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In 1839, John Neely Bryan first visited the place that would one day become Dallas. He had come to the three forks area of the Trinity to survey a spot for a possible trading post serving Indians and settlers. The site was the easiest place to cross the Trinity, and also near where the Preston Trail was planned. This highway would link North Texas to South Texas.

After surveying, Bryan returned to Arkansas to settle his affairs. While he was gone, a treaty was signed, removing all Indians from North Texas. He returned in November of 1841, to find the Indians, and half of his customers, gone. So, he shifted his trading post idea to that of a permanent community. About 22 miles to the northwest, there was a community called Bird's Fort. He invited those who had settled there to come and settle in his proposed town. John Beeman arrived in April of 1842 and planted the first corn. Other families soon followed. Members of the Peters Colony settled nearby, and Peter's Colony agents bragged on the new town, now called Dallas, attracting even more settlers.




In 1839, John Neely Bryan first visited the place that would one day become Dallas. He had come to the three forks area of the Trinity to survey a spot for a possible trading post serving Indians and settlers. The site was the easiest place to cross the Trinity, and also near where the Preston Trail was planned. This highway would link North Texas to South Texas.

After surveying, Bryan returned to Arkansas to settle his affairs. While he was gone, a treaty was signed, removing all Indians from North Texas. He returned in November of 1841, to find the Indians, and half of his customers, gone. So, he shifted his trading post idea to that of a permanent community. About 22 miles to the northwest, there was a community called Bird's Fort. He invited those who had settled there to come and settle in his proposed town. John Beeman arrived in April of 1842 and planted the first corn. Other families soon followed. Members of the Peters Colony settled nearby, and Peter's Colony agents bragged on the new town, now called Dallas, attracting even more settlers.


For a while, Bryan was everything to the community: postmaster, storeowner, and his home was the courthouse. In 1843, Bryan married Margaret Beeman. The town was quickly growing. In 1843, the first doctor arrived, and in 1845, the first lawyer arrived. In 1845, the first election was held on the issue of Texas' annexation to the United States. Thirty-two citizens were able to vote, 29 voted for annexation and 3 were opposed. Dallas was now a part of the state of Texas.

On March 30, 1846, Dallas County was organized. On April 18, Dallas became the temporary county seat, and a tiny log cabin served as the first courthouse. Four years later, in a close election, Dallas was named the permanent county seat. Also in 1846, the first hotel, private school, and church were organized. The first cotton crop was planted, and it quickly became a major cash crop. In 1849, the first newspaper, the Cedar Snag, was printed. This paper was later renamed the Dallas Herald.

News of the Gold Rush in California had filtered east, and in 1849, many men passed through Dallas on their way to California. Several Dallasites left to look for gold, including Bryan. He was unsuccessful and returned in 1850.

By this time, Dallas had a population of 430. The first factory was built and a brickyard was established, supplying much of the materials for the construction boom lasting until the Civil War. In 1852, Alexander Cockrell bought what was left of Bryan's land. In 1855, Cockrell built a bridge over the Trinity River, providing easy transportation between Dallas and surrounding communities. He also built a sawmill and general store. After his death, his wife, Sarah Cockrell, built a flour mill and hotel.

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