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D in the Heart of Texas             

Jerry T. Dealey

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John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders (Part 2)

Early History of Texas
The Europeans and American Settlers
John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders
Some Wheeling-Dealing to Grow a City
George Bannerman Dealey
The Dallas Morning News is Born
The Great 1908 Flood
G. B. Promotes Other Early Dallas Growth
The "City of Hate"
Building the ‘Subway’, Triple Underpass, Dealey Plaza
The Other Buildings Around Dealey Plaza
The Elder G. B. Dealey
The Dallas "Citizens Council"
The ‘Right Wing’ Direction of Dallas - "City of Hate" Revisited
A ‘Turn-Around’ for the Dallas Morning News
The Pre-November ‘Hate’ Incidents
Dallas’ Law Enforcement
November 1963, Why Dallas?
Dealey Plaza Changes To-Date

In 1844, an important settler came to the area: J. P. Dumas. Dumas was by trade a surveyor, and Bryan quickly had Dumas survey a half square mile of his one square mile property, and lay out ‘lots’ for the city of Dallas. Among these was the lot that Bryan was later to donate for the County Courthouse, the lot where the Dallas County Courthouse still sits today, east of Houston St. on Dealey Plaza. For Dumas’ efforts, Bryan gave him one of the lots, the ownership of which Dumas failed to preserve, because he considered it worthless. For the next few years, Bryan would sell or give away many of these lots, in a vision to build his town of Dallas. On the future Dealey Plaza, he continued to have his cabin, and in 1845 the Republic of Texas established Dallas’ first Post office in Bryan’s cabin, with Bryan as Postmaster. The business minded Bryan was still pursuing his dream.

In 1845, the 32 Republic of Texas registered voting residents of Dallas unanimously voted to allow Texas Annexation by the United States. The arrangement allowed the former Texas Republic to be protected from Mexico and other invaders. Many feel that the Texas Constitution, and arrangement with the United States, allowed for Texas to later ‘nullify’ this annexation, if they so chose; however, Texas would not later be allowed to secede, as a member of the Confederate States of America, during the U.S. Civil War.

Bryan allowed the temporary courthouse to be built on the Courthouse Square lot, where the ‘Old Red’ Courthouse stands today, under the condition that it be built on the corner, so as not to disturb Bryan’s corn crop already planted on the lot. In 1846 Dallas County was formed (this time named after Vice President George Mifflin Dallas), and the town of Dallas was set up as the temporary county seat.

In March 1853, a disillusioned Bryan sold all of his remaining Dallas holdings to a Kentuckian named Alexander Cockrell and his wife, Sarah Horton Cockrell for $7,000. This included Bryan’s cabin and property in Dealey Plaza, but by agreement he was allowed to remain living in this cabin on this lot.

The Cockrells had the resources to do a number of things that Bryan never was able. It has been said by some Dallas historians that John Neely Bryan was the dreamer that could envision the potential of Dallas as a city, but the Cockrells were the builders who could actually fulfill those dreams. In addition to the wooden bridge across the Trinity, and the sawmill, the Cockrells built an elegant 2 story home on the south side of Commerce and west of Houston St. (This is where the old US Postal Annex sits today.) They also built one of Dallas’ first major hotels, the St. Nicholas, across Commerce St. from their home.

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03LEFT.JPG - 1880 BytesJohn Neely Bryan - And Other Early Founders (Part 1)
03RIGHT.JPG - 1880 Bytes John Neely Bryan – And Other Early Founders (Part 3)

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Last edited June 3, 2003