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Fort Worth

A Frontier Triumph

Julia Garrett

Publication Year: 2013

In the 1950s, history teacher Julia Kathryn Garrett of Fort Worth began collecting stories from old-timers and pioneers whose memory or knowledge reached back to the early days of the city. For fifteen summer vacations she worked from morning to night on her book, creating an anecdotal chronicle of the early years of the city that began as a fort on the Trinity River in 1849. She closed her history with events a quarter of a century later, when Fort Worth was poised on the edge of growth, ready to become a modern city with the 1876 arrival of the railroad.

First published in 1972 and reprinted by TCU Press in 1996.

Published by: TCU Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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pp. v-vii

For eleven years my manuscript was reposited on a shelf in the Fort Worth Public Library until Jenkins Garrett, by constant insistence that I complete the work, and through generous guarantees that the manuscript would be published, has brought this chronicle into existence....


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

FORT WORTH was planted on a river whose prodigious wealth had been recorded in history since the beginning of the sixteenth century; and like the Biblical tree planted by the rivers of water, would flourish and its leaves would not wither. Rio de la Santisima Trinidad, together...

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FOREWORD to the 1996 Edition

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pp. xv-xvi

JULIA KATHRYN GARRETT was a unique and most charming Texas lady. So many memories of her swirl around in my mind, but first of all I think of her as a vivacious, inspiring, challenging and driven high school teacher, loved by her students and admired by her colleagues. She often spoke of her conviction that it was...

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BOOK I: Conflict on the Prairies

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pp. 1-21

THE prairies stretching from the wooded banks of the forks of the Trinity, and sweeping on beyond to the Red River, were sources of nourishment and power to the prairie Indians and to the invading white man; but they were also areas of conflict. The conflict over the land,...

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1. The Promise on the Prairies

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pp. 3-6

IT was in the spring of 1778, and the conflict for control of the Texas prairies had already begun. A strong man seated magnificently in a comfortable saddle-one made for an explorer of the big Texas wilderness--rode in the midst of a score of horsemen through the high grass...

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2. The Barrier on the Prairies

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pp. 7-10

THE newly-born Republic of Texas was generally spoken of as the "Land of Promise" by citizens of the United States and Europe. Some exuberant optimists spoke of it as the "land of milk and honey." But as one wit said, "Although Texas was the land of milk and of honey, it was...

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3. “My Brother’s Keeper”

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pp. 11-16

SAM HOUSTON, the first president of the Republic of Texas from October 22, 1836, until December 10, 1838, had a plan for controlling Texas Indians. Upon the Indian policy of the Republic hung the story of the birth of Tarrant County. President Houston believed that if Indians...

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4. The Sword

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pp. 17-20

Lamar was not his red brother's keeper. He reversed President Houston's Indian policy. In his inaugural address in December 1838, as the second president of Texas, Lamar called for the following: the total expulsion of United States Indians domiciled in North Texas, the establishment...

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5. Minutemen

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pp. 21-24

INDIAN hostilities almost depopulated North Texas after 1839. It dwindled to less than half. Those men courageous enough to remain, rarely experienced the joyful excitement of welcoming the arrival of new settlers. They joined companies of minutemen, the title given the...

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6. Minutemen at Village Creek

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pp. 25-29

MEN hurried about in the darkness preparing to break camp. Stout's scouting expedition had returned in the night with information and plans. Stout led the men east into the rising sun of May 24, 1841. They were silent. No doubt they knew one another's thought: the time...

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7. Frustrated Effort

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pp. 30-34

GENERAL TARRANT was an unhappy warrior since his return from the Village Creek expedition. He could not be content with an incomplete campaign--not such a soldier as he. In his youth, he had served with Andrew Jackson in several Indian campaigns; had marched...

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8. The Hand of Friendship

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pp. 35-41

WOULD the north of the Republic be a promise of homes for men or a stark wilderness? That depended upon peace between red and white men. To continue the war with the Indians begun by Lamar's policy would make the north a forbidden land where men's hope would end in...

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9. The Treaty of 1843

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pp. 42-48

A promise written in the firm strokes of Sam Houston and confirmed by the seal of the Texas republic had been carried to and fro through the north by Indian commissioners from early March to August, 1843. This promise had passed through the Indian camps from the forks of the...

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BOOK II: Home-builders and a Fort on the Prairies

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pp. 49-69

GENERAL TARRANT and the minutemen's fight at Village Creek in 1841; Houston's plighted word at Bird's Fort in 1843; Rangers', surveyors', and trappers' intrepid advances into the wilderness of the Trinity; the Congress of the Republic with its legal arm; and the annexation...

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10. Luring Land Laws

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pp. 51-54

IN ITS eager desire to settle its empire of more than 18,000,000 acres of unclaimed land, the Republic in 1841 and 1842 granted contracts to immigrant agents much like the Mexican empresario agreements under which Stephen F. Austin had brought in colonists. The area, which was...

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11. A Lonesome Dove

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pp. 55-57

In time to do a little planting in 1845, Missourian householders in a wagon train ended their journey on the "Grapevine Prairie." With headrights from the Peters Land Company, the Missourians scouted the area and chose their land. Scattered over this region and along the pres...

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12. A Bubbling Springs

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pp. 58-61

TIME, changes in nature, and man's progress often obliterate sites of former sources of earth's prolific bounty and centers of man's prosperous living. In the late 1940s, three miles south of the town of Arlington, now a metropolis, were remnants of such a place--small boulders and a hollow...

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13. A Fort and a General

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pp. 62-67

WITH THE Mexican War over, the Federal government turned its attention to Texas, the new state annexed on the eve of the war. The treaty of annexation stated that the United States would assume control of Indian defense in Texas. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which...

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14. The Lone Fort on the Prairie

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pp. 68-74

RIFLE SHOTS clapped with ear-piercing sharpness cutting through the heavy silence on June 6, 1849, to climax the raising of the United States flag of thirty stars at the forks of the Trinity. A military ceremony in good form for the records of the War Department in Washington...

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15. The Major

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pp. 75-84

MAJOR ARNOLD commanded the outpost of Fort Worth at the age of thirty-two. Six feet tall, slender, graceful, gray eyes, a dominant forehead topped with auburn hair, a good chin and a mouth set in purposeful lines-he had the bearing of youth. Youthful strength with power drive,...

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BOOK III: Fort Town on the Prairies

THE WORLD was far-reaching in the 1850s; oceans and wilderness separated Americans from fantastic empires in Asia and from the ruling classes in Europe who were disdainful of the strange political experiment in America which admitted frontier rustics to public offices, even...

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16. Cabins on the Fort’s Horizon

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pp. 87-106

SONS OF pioneers rarely sought security on the settled frontiers. It was the belief and the faith of Americans in those days that their fate was their responsibility; that the western wilderness gave them opportunity; and what they did with that opportunity was up to them. Such...

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17. Birth of Tarrant County [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 107-120

BEYOND eye-view, east of the military post of Fort Worth in 1850, were two settled communities. One was in the present area of Grapevine where the Missouri colony began building in 1845. For a time the community was known as Leonardville and Dunnville respectively, and...

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18. Vision and Tussle, Then Fort Town

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pp. 121-165

THE forsaken military post Fort Worth was not transformed in a magic flash into a fort town when the United States troops departed in September, 1853. The deserted fort stood on the high bluff with not more than six cabins near it. On the north, south, and west horizons of early...

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BOOK IV: Shadows on the Prairies

CUMULUS CLOUDS floated like ancient galleons across the limitless expanse of sky, casting shadows upon the prairies; it was an unusual characteristic of the new country into which the homeseekers had corne--this Great Southwest. Perhaps watching the shadows on the prairies...

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19. Vexations of 1860

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pp. 169-192

INDIANS CAME suddenly, stole horses, and were gone without mollesting the settlers if the women gathered their families into the house, closed the shutters and quieted the children. There was trouble only when the savages encountered the settlers in the field or when the white...

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20. Decisions of 1861 and 1862

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pp. 193-211

FOR FORT WORTHIANS there would be several decisions to be made in the year 1861. Should Texas secede from the Union? Should the state return to the status of a republic or join the Confederate States of America? Should Fort Worthians haul down the United States flag,...

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21. Harvest Time of Decisions

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pp. 212-232

VOLUNTEERS were gone to the Confederate Army. Other men were riding in the Frontier Guard to keep the Indians beyond the new frontier line of defense extending from Lampasas County through Brown, Comanche, Erath, Young, and Jack counties to the Red River....

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BOOK V: Re-sowing the Prairies

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pp. 233-253

FORT TOWNERS were moved by two great drives-politics and town building. Along with earning their bread, politics for these men was serious business as well as their chief sport and amusement. But at the end of the Civil War, radical Northerners in control of Congress stripped...

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22. Chastisement, 1865-1869 [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 235-304

WHEN JUNE days of 1865 were wearing to an end, a Fort Town news analyst was heard to say on the public square, "Well, it's not over, if you mean the war." For the big news quickening the spirits of the inhabitants was startling, and they were adjusting their minds to it....

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23. Redemption, 1870-1872

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pp. 305-337

IT WAS EARLY January of 1870. General Reynolds, military commander of Texas, proclaimed without making public the election returns, that Davis was elected governor and that the Texas Constitution of 1869 had been adopted. He also announced the names of the four congressmen...

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pp. 339-340

EVENTS molding affairs of the nation had reflected their influence over everyday existence in Fort Worth from 1853 to 1872. To these national currents Fort Worth men had wisely reacted. Through each national problem, they had carried their town, which held the total of...


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pp. 341-348


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pp. 349-366


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pp. 367-387

E-ISBN-13: 9780875655260
E-ISBN-10: 0875655262
Print-ISBN-13: 9780875652023

Page Count: 388
Illustrations: 12 b&w photos.
Publication Year: 2013