ED W. DANIEL – Oldest White Rock Wake Area Native Recalls All Day Wagon Journey to Downtown Dallas, Texas
Dallas Daily Times Herald, March 28, 1926
White Rock, geographically, isn’t a bit nearer to Dallas than it was when the first white settlers drove their ox teams through the creek which bears its name, and decided to stake their tents on the adjacent hills. But Dallas, now, is a heap closer to White Rock.
Urban expansion, paved highways and rapid transportation have annihilated the distance that once lay between them.
Ed W. Daniel, for thirty-four years a member of the Dallas fire department, can recall when Dallas was an all-day journey from what is now White Rock lake.
“We’d hitch up at daybreak, and if we reached the courthouse by dark, we were making good time,” he relates.
Daniel claims to be the oldest living native of the White Rock neighborhood, and his father, John H. Daniel, was the first settler thereabouts. The former still resides on a wooded hilltop overlooking the pumping plant and the lake beyond, where his dad built a log cabin seventy-five years ago.
Came on Foot.
“My father came out here (Dallas TX) on foot when he was a boy, with a family from St. Joseph, Mo.,” the younger Daniel explains. “There was nothing here but woods, then; full of deer and rabbits. Why, I can remember one winter when he killed fifty deer between the house and the creek bottom where he cut timber and split rails.
On this pioneer homestead, the son grew to maturity and watched Dallas grow from a tiny village on the banks of the Trinity, to a great city, that was some day, to reach out and gobble up his cotton patch.
Where the elder Daniel once guided his plow and split fence rails, builders are erecting fine homes and laying concrete drives. What was once an all-day journey by wagon to Dallas, is now a fifteen-minute run by motor car.
Might Have Made Fortune.
“If we had known what was coming, we could have been rich,” Daniel says. “When I was nineteen years old, I could have bought sixty acres on Emil Euckert’s place for $700. This land is now in Pasadena, one of the numerous new residential sections in the district. A single lot now worth many times what he could have purchased the entire addition for.
Most of the Daniel homestead went into the making of Monticello, another exclusive residential addition. When the city of Dallas dammed White Rock creek in 1909-10, to form a water supply lake, it was the elder Daniel who showed the engineers where to build it, his son declares.
“He knew the lay of the land better than anyone in Dallas, and they finally decided to put it where he first told ’em to. But, he didn’t know how fast the city was growing out this way.”
Photo: Ed W. Daniel
Transcribed by Jim Wheat