is the thirteenth of a series of articles by Mrs. Foster, a resident
of Dallas for many years, concerning interesting people and events
here a quarter of a century ago.
after coming to Dallas in May 1890, Mr. Foster and I drove over
to Fort Worth to inspect the long distance telephone line. Away
up on a high hill, to the left of the road in the vicinity of
Chalk Hill, we were impressed by the beautiful and extensive
view from an old-fashioned mansion set among blooming shrubs
and with Texas wildflowers blossoming on the heights.
We wondered who lived there, and
it was some years later before I knew it as the old Horton homestead,
and that my friend, Mrs. H. H. Smith, then Ellen Bond, a native
of Virginia, was married in 1875.
Mrs. H. H. Smith came of a pioneer
family. His father moved from Covington, Ky., to Dallas in 1860,
when Henry was ten years old. He grew up on a farm, living first
above the Exall property holdings, now Highland Park.
$20 Per Acre for Land.
In 1867, his father bought twenty
acres on McKinney avenue between what is now Pearl and Routh
streets, and running back to Cedar Springs road. Here, he built
the first house on McKinney avenue, between the old Jack Cole
home, where now stands the North Dallas High school, and the
foot of Orange street.
Twenty dollars an acre was what
was paid for this property.
The Smiths cleared it and had a truck farm.
Henry Smith went to school in Dallas,
and later to Carlton college in Bonham. He then farmed, taught
school and clerked.
Lived a While at Bonham.
After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs.
Smith lived for three years in Bonham, and then for several years,
in Dallas, going from Dallas to a country home near Chalk Hill,
where Phillips cafe now stands on the Fort Worth pike.
Their first Dallas home, for which
they paid $1,250, was a five-room cottage on a lot 150 by 200
It stood then, and still stands,
on McKinney avenue, across the street from Trinity Methodist
church. It was not in the city limits, Harwood street marking
the boundary. Mr. Smith recalls the extra mule hitched to the
street car to pull it up the hill on McKinney avenue. When the
car reached the summit, the mule returned to the foot of the
hill and waited for the next car.
Served as Postal Clerk.
Mr. Smith served as the one clerk
under Postmaster William Jones in 1870, and well remembers the
first money order ever issued in Dallas. There were then no railroads,
and the mail came by stage.
If the rivers were up, and the horses could not ford, (there
were no bridges), the mail was delayed a week, more or less.
When it did come, everybody in town appeared at the postoffice
and postmaster and clerk were kept busy.
Mr. Smith says that some little
time ago, a high official of the postoffice appeared at the bank
with a heavy remittance for Washington and told of how long and
hard the force worked to get this report ready, when Mr. Smith
said to him: "Oh, you're not nearly as smart as we were
in 1870. Two of us, then, did all the work!"
A boyhood reminiscence of Mr. Smith
as to do with Brownlee Langley. Both lived then between Cochran's
Chapel and Farmers Branch. Both had come from Kentucky, and they
were boyhood chums. In that day, it was necessary to haul water
form the nearest spring or stream.
Recalls Eagle Ford.
Mr. Smith has entertaining recollections
of Eagle Ford when it was a live town. Even before the Texas
& Pacific railroad was built to Eagle Ford, it had a mill,
and ox teams hauled flour to Millican. When the railroad came,
there was a dry goods store and a daily paper. It was a shipping
point for cattle to Baxter Springs, Kansas. There were big stock
pens at Eagle Ford and every once in a while, a buffalo would
be included in a drove of cattle. The town boomed for about three
years. Then, the railroad went on to Fort Worth and Eagle Ford
Served As County Treasurer.
Mr. Smith ably filled the office
of county treasurer for six year, beginning in 1884. He was twice
re-elected, each time receiving a larger majority. He is a past
chancellor of Coeur de Leon lodge Knights of Pythias, and a Democrat.
His father served three years in the Confederate army as a member
of Captain Welsh's company. This was known as the Gano guards,
named for Gen. R. W. Gano.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith and family lived for some years in West Dallas.
He served as a member of the first city council of Oak Cliff,
and the last of Dallas just before the commission form of government
went into effect.
How He Lost "Job."
It was decided that there was too
much land in Oak Cliff, and because of excess taxation, some
of the land was taken away, so Mr. Smith says, laughingly, he
lost his job as alderman of Oak Cliff.
Mrs. Smith recalls that when they
lived in West Dallas, she frequently drove to town during an
overflow of the Trinity river, when she couldn't see the ditches
at the side of the road and never was afraid until the water
ran inside the buggy.
Mr. Smith pays a tribute to those
men of vision, T. L. Marsalis and J. S. Armstrong, and wishes
they might now view the cities of their dreams, Oak Cliff and
Possesses Old Directory.
15, 1925, Dallas Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 7., col. 2-5
Mr. Smith has in his possession,
a Dallas city directory of the year 1875. It was printed by Butterfield
and Rundlett. Every other page shows advertisements, and there
are but forty pages of names. Locations and names of streets
are also given. Printing is on one side of a page only.
Mr. Smith was one of six
children, all well-known in Dallas, of whom Ed C. Smith was the
eldest and Dr. Willis Smith, who died not long ago in El Paso,
the youngest. One sister, Mrs. Ellen Hardy, lives in Chicago.
Another married Oliver Thomas, also of a pioneer Dallas family.
She lives now in Richardson.
Mr. Smith told me another story
of Banning Norton.
He carried always, a cane of hickory,
cut for him by Henry Clay on his estate. The top just fitted
a silver half dollar, also given to him by Henry Clay and commemorating
the anniversary of his birth.
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