Once Village in
J. W. Bone Resided
nity on Floyd Farm.
Fists and Musician
Ability to Play Notes
BY W. S. ADAIR
people were among the pioneers," said J. W. Bone, of Grand
Prairie. "I am not informed as to when they settled
in Tennessee, but it was in that State my father, J. J. Bone,
was born and grew up and became a civil engineer. He migrated
to Texas in 1852, and secured work with McKinney & Williams,
who were employed by the State to locate wild lands. He
worked in Wise, Cooke and Jack Counties. It seems that
McKinney & Williams got their pay chiefly in lands, and that
is why there are so many McKinney & Williams surveys in North
"Father assisted, in 1852,
in making arrangements for the first of the long service of camp
meetings held on White Rock Creek in Dallas County. The
first meeting was held about a mile north of the grounds finally
settled on for these revivals. The Rev. W. H. (Uncle Buck)
Hughes, a famous early-day minister, who died only a few years
ago, then a young preacher, was an exhorter at the first meeting.
"After that, father moved
to Arkansas, where he homesteaded a farm, and where he was living
when the Civil War started. He joined a regiment made up
there to fight for the Southern Confederacy. He was wounded
early in the war and came home. Under the impression that
he was exempt from further service, he moved to Texas in 1862.
"I remember we came in an
ox wagon, and that we were a long time on the way, camping when
night overtook us. But, it is all very dim in my mind.
I recall that we touched at a place called Hot Springs,
but can visualize no town there, and that we came across a pair
of steer horns of enormous length, and that the folks told me
that every steer and cow in Texas grew such a spread of horns.
That must have been what astonished me most on the journey,
seeing that it has stuck in my memory so fast.
Killing Frost in May.
"We settled on the Huffhines
farm, near Richardson, Dallas County. Soon after our arrival
here, father, who had to some extent recovered from his wound,
was called back to the war, but died before the close of the
struggle. While the men were at the front during the war,
the women and old men at home had a hard time. Shut off from
the outside world by the tight blockade, we had to live wholly
at home. I remember that the soldiers at Dallas took charge
of all the cotton produced in this part of the country and distributed
it among the women to be made into cloth. We brought our
wool to Dallas and had it carded at Bailey's carding mill at
McKinney avenue and Orange street. Wool had to be carded
before the women could spin and weave it. We did without
sugar and coffee, and had to go to Grand Saline for our supply
"Soon after the war, mother
married J. W. Byrd, member of a family that had settled in Texas
in the '30s, and some of whom joined the rush for gold in California
in 1848. One of the argonauts, John Byrd, returned with
money enough to buy the James Byrd headright survey, on the Alpha
road, west of Richardson, for which he paid 12¢ an acre.
He sowed a large acreage of wheat in the fall of 1850.
His crop was all headed out, and giving great promise,
with no end of meadow larks nesting in it and soaring and twittering
above it, when, on the night of May 6, there came a freeze and
frost that killed and turned black, every stalk of it. In
disgust, John Byrd sold his land, hitched up his ox wagon and
returned to California. He wrote back, that on the way,
a Mexican lion killed one of his oxen and left him stranded in
camp. I do not know how many days, until some passing teamster
happened to have an extra steer. He settled permanently
on the Slope and died there.
Wild Goose Honk Higher.
"During the war, the cattle
and horses on the range increased and multiplied and naturally
grew wilder than ever. There had been nobody to brand them,
and it was understood that they belonged to the first man who
could clap a hot iron to them. But, as the markets had
not yet been opened, numerous as they were, they did not represent
any very great amount of wealth. I remember that my stepfather
traded Hamp Witt, thirty-two head of cows and steers for an old
thimble-skein wagon. Before the war, White Brothers owned
a greater number of cattle than anybody else in North Texas.
After the war, J. D. Stratton rounded them up for the White
estate, and sold them to the highest bidder, who took them out
of the country. My first trip west was with a drove of
cattle collected in Dallas County and delivered on Dan Wagner's
ranch in Wise County. In those days, every boy was a cow
puncher and was supposed to have some little skill in shooting
"The wild cattle and horses
on the range were on the best of terms with deer, turkeys and
prairie chickens, which had a prior claim to the country. Deer,
quail and turkeys came right up to the cabins of settlers, and
it was part of the business of small boys to keep the prairie
chickens scared out of the cornfields. Wild geese and ducks
came in incredible numbers. In those days, wild geese flew
only high enough to clear the houses and the timber -- so low,
in fact, that you could easily distinguish the geese from the
ganders as they flew over you. But, as the country was
settled, and men began to shoot at them, all the way from Canada
to the Gulf, they gradually pitched their flight higher, until
they found an elevation out of the range of shotguns.
"When we settled in the northern
part of the county, our postoffice was Breckenridge. It
was named in honor of John C. Breckenridge by a bunch of settlers
who had come from Kentucky. Breckenridge was long a stage
stand. The Houston & Texas Central Railroad, constructed
in 1873, passed three miles north of Breckenridge and established
Richardson station. The railroad put the stage line out
of business, and the postoffice, the hotel, the general mercantile
establishment, the blacksmith and the shoemaker moved to Richardson.
There is now nothing left to mark the site of the once
flourishing village of Breckenridge, which was on the old Floyd
"Dallas was not great shakes
when I first saw it. The courthouse was a little one-story
frame structure, the roof of which, supported by old-fashioned
brackets, projected out beyond the walls. It loomed immense
in a setting of log cabins and box houses strung around it, like
a fence with many gaps in it.
"I came to town along with
the rest of the population of the country to see the first railroad
train come in, in July, 1872. The present generation who skate
over paved roads in automobiles of the latest models can have
no conception of the kind of roads we first settlers had to put
up with. In rainy weather, it took a day to drive a wagon
from Richardson to Dallas, and a day to return. Nor, were
we on surer ground when we got into Dallas. Once, my wagon
bogged down at Elm and Lamar streets, in front of E. M. Kahn's
store, and I had to apply to the Central wagon yard for a team
to pull me out.
"I also came to Dallas to
see the first bridge across the river at Commerce street thrown
open to traffic. Every settler in the country took in that
celebration. The first wagons to cross the bridge were
freighted with buffalo hides and meat, a long train of them,
from the Far West.
Art Among the Pioneers.
- February 9, 1930,
The Dallas Morning News,
"The few schools the pioneers
had did not attempt to carry the pupil beyond reading, writing
and arithmetic. Those who wished to venture farther along
the flowery path looked to the itinerant professor of penmanship,
the singing master and the bandmaster, who were sure to visit
every settlement. The outcome was that we had fairly good
singing at most of the churches, band playing, that, on the average,
was rotten, at picnics and political gatherings, and several
persons in every community who could write a note you could read
without a knowledge of the circumstances under which it was produced.
"Early in the '70s, Carl Butler
organized a brass band at Locust Grove School, on the old Stratton
farm, near Richardson, of which I had the honor of being a member.
Some other members were Joe Christie, E. E. Bone, J. Thomas
Byrd, Earl Butler, Frank Jennings and John and Nath Dooley. It
happened that several of our boys had unusual musical talent.
We played for a big political rally at Plano in 1876, and
after that, we were in request everywhere.
"Still, we had very crude
notions about questions of art. For instance, our bandmaster
once told Frank Jennings that he was counting the beats wrong.
Frank, who was a natural musician and ready to back the
findings of his ear, insisted that he was right. They had
a fist fight over the matter, and closed the incident, then and
there. What the pioneer could not settle with his fists
or his gun, had to go unsettled.
Auto & Markets Section, p. 6.
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