Early Days in Fort Worth
Much of Which I saw and Part of Which I Was
B. B. Paddock
Fort Worth’s First Bank Building
This 2010 facsimile of the rare first edition is limited to 300 copies.B.B. Paddock created this work just after 1900, perhaps 1905 or 1906.It provides early Fort Worth history and is a necessity for a Fort Worthcollection.
Albert L. Peters
P.O. Box 136814
Fort Worth, TX 76136
E-Mail: [email protected]
I purpose writing a brief history of Fort Worth from the timeof its selection as a military post down to the time within the memoryof men now living, who may be interested in the struggles andsacrifices made by those who laid the foundation of the City. Ipurpose giving somewhat in detail the work of these patriotic, public-spiritedmen to whom the present citizenship of the City owe so much.
I am inspired to do this for the reason that so much credit isgiven by the uninformed to men to whom no credit is due and somuch is withheld from those who bore the burden and heat of theday in times that tried men’s souls, and to whom no sacrifice wastoo great, no demand upon their time or purse too much, if it couldbe shown that Fort Worth was to derive a benefit from the expenditureof time or money. The good that men do should live afterthem. But men should not have the credit for deeds done in the bodywhen the deeds were never performed. Obituary notices are usefulas examples to the living, but to be useful they should be true.Men should not be given credit, even though it may make pleasantreading to the families of the deceased, for things they did not doand perhaps had not the means of doing, no matter how willingthey may have been.
In the early days of this city there was among its citizenship acoterie of men, the like of which were never found in any other community.Their first and only thought was for the upbuilding of thecity. Some of these men are still living, but most of them havegone to their reward. It is greatly to be regretted that all couldnot have lived to see the culmination of their efforts and to participatein the prosperity which they helped to bring to the city.
In what follows there shall be found “nothing extenuate, noraught set down in malice.” It will be “an o’er true tale” as I saw itI do not hope that this little volume will be complete but that it mayserve as a foundation for some future historian to erect a structureas voluminous and veracious as Gibbon’s Rome or Hume and Smollett’sEngland. As far as it goes it may be regarded more authenticand reliable than Knickerbocker’s History of New York.
FIRST SETTLEMENT OF FORT WORTH.
At the close of the war with Mexico, General Winfield Scottsent a troop of the Second Dragoons in command of Major RipleyA. Arnold to North Texas to establish a post to protect the thensparsely settled territory from the forays of the Indians whichthen inhabited this section.
Major Arnold selected this as the most central point for thispurpose.
The post was first called Camp Worth in honor of BrigadierGeneral William Jennings Worth. It was established on the sixthday of June, 1849. On November 14th, 1849, the name was changedto Fort Worth, and it was abandoned on the 17th day of September,1853, and the troops stationed here were sent to Fort Belknap, abouta mile from the present site of the town of Belknap. There wasnever a fort at this point and the only buildings were the barracks atthe head of and a little west of Houston street.
The first settlement in the county of any magnitude grew upabout the military post and on its abandonment the buildings wereused as stores by those who had settled near the post. Amongthose who were in business here were Col. Abe Harris, who atthis writing still lives in the city, the late James F. Ellis and G. P.Farmer who subsequently located a farm about twelve miles southof the city.
When the soldiers left there was only a meagre country populationin the vicinity; barring a few supply trains no current of tradehad yet begun to flow through this section of Texas. There were nocattle trails; nothing permanent to arouse enthusiasm for this stragglingsettlement on the Trinity Bluff and the seed of civilizationplanted and protected during the brief military occupancy, might,on good and relative grounds, have experienced the same blight thatbefell Fort Phantom Hill and Fort Belknap.
But this nucleus of citizens, among whom, besides those named,were E. M. Daggett, C. M. Peak and John Peter Smith, whosenames later became associated with every enterprise in which thecity was interested.
The County was created by the Legislature in December, 1849,and the county seat was located at Birdville. The spirit of conquestwas rife in the veins of the early settlers and at the instance ofCapt. Daggett and others, the Legislature was induced to permit anelection to decide upon the county seat. Birdville was at that time3the larger place. Had the election been untrammeled it would haveprobably remained the seat of government for many years. Thecitizens of Birdville charged, and there seems good reason for thecharge, that the election of Fort Worth was brought about by thevotes of Sam Woody, the first settler of Wise County, and the membersof his family. Enough was shown to induce the Legislature toorder a second election. About 1855, A. J. Walker who lived a fewmiles northeast of Birdville was a member of the State Senate.He was instrumental in having a bill passed providing for anotherelection. This occurred about the year 1860. The exact date is notaccessible to the writer. By this time the population of Fort Worthhad increased to sufficient numbers to enable it to make good itsclaim as the proper place for the court house. Birdville abandonedits claim and endeavored to defeat Fort Worth by casting its votesand throwing its influence for “The center of the county” whichwould be a little nearer Birdville than Fort Worth. The vote resultedin 301 for “the center” and 548 for Fort Worth and thevexed question which has cost the lives of some and the expenditureof about $30,000 was settled for all time.
ABOUT THE INDIANS.
An effort was made in 1873 to remove all the hostile Indiansfrom Texas to the Reservation in the Indian Territory. The removalwas accomplished but it was not easy to keep them there,and there were occasional raids across the border and into the settlements.The exact date of the last foray is not accessible at this writing,but it was made as far south as Jack and Young counties, justwest of Los Valley where James C. Loving had a ranch and hisresidence. The foray was led by two Indian Chiefs, Santanta andBig Tree. They fell upon a wagon train conveying supplies toFort Griffin which stood about fourteen miles northwest of thepresent town of Albany. It was owned by Capt. Julian Feild, ofthis city, and Henry Warren, of Weatherford. The train was destroyed;the wagons burned; the mules and horses taken awayand several men killed. A wooden monument marks the place wherethe encounter took place. Troops were dispatched after the savagesand the two chiefs were captured. They were tried for murderat Jacksboro and convicted and sentenced to death, but the sentencewas commuted by Edmund J. Davis, then Governor of Texas, to confinementin the penitentiary for life. Santanta was afterwardspardoned and at last accounts was still living on the Reservationnear Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
On August 16th, 1874, another raid was made into Texas, comingas far as Veal’s station about three miles west of the present townof Springtown, where one man was killed. Two others were killed bythe same raiders on the Weatherford and Jacksboro road, about half4way between the two towns. This was the last appearance of hostileIndians in this part of the State. There were other forays on theborders of New Mexico subsequent to that time.
CREDIT TO WHOM CREDIT IS DUE.
When it comes to calling the roll of patriots who worked solong and faithfully for the upbuilding of the city one ventures upondangerous ground. The memory is at times treacherous and some ofthe best and truest are liable to be over-looked. But that their namesmay be enshrined in the hearts of the people and perpetuated bythis modest record of the time the chance will be taken. It wouldbe well to dig up the tax rolls of that day and make a copy of it, forevery man in the city with but one or two conspicuous exceptionswas ready at any and all times to spend and be spent for thegood of Fort Worth.
But there were a few who were conspicuous by their liberalitywhose names may be mentioned without any invidious distinction asto others equally worthy. The first of these are the men who donatedthree hundred and twenty acres of land lying along the southernborder of the city to the Texas & Pacific Railway Company. Thesemen were E. M. Daggett, Major K. M. VanZandt, Thos. J. Jenningsand H. G. Hendricks. They were the ones to set the pace for theirfellow citizens.
Of those who contributed of their time and money without stintmay be mentioned those whose names are recorded above, who didnot stop with this princely donation and claim that they had donetheir share; to these should be added John Peter Smith, Walter A.Huffman, B. C. Evans, Joseph H. Brown, C. M. Peak, W. H. Davis,William J. Boaz, James F. Ellis, M. G. Ellis, H. C. Holloway, J. J.Jarvis. M. B. Loyd. W. W. Dunn. W. P. Burts. E. J. Beall, GeorgeNewman, William B. Young, W. B. Tucker, Stephen Terry, JesseJones, Dr. J. F. Shelton, A. J. Chambers, B. L. Samuels, John Hanna,Porter King, W. A. Darter, Sam Seaton, Sam Evans, J. C. Terrell andothers. These are they who were here before the advent of the railroadand many of them before there was any talk of a railroad.When it was definitely settled that the road would be constructedto this city the people commenced at once to reach out after otherenterprises and it may be truthfully stated that every man, womanand child helped with time and money. Their names are enshrinedin the heart of every patriotic citizen of Fort Worth.
Among those who came to Fort Worth prior to the advent of therailroad and who remained and gave of their time and money toadvance the interests of the city to the best of their ability andwho witnessed the culmination of their desires may be mentionedThos. A. Tidball, Zane-Cetti, C. K. Fairfax, J. J. Roche, F. J. Tatum,J. S. Godwin, Jas. H. Field, Dahlman brothers, S. P. Greene, D. C.Bennett, Geo. Mulkey, S. H. Hulkey, T. C. Boulware, the Penderybrothers, P. J. Bowdry, J. Q. Sandige, J. Y. Hogsett, Jno. F. Swayne,5T. J. Peniston, D. B. Gardner, Z. E. B. Nash, I. Carb, J. M. Peers,John Nichols, Jere Marklee, J. F. Cooper, D. C. Bennett, S. T. Bibb,W. T. Maddox, and his brothers R. E., E. P., J. H. and a cousin J. M.who now resides in Jack County. There are others, but their namesdo not occur to the writer at this time.
Upon the arrival of the railroad and soon after, they came bythe carload. Among the most prominent, and who have been mostactive in the upbuilding of the city may be mentioned W. G. Turner,J. B. Burnside, A. J. Roe, Willard Burton, A. S. Dingee, J. M.Hartsfield, A. J. Anderson, J. L. Cooper, J. W. Spencer, A. E.Want, E. H. Keller, Neil P. Anderson, W. G. Newby, W. F. Sterley,C. J. Swasey. Here, again, a lapse of time and defective memorymust be the excuse for not mentioning others equally worthy.
FIRST PROMINENCE OF THE CITY.
Fort Worth first came into prominence in the year 1872. whenCol. Thomas A. Scott, who had come into the ownership and controlof the Texas & Pacific Railway,