Dallas County, Texas
Cities, Towns & Communities
Addison | Balch Springs | Cedar Hill | Cockrell Hill | Coppell | Dallas - county seat | DeSoto | Duncanville | Farmers Branch | Garland | Glenn Heights | Grand Prairie | Highland Park | Hutchins | Irving | Lancaster | Mesquite | Richardson | Rowlett | Sachse | Seagoville | Sunnyvale | University Park | Wilmer
DALLAS COUNTY The first settler in Dallas County was a lone bachelor, who built a cabin near the present Dallas County courthouse in 1841. John Neely Bryan was a typical frontiersman of his times, in pushing far ahead of settlement and daring the hardships and dangers of trading with the always unpredictable Indians. But Bryan went farther than the average frontiersman—he visioned a town, which most frontiersmen shunned as a plague. In compliance with the plans of the Republic for protecting the frontier, Major Jonathan Bird of Bowie County established a Ranger post in 1840 north of the West Fork of the Trinity some twenty miles above its junction with Elm Fork. The following year some members of his company brought out their families, and a few weeks later Bryan located on the future site of Dallas. In 1842 several of the families left the Fort and settled in the present Dallas County. Captain Mabel Gilbert, as befitted a Mississippi steamboat skipper, brought his family and household goods down the winding West Fork in dugout canoes made of cotton-wood logs. John Beeman came by wagon, and his being the only team in the county, Bryan promptly borrowed it and made a trip to Preston, bringing back a stock of bright calico and blankets, sugar, coffee, tobacco, etc., to entice the trade of the Indians. His cabin had been washed away and another had to be built. Not long afterward he won the hand of pretty Margaret Beeman, and since it was two hundred miles to Nacogdoches, where a license could be procured, they were married by bond. Their tiny cabin, the nucleus of the present city of more than 300,000 people, has fortunately been preserved, and may be seen on the old courthouse grounds—now nearly a century since its logs were felled by the pioneer's axe. In 1843 Dallas became a postoffice, with Bryan as postmaster, and a "pony express" service once every two weeks from Bonham, if the weather permitted.
In 1843 the buffaloes ate John Huitt's corn crop (near the present site of Carrollton) about the time it was matured, and he moved down to Cedar Springs, where Dr. John Cole had previously located. Two or three other families—Webb, Keenan and Cochran—however, in the present Farmers Branch neighborhood, grew corn "enough to bread their families" and some to sell to newcomers. The first agency for the Peters Colony was located in this settlement, and Farmers Branch consequently got a large share of benefit from the company's early publicity. According to John H. Cochran, Dallas County pioneer and historian, the future Dallas County held less than sixty men at the end of 1843, several of whom had no families. The total population—men, women and children (and one negro)—was probably not more than 200 or 250. Immigration was rapid, however, for those times, and the first census (four years after the county was created) showed 2,943 people.
When J. P. Dumas (who was to survey the townsite of Dallas) arrived in January, 1844, the Bryan and Lundy families welcomed the new arrivals. Lundy had a barrel of whiskey and three bolts of calico in a shed room attached to his blacksmith shop, and Mrs. Dumas, having won a bet with a Mr. Lyle on a horse-race, collected the bet in calico at fifty cents a yard from Lundy's stock of three bolts. Continue Reading Dallas County History 1940 >>