Pioneers of Dallas County


9 July 2018

THE STATE FAIR of Texas, at eighty-six years of age (1977 article), the largest and most successful in any of the fifty states, had a far from tranquil start. Ex­tending over a period of months, the issue of where to launch the fair split the business element wide open. Since neither side would give in, […]


9 July 2018

Wesley Fletcher Curtis and his wife, Elizabeth Pearl, arrived with some of their family in Dallas County in 1873. As indicated by a deed, they purchased two-and-one-half acres in the Lagow Survey in east Dallas and built a house. Two years later they moved to the area now in north Mesquite where they settled first on the […]


8 July 2018

According to Beatrice Pelton Merritt, it was sometime around 1922 when the old Liberty Schoolhouse (northeast of Rowlett) and the Elm Grove Schoolhouse were closed.  These schools were merged and the principal of the new Liberty Grove School would be Professor J. K. Wells. This new modern school had four rooms for grades one thru […]


7 July 2018

Elizabeth Jane Routh was born near Knoxville, Tennessee in 1828.  She married 25 October 1850 to James Thomas born 1822 in Tennessee. One year after their marriage, she accompanied her brothers Jacob and Joseph Routh, her mother, and an orphaned niece, Rachel Elizabeth Mann, to Texas, leaving Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee on October 2, 1851, […]

BEN LONG, Former Mayor Assassinated

5 July 2018

MAYOR BEN LONG’S second term at the city hall, which opened in November, 1872, was faced with an alarming number of urgent urban problems. Dallas was at a turning point in its development. The new board of aldermen—the first to be elected rather than appointed since 1861—not only faced but sought to solve those problems […]

PAT GARRET, Famous Lancaster Lawman

5 July 2018

AMONG DALLAS COUNTY communities better known for their peaceful ways and well-ordered society is Lancaster, long a model of law and order. In the earliest days of its settlement, though, life in Lancaster was fairly rough and tumble. The open saloon—six of them, as a matter of fact—held sway there until well toward the end […]


1 July 2018

The unofficial Mayor and First Lady of Rowlett would have been celebrating their 95th birthdays this week had they remained with us. But, Vernon Schrade passed to his reward on December 12, 2015 and Lorene followed on August 16, 2016. They were married for 69 years. Vernon was the son of Gottlob and Martha Bryant […]


1 July 2018

John Vest Folsom was born in Coryell County on November 11, 1898 to Agnes Ann Traller and Samuel Christopher Folsom. Samuel, the son of Nancy Cobb and Elias Folsom, was born in Georgia in 1857. Agnes, the daughter of Sara Steven-son and Joseph H. Traller, was born in Gatesville on July 5, 1869. Her father […]

JAMES P. GOODNIGHT, Lisbon Pioneer

28 June 2018

James Paris Goodnight (1831-1885) and Mary Ann Hill (1835-1900) were married on September 21, 1854 in Franklin, Kentucky. Early in October, 1854, they left for Dallas County, Texas. They traveled for six weeks with a party of several families, using horse-drawn wagons to transport themselves and their household goods. They settled on a farm in […]

John Mayrant SMITH Flees 1900 Hurricane

28 June 2018

Major (Confederate Army) John Mayrant Smith was born May 31, 1842. He and his wife, Mary Terry Smith, moved to Dallas from Galveston shortly after the hurricane there in 1900. His wife was the daughter of Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry, 8th Texas Cavalry of Terry’s Texas Rangers. His statue (on horseback) is on the State Capitol […]

SARAH HORTON Writes About Ole Virginia

27 June 2018

Dearest, sister Jane, This country is unbelievable! You cannot imagine the weather. Last weekend we had ice and a bit of sleet.Today the temperature feels like early summer. I am not even wearing a coat as I begin this epistle. I look out over the countryside and see a few patches of green. This morning […]

CALLOWAY PATRICK, Community Founder

26 June 2018

The roots of the Patrick Community in southeastern Dallas County reach back to Ireland. Isaac Patrick and his wife came from Ireland and parented John Patrick. John married Elizabeth Calloway and had a son named Alexander, November 14, 1794, in Virginia. Alexander moved to Madison County, Kentucky, and married Catherine White in 1818. From their […]

JAMES M. PARKER Named Pleasant Valley

20 June 2018

James M. Parker was born October 1, 1801 in Shelby County, Kentucky. He came to Pleasant Valley (now part of Sachse, TX) in the early 1850’s and settled on a farm that consisted of wild prairie grass so thick that it would take a double yoke of oxen just to break it open. James had […]


18 June 2018

THERE IS SOME QUESTION whether Dallas County’s red stone courthouse belongs to the story of local government or to the history of warfare between divergent tastes as to what constitutes good architecture in a public building. If the old building itself could speak, it would undoubtedly say that the first seventy-five years are the hardest. […]


15 June 2018

GEORGE M DILLEY, a highly successful railroad-building contractor who had a major part in the expansion of rail lines in Texas in the final quarter of the last century, moved to Dallas from Huntsville in the late 1880s and enjoyed a certain instant fame from almost the moment of his arrival on the local scene. […]

GEN. E. TARRANT, Headed Republic Soldiers

13 June 2018

The first white settlers in Dallas County owed a great deal to Gen. Edward H. Tarrant, as did those who settled some thirty miles to the west in the county that was named for the general. It was on May 24, 1841, that Tarrant headed a company of seventy Republic of Texas soldiers who expelled […]

T. L. MARSALIS Creates Oak Cliff

13 June 2018

THE CONTINUOUS need for homes to house the growing population made the opening of new real estate “additions” familiar to the town from the days of John Neely Bryan himself. In 1852, three years before Dallas was incorporated, William Caruth bought the land north of Bryan’s tract — bounded today by Ross Avenue, Lamar, McKinney […]

CHARLES W. DARR, Rockwall Co. Pioneer

11 June 2018

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 […]

POYDRAS Street’s Name Honors Louisianian

11 June 2018

POYDRAS STREET, for many years a chief north-south axis running one block east of and parallel to Lamar Street in downtown Dallas, is ap­propriately named for one of the most noted mercantile, poetic, and political figures in the province, then state, of Louisiana. Just how the name of this Frenchman was even thought of is […]

G. N. ALDREDGE Addresses Trinity River Crowd

9 June 2018

After a half dozen railroads bringing their trains into Dallas began to be a familiar story, its citizens grew more and more con­scious of the great advantage Houston was having in its lower charges on every ton of freight because of the river water rates there, and once more there began to be heard agitation […]