Dallas, Texas

First Dallas County Pioneer Association Meeting

From: History of Dallas County Texas, 1837 to 1887 by John Henry Brown.

The Dallas County Pioneer Association was formed in the court house July 13th, 1875,
organization of the county. For temporary organization, Wade H. Witt was president, Isaac
president, and Martin V. Cole secretary. A constitution was adopted and 115 members enrolled. For the first year John C. McCoy was elected president; Isaac B. Webb, William. II. Herd, Mrs. Elizabeth B. Durgin and Mrs. Nancy J. Cochran (now dead), vice presidents; Edward C. Browder (now dead), secretary; John W. Smith, treasurer; Elder Amon McCommas (now dead), chaplain; executive committee, John M. Crockett, John II. Cochran, Mrs. Elizabeth B. Durgin, Mrs. Martha Beemam, Mrs. Fanny Laws (now dead), Mrs. Thomas Ellis, William B. Elam and R. Alex. Rawlins. John Henry Brown, though not a pioneer of the county, was elected a member of the Association, on account of long residence in the State.

The next meeting was held at Shady View Park, Dallas, on July 12, 1884. The officers elected were John C. McCoy, president; Wm. H. Hord, R. Alex. Rawlins, Mrs. Emily Beeman and Mrs. Elizabeth B. Durgin, vice presidents; John H. Cole, treasurer; Zach. Ellis Coombes, secretary; executive committee, Dr. A. M. Cochran, Martin V. Cole, Elisha McCommas, Mrs., Martha Beeman, Mrs. S. E. Johnston, Elder John M. Myers and Wm. H. Beeman.

The third annual reunion was held at Shady View Park, July 13, 1885. The officers elected were John C. McCoy, president; Wm. C. McKamy, Mrs. Elizabeth B. Durgin and J. A. Vanning, vice presidents; Martin V. Cole, secretary; John H. Cole, treasurer; executive committee, John M. Crockett, Mrs. S. E. Johnston, A. M. Cochran, Dr. A. A. Johnston, M. D. L. Gracey, Mrs. Martha Beeman, Elisha McCommas, Mid. Perry, Wm. H. Beeman and W. G. Veal.

The fourth and much the most successful reunion was held in the City Park, July 12th and 13th, 1886. The officers elected were John C. McCoy, president (died April 30, 1887); John J. Eakins (died 1886), Mrs. Virginia Bledsoe Rawlins, Mrs. S. E. Johnston, Mrs. Mary Knight Burford, Col. George Wilson, Wm. C. McKamy, David K. Cameron, George W. Glover, Richard Bruton and Middleton Perry, vice presidents; John M Crockett, secretary; Martin V. Cole, treasurer; Elder John M. Myers, chaplain; executive committee, W. G. Veal, John Henry Brown, M. D. L. Gracey, Middleton Peiry, Wm. H. Beeman, Elisha McCommas, Mrs. S. E. Johnston, John Hale and John H. Cochran.

The fifth annual reunion is to be held at the City Park, July 12th and 13th, 1887.

Mr. John Beeman lived at first in a sort of fortified camp, near his future home, on the north side of the road, about a mile beyond the State Fair Grounds, where he plowed the first land and raised the first crop in the county; but a year or so later Wm. M. Cochran grew the first wheat, and it was mown by John H. Daniel. Returning from the colony surveyor’s camp on Farmer’s branch, Mr. Beeman, riding one of the horses captured when Denton was killed in 1841, at Village creek, was chased by Indians from near the site of the Episcopal college to his camp, losing his hat and some letters, which were found next day. The Indians refused to risk an attack on the camp and retired. Mrs. Beeman, with her daughters, and Mrs. James J. Beeman, deceased, a few days after the arrival of Mrs. Gilbert, was the second civilized lady to see and to settle in Dallas County. She was born Elizabeth Hunnicut. Mrs. Beeman yet lives in the vicinity of her original home, and, by common consent, should be entered and kept on the rolls as “Mother of the Pioneer Association.”

It is altogether foreign to my purpose to follow the moral and material progress of the city and county of Dallas down to the present time, or in any sense to serve as an advertising medium for them. Their rapid growth — phenomenal since the first railroad came on the 16th day of July, 1872 — is well understood, not only at home, but extensively throughout
the Union. The present population of Dallas, in its entirety — embracing the population on the John Neely Bryan section and the John Grigsby league, is believed to be about forty thousand souls — of the county sixty thousand. In that limited space are twenty-five churches for white, and ten or twelve for colored people, with trunk line railroads diverging in nine directions and others under construction or soon to be so. Everything else, approximately speaking, has kept pace, and now the growth is marvelous. All the facts accomplished and all the present indications justify the belief that Dallas is to be the chief central city of a very large and productive country, with a corresponding trade and commerce. This much may be said in perfect candor, as it is said to our own people and not intended for those elsewhere; and more will not be said.

My chief object has been to stimulate an honorable pride and closer assimilation on the part of the citizens of the city and county, by culling from all available sources and putting in form for preservation, the most material, interesting and instructive facts connected with the settling and rescuing this admirable portion of the country from barbarian savagery, that the descendants of the pioneers may have indefeasible titles of inheritance to their courage, their patriotism and their heroic virtues.

My residence in Dallas dates only from July 17th, 1871, but my identity with Texas dates from 1824, and actual residence for over half a century — so that Texas — one, entire and indivisible — holds my allegiance and my affections ; and no human power can ever cause a betrayal of the one or the alienation of the other. It is the first attempt of the kind ever made in the State —carried forward largely in the midst of other cares, and must needs be imperfect in the multitude of points sought to be covered; but I trust those for whom it is most largely intended may be gratified at the result.

Hoping yet, by the aid of those omitted and their friends, to make a COMPLETE list of the early pioneers of Dallas county, I beg them to believe me their friend, jealous of their good names, and keenly jealous of the good names and well being of their children and grandchildren; with the expression of a single deeply seated conviction — that the way to
make good men and women is to train them in virtue’s ways under the parental roof, and send them forth into the battle of life fortified in the principles of honor, truth, justice and charity.