple seeds and bois d’arc logs which were sold for house foundations and timbers for lining water wells.  The “apples” were gathered by the wagon loads, taken to mill, dried, crushed to separate pulp from seed before being washed in the Trinity River.  They were then placed in drying containers.

Charles William recalled Indians from the Indian Territory in Oklahoma raiding their farms and taking cattle, horses and other livestock.  He lived in this log house until grown, married and had a family of his own. The Heath family had buried their dead on the original home place. When the Darr’s son, Wentford, was grown, he dug up the graves, placed them all in one container and re-buried them in one grave at Willow Springs Cemetery. This was witnessed by another son, Skip Darr.

In 1870, Charles William married Cynthia J. Poer at Kaufman County. The wedding was performed by G. L. Tucker. A son, Lewis Lee “Pete” was born in November, 1871. Cynthia died in January of the following year.  She was buried at Willow Springs Cemetery. Rockwall County was formerly part of Kaufman County.

Charles William married Elizabeth Tatom, daughter of Abnor and Pamela Tatom formerly from Georgia, in 1874. They were married at home. They were called Uncle Bud and Aunt Lizzie.

In 1894, they built a new house across the road. This prairie style house had a long front porch and was separated by a “dogtrot.” They were reputable, hard working folks and contributed to the development of Heath. Charles served as Constable and Road-Land Commissioner several terms.

His family hauled bois d’arc logs to Dallas for the first paved streets; some still lie buried under the pavement of Commerce Street.

Elizabeth lived in the house until she died of apoplexy in 1917; Charles William of Bright’s disease in 1924. They are buried at Willow Springs Cemetery.
By Pat (L. M. Darr) Wallace  for Rockwall County History by Rockwall County Historical Foundation.