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Garland Born
of Bitter Fight
of Early Days


Duck Creek and Embree
Had Acrimonious
Feud in '80s.


Old-Timers Scarce

Few of Pioneer Doctors
and Lawyers Left
in Dallas.


     "I have witnessed the entire development of all this part of the country," said Dr. K. H. Embree, 932 North Winnetka avenue.  "I began the practice of medicine at Celina, Tenn., but, soon thereafter, came to Texas, arriving at Sherman in February, 1873.  My mother, who preceded me, had settled at Kentuckytown, Collin County.  She wrote me that Dr. Head, the leading physician there, had died, leaving an extensive practice, and that by coming at once, I might get some of it.  On the trip, I found the country covered with snow, all the way from Nashville to Red River.  I came by trail as far as Sherman, and there, took the stage for Kentuckytown.
     "But, I arrived at Kentuckytown too late.  Three doctors had got there ahead of me, crowding me out.  I decided to visit relatives in the Duck Creek community in Dallas County, and then go back to Tennessee.  The outcome of that visit, was that I became a resident of Dallas County.
     The first store at Duck Creek was opened soon after I arrived there, but the name of the merchant has slipped my memory.  In no long time, the store passed into the hands of Judge W. M. Alexander, who was afterward a prominent lawyer of Dallas, and who died at Los Angeles.  Later, I became a silent partner in the establishment.  Judge Alexander, bestirring himself, got Duck Creek made a postoffice, and I was made postmaster.  The next year, we bought the Clark stock of bankrupt goods in Dallas, in a building on the north side of Elm street, opposite Sanger Bros.  Judge Alexander came to Dallas to run the store, while I took charge of our business at Duck Creek.

Duck Creek in Early Days.
     "We bought cotton at Duck Creek.  Sometimes, we had as many as 500 bales in the compress at the same time.  Business grew until we were carrying a $10,000 stock of goods.  Other business houses opened at Duck Creek, and the place looked so much like a rising town by the time the Santa Fe reached it, that in order to hasten developments, I established a newspaper, the Weekly Rustler.  On a trip East, I met J. Roland Day, a brilliant orator and newspaper man, who had stumped West Virginia for Grover Cleveland, but who had failed to get any of the spoils due the victors.  He was run down in health and finances, and was glad to come to Texas and go to work on the Rustler.  He easily made the Rustler the best weekly in the country.  He helped elect Judge Thomas F. Nash to the Legislature from Dallas County, and was rewarded with a clerkship in the House.  He went from Austin to Galveston, where he opened a school of elocution, and a few years later, died in New Orleans.  All the old-timers knew J. Roland Day.
     "In the '80's, farmers got all the way from 7¢ to 10¢ for cotton.  Ten cents was the top price, and farmers made money, for the cost of production was low.  Raw land was to be had for $20 and acre or less, and nobody paid farm hands more than $10 or $15 a month.  But, the great drawback was the scarcity of money and the high rate of interest.  The early settlers were all poor, and the only money to be had was at the banks, and the banks made no long loans, such as farmers wanted.  Nor, could you buy land on long time.  The conditions compelled newcomers to become renters until they could make money enough to buy land of their own.  Many who began as tenants in time became substantial farmers in the county.  The rate of interest was all the way from 12 to 18 per cent a year.

Paid 18 Per Cent.
     "When I first went to Duck Creek, I borrowed $200 at 18 per cent.  I kept the money four years and paid $152 interest.  The man from whom I borrowed it wanted compound interest, but as the note stipulated for nothing of the kind, I refused to pay it, and, as the Legislature had just passed what was called the usury law, limiting the legal rate to 12 per cent, the man did not press his claim.  Before that law was enacted, any rate to which a man had bound himself was legal, and, I think, held collectible by the courts.
     "When the Santa Fe made Duck Creek a station, it got the name of the postoffice changed to Embree.  A few months later, the Katy, building out that way, crossed the Santa Fe half a mile north of town, and there started a town, calling it Duck Creek, the name we had abandoned.
     "Then began a fight for business.  Judge Nash, who had been appointed manager of the Farmers' Co-operative Store at Duck Creek, took the lead on the side of that town.  At the solicitation of friends, I opened a store at Duck Creek and placed it in the hands of a manager.  What worried the Duck Creek men was that the postoffice was at Embree.  Judge Nash started a newspaper at Duck Creek, the Duck Creek News, and placed it in the hands of John H. Cullom, now District Court Clerk of Dallas County.  Embree was represented by my newspaper, the name of which I had changed to the Embree Enterprise, and which was under the management of George Crossman.

Contest is Acrimonious.
     "The contest reached such a pitch of animosity, that the cooler heads saw that something would have to be done to avert bloodshed.  It was Judge Nash who saw a way to settle the trouble. He had been a power in the convention that nominated Joe Abbott of Hillsboro for Congress, and had thereby made a friend of Judge Abbott.  He suggested that the two towns ask Judge Abbott to arbitrate their quarrel.  Both agreed.  It is a fact that some pieces of mail intended for Embree had gone to Emory, in Rains County, and some Emory mail had strayed into the Embree postoffice.  From this, it was clear to Judge Abbott that the name of the postoffice should be changed.  It was further clear that the good people of Duck Creek ought not to be made to walk any farther than the equally good people of Embree for their mail.  In other words, the postoffice should be midway between the two communities.  And, in order to leave neither of the towns anything to crow over, it would be well to select a new name for the postoffice, and the first name that occurred to him was that of Attorney General Garland.  The business men of the warring towns moved their establishments to the new town site, forgot the past, and can now show one of the best towns in the country.  I suspended my newspaper, leaving the field to John H. Cullom, who thereafter called his paper, the Garland News, and made it a credit to the town.  I traded my old Washington hand press to Col. Colp for half a block in the town of Iowa Park, which he was then booming.  Later, I traded the lots in Iowa Park for a house and lot in Garland.

Few Old-Timers Left.
     "I knew all the physicians in Dallas.  I was an honorary member of their local organization, and attended their weekly meetings.  Dr. Graham is the only one of them now living, and he has been out of the practice for many years.  The same may be said of the lawyers.  I think Judge Robert B. Seay and Judge Charles F. Clint, alone, are left of all those who were here in the early '80s.  The early-day merchants have also passed away.  As far as I know, Leon Kahn is the only one of them who still goes to his place of business.  I have kept up pretty well with the growth of the city.  The streets and buildings are familiar enough, but as for the people on the streets, I might as well be in Constantinople.
     "I retired from the practice of medicine in 1897, on account of failing health, and have since spent the summers with my daughter, Mrs. S. E. Hughes, on a ranch at Narra Viso, three miles south of Tucumcari, N. M., and the winters, in Dallas.  I come back to Dallas in November and stay till June 1.
     "Dallas has grown so far beyond my expectations, that I long ago ceased to make any predictions regarding it.  It was plain to me, as far back as 1873, that it would be something of a city after my time. But, I suppose I was not more lacking in foresight than others of that time.  I think the city has doubled in every way within the last twenty years.  Even Garland is a little city, and the face of the surrounding country has changed.  The timber has been cleared, the fences, except those inclosing pastures, have been removed, and paved highways have taken the place of muddy or dusty roads.  And, the farmers and their families, who once rode in covered wagons, now dressed up, spin around in automobiles, and seem to be in a kind of paradise.
     "I can not see into the future, but it seems to me the young men of this day are not looking ahead, but are too much devoted to having a good time now.  The young men among the early settlers were driven, by circumstances, to the soil.  They made little, it is true, but they were so far in the wilderness that they had no temptations or opportunities to spend what they did make, and so, invested it in land, which, in time, made them rich or well off.  Now, there is no limit to the amount a young man may spend, and still fall far short of enjoying all the pleasures of life."

- April 25, 1926, The Dallas Morning News, Sec. 4, p. 6.
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