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 Texas.
"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 of salt.
"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 and riding.
"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 farm.
"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 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,
Dallas Morning News, Auto & Markets Sec., p. 6.
"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
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