It was unusual that a black cotton farmer located in Dallas County, Texas during the late 1800s and early 1900s could be a successful cotton farmer, a member of the Masonic Order and have a street named in his honor.Taylor A. Tarpley was born in Dallas County, Texas in 1865. His father, Andrew Tarpley was from Missouri and his mother, Ann Turner was from Greenfield, Missouri. Mr. Tarpley’s death certificate states that he died on October 19, 1938 which was a minor miracle since Dallas Hospital were not accepting “colored” patients back during this time. St. Paul’s was the first Dallas hospital that allowed black physicians to practice medicine in a public facility.
Taylor Tarpley married Mary J. Turner (1866-1937) and they bought 108 acres at Addison, Texas which was roughly bounded by Marsh Lane, Keller Springs Road and Tarpley Road. With help from the entire family, he became a successful farmer and was recognized as one of the biggest cotton farmers in the Addison, Farmers Branch and Webb Chapel area.
According to their headstone, he was a member of the Masonic Lodge and she was a member of the Order of Eastern Star. They are buried at White Rock Garden of Memories in Addison, Texas. The original one acre cemetery was separate and known as the Scott Family Cemetery. In 1898, an additional one acre was
purchased & became known as the White Rock Colored Union Cemetery.
Later established as White Rock Garden of Memories Cemetery, 1978.
It is also of interest that following three children are buried in this little one acre cemetery: Laura Ann Tarpley Patterson,,Flemmie Tarpley Gray and Edgar Taylor Tarpley.
The Tarpley Family Photo:
Top row, left to right: Mamie, Laura, James Franklin, Willie May, Zollie Scott, Pearl, and Flemmie. Seated, left to right: John A., standing on his left, Tennyson (Mamie’s son), Vassie Leroy, Andrew Taylor, Mary Jane holding one month old Edgar Taylor, Harrie Lillian, and DeArville.
Courtesy City of Addison, Texas and Find A Grave.