John L. Cochran published a book in 1887 entitled Dallas County. The book was printed by Service Publishing Company in Dallas. Much of the following article has been taken from this book.

John H. Cochran, 1887In the early part of 1845, they erected the first school and church house ever built in Dallas County. This house was built on the north side of Farmers Branch and about five hundred yards west of I. B. Webb’s residence in which the first school was taught in Dallas County, in February, March and April, 1845 by Thomas C. Williams. The first church organized was a Methodist church. Its original members consisted of Issac B. Webb and wife, Nancy Jane Cochran and M. F. Fortner and wife. Methodist, Baptist, Christian and members of no church, all joined in building this church and school house, and as soon as it was completed all joined in and built a Baptist church-house near where Farmers Branch depot is now located on the M. K. & T. Railroad. A Baptist church, early in 1846, was organized there and Rev. David Myers and wife, John M. Myers, Rev. William Bowles and wife, A. W. Perry and wife, and others as original members, and Thomas Keenan and wife joining the church and were baptized in Farmers Branch some three hundred yards west of Pulliam’s home, which the Baptists used as a baptizing place for several years. There were several joined as original members; but I never saw the list of their original members and therefore am unable to give a correct list.

From the above and foregoing it is evident these early pioneers were possessed of charity and they grew and prospered. Before describing their rapid growth and prosperity, or enumerating their many successful accomplishments, I shall relate four exciting incidents that occurred while in its wild and unprotected state. The first was strictly personal to myself and will amuse the youngsters of today, but to me at the time was not amusing but furnished amusement for the other members of the family and for my young associates. The other three relate to the dangers and depredations of the Indians, all of which made a lasting impression on me.

The one personal to me, I shall relate first, at the risk of worrying my readers. We were then living in the prairie on the south side of Farmers Branch. There stood southwest of our house about one hundred yards from the house, a stately elm tree of dense foliage, which made a cool shade, under which my brothers, A. M. and William P., and I spent much time in the heat of the day. One day in August, 1844, I, after eating my dinner, repaired to this shade in advance of my brothers A. M. and William and I was enjoying the cool shade, when I heard a noise. On looking, I saw a young buffalo about forty yards distant approaching the shade at full speed. I did not take time to say good-bye but ran as fast as I could to the house, and you can rest assured I did not run any jockey race. Or reaching the house, out of breath, I told my mother what had happened. She looked and saw the buffalo enjoying the shade undisturbed. She got the gun and was preparing to shoot it, when two men, newcomers and strangers rode up, my mother pointed to the buffalo, which had discovered the men on horseback and which was running south at breakneck speed. The men immediately pursued, overtook and killed it. Buffalo are afraid of men on horseback but not much afraid of them on foot.

Photo and information courtesy Dallas County by John H. Cochran.