Three Early Dallas Communities

Part 6 in a series on Dallas History.

John Neely Bryan’s settlement at Dallas (1841) was given company and competition by other pioneers who settled nearby, some of whom developed communities that rivaled Bryan’s. In 1842 Thomas Keenan, Isaac B. Webb, and William Cochran arrived with their families and claimed land according to the Peters Colony provisions on a branch of the Elm Fork of the Trinity several miles north of Bryan’s settlement. In the next year, they established a community that came to be known as Farmers Branch.

Sharrock Cabin
Many early settlers did not locate within the settlements described here. The Everard Sharrock cabin, 1847, is the oldest known structure in Dallas in the same location where it was built, in the countryside of southern Dallas County. It is currently undergoing restoration.

In the same year, 1843, Dr. John Cole purchased 160 acres of an earlier land grant, much closer to Bryan’s settlement, along Cedar Springs Branch. His land may have included the site where the Texas military expedition had camped two years before on their return to Austin. Cole established a store and a medical practice on the site, and the community of Cedar Springs grew to be larger than nearby Dallas within a few years. Cedar Springs Road in Dallas marks the old trail from the Bryan settlement to the Cole settlement at Cedar Springs. Cole Avenue nearby is named for Dr. John Cole.

In 1845 the family of William Henry Hord arrived in the area from Tennessee along with three enslaved people. They settled on a ridge across the Trinity floodplain from Bryan’s settlement. The ridge and the community that grew up there came to be known as Hord’s Ridge; it would later be called Oak Cliff.

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