Progress of Electricity as a
Motive Power for Street
the last two years, electricity has made wonderful strides as
a motive power in street car lines. It is now universally used
and is displacing mule power in all the leading cities of the
country. It does not stop at the mule, but is even invading the
cable, heretofore considered one of the best motive powers. The
cable and western road of St. Louis, one of the leading lines
of St. Louis, is to be changed to an electric line. Two cable
lines in Omaha are being changed into electric lines. One cable
company in Minneapolis, after having invested $100,000 in the
construction of a cable line, abandoned it and adopted the electric
system. The great objection to the cable system is the great
expense in operating the road and the continual breaking and
repairing of the cable and the great outlay it takes to make
the repairs, and another serious objection is the matter of speed,
which has to be fixed and uniform and cant' be varied so as to
run slow or fast, as the obstructions in the street might require,
and therefore, does not overcome any long distance in any less
time than mule power. Steam, that used to supply the power for
suburban trains, has now vanished, and the electric power performs
the service. The problem of street-car motive power, which has
been the study of so many minds, and fortunes spent in experimenting
with, is, at last, solved; and, ten years from now, all other
power but electricity will be obsolete. Thus, the age progresses,
and the perfection of things is being reached.
13, 1890, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 4, col. 2.
- o o o -
Railroad Officers Elected.
Dallas and Greenville, Dallas and Waco, and the Dallas and Wichita
railways held their annual election for directors yesterday afternoon,
which resulted as follows:
21, 1891, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 2.
Dallas and Greenville railway--John
N. Simpson, T. L. Marsalis, J. S. Armstrong, Thomas H. King,
F. P. Olcott, Louis Fitzgerald, Charles F. Beach, Jr.
Dallas and Waco railway--W. H.
Getzendaner, W. H. Gaston, B. Blankenship, E. M. Reardon, F.
P. Olcott, Louis Fitzgerald, Chas. F. Beach, Jr.
Dallas and Wichita railroad--Jules
E. Schneider, Joseph A. Carroll, E. P. Cowen, W. H. Abrams, F.
P. Olcott, Louis Fitzgerald, Charles F. Beach, Jr.
After the directors of the several
roads were elected, an election of officer for the ensuing year
was held, resulting as follows:
Dallas and Waco railway--W. H.
Getzendaner, president; W. H. Gaston, vice-president; E. M. Reardon,
Dallas and Wichita railway--Jules
E. Schneider, president; J. A. Carroll, vice-president; W. H.
Abrams, secretary and treasurer.
Dallas and Greenville railway--John
N. Simpson, president; T. L. Marsalis, vice-president; J. S.
Armstrong, secretary and treasurer.
- o o o -
AND FORT WORTH.
New Rapid Transit Wanted
By Gorbit and Cedar
To the Times-Herald.
22, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 5.
GORBIT, Dallas Co., Jan. 22.
We, the citizens of Gorbit and
Sower's postoffice, think it would be very fine for the Fort
Worth and Dallas Rapid Transit line (or railroad) to cross the
Trinidad at Arlington and run through by the way of Sower's postoffice
and on by Gorbit postoffice and on by the way of the old mill
crossing on Elm, and into Dallas by the way of Cedar Springs
and Oak Lawn. This would be very good for us people in the Forks
of the river, and for Dallas, also, it giving us a chance to
come to town at any time and giving us a mail line to enable
us to get our mail every day, instead of getting it by horseback
only twice a week. We have a thickly settled country and a world
of fine timber all along this line, and it only being seventeen
miles from Arlington to Dallas by this route, whereas, it is
much farther by way of Grand Prairie, Eagle Ford and West Dallas.
We are well pleased with both the
candidates for county judge. Can you furnish us with as good
a man to vote for for county attorney?
- o o o -
WILL GO BACK TO MULE CARS.
Electric Cars Will Be Taken
Off Main Street.
is stated positively, owing to light travel and the cost of electricity,
that the consolidated company, beginning to-morrow morning, will
run their electric cars into the barns and the patient, plodding
mule will be given full swing once more. So, the readers of the
need not feel surprised if the electric cars disappear from the
Main Street and Fairland lines to-morrow.
22, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 3, col. 6.
- o o o -
WEST DALLAS RAILWAY
BE EXTENDED TEN MILES
TO MOUNTAIN CREEK.
Already at Work Getting
Right-of-way and Subsidies
For the Enterprise.
parties were at work securing subsidies for an extension of the
West Dallas railroad from Hayes station to Mountain creek, a
distance of ten miles. Speaking of the enterprise to-day, a well-known
citizen said to a TIMES-HERALD
2, 1892, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3.
"The enterprise is a sure
thing and T. L. Marsalis is behind it. The road will branch off
at Hayes station or Fisher's Store and go out by John Meredeth's
place to Mountain Creek. It will be completed by November 1 and
will be operated by electricity. Another meeting of citizens
will be held next Tuesday to arrange the preliminaries, etc."
The same gentleman stated that
Mr. Marsalis had unraveled his affairs and was now on a solid
footing. He is now devoting his energies to the work of securing
factories for Oak Cliff and a big cotton mill and several other
enterprises are absolute facts. Messrs. B. Blankenship and T.
S. Miller, who have been east, visiting Mr. Marsalis in Philadelphia
and New York, are expected home to-morrow.
- o o o -
AND FORT WORTH TO BE
CONNECTED AT ONCE.
L. Marsalis Has Sold His Railroads to a
Big Syndicate and Engineers are Now
at Work Surveying a Line, to be Opera-
ted by Electricity, Between the Cities.
19, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 2.
WORTH, April 19.-- E. E. Perkins,
who has been working energetically for some time pushing an enterprise
of interest to Dallas, as well as Fort Worth, a new rapid transit
line to connect the two cities, has returned from the East and
reports his mission was successful beyond his most sanguine expectations.
Mr. Perkins informed your correspondent
to-day that Mr. Thomas L. Marsalis has sold his Oak Cliff railroad
property to a wealthy syndicate composed of leading New York
and Philadelphia capitalists, who will make great improvements
in the property and build a rapid transit line to Fort Worth,
to be operated by electricity.
Mr. Spencer M. Denny, of Philadelphia,
a gentleman connected with the Huntington system, will be the
president of the new company and he will have the backing of
C. P. Huntington and his associates.
Mr. Perkins also informed your
correspondent that engineers are now at work surveying the most
practical, as well as most feasible, route between this city
and Dallas, and that the Rapid Transit Railroad is an absolute
The people of Fort Worth are jubilant
over this recent move in railroad circles.
- o o o -
BE CONNECTED BY RAPID
Four Months -- Half a Million of
the First Mortgage Bonds Already Dis-
poses of -- Terminal Facilities Secured,
and Work to Begin at Once.
Dallas and Fort Worth Rapid Transit Terminal Rail Company, a
projected line from Dallas to Fort Worth, last evening disposed
of half a million dollars first mortgage bonds to the Central
Trust company of New York. The proceeds of these bonds will be
used for the construction of the road, which upon its completion,
will be bonded for an additional half a million. The object of
the projection of this road is to give Dallas connection at Fort
Worth with the Rock Island, the Fort Worth and Denver, the Fort
Worth and Rio Grande and the Cotton Belt roads, and at the same
time, furnish additional passenger facilities between the two
13, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 1.
The following from the Fort Worth
Gazette of this date throws considerable light upon the new enterprise:
"There exists not a doubt
now as to the ultimate construction of the rapid transit line
connecting the two cities of Fort Worth and Dallas. While there
has been a tendency among many to believe that the road would
never be built, the Gazette has expressed faith in the project
all along. This belief is now verified from the fact that late
last night, E. E. Perkins, who represents the company here, through
his attorney, put on file in the district court of Tarrant county,
a deed of trust from the Dallas and Fort Worth Rapid Transit
and Terminal Company in favor of the Central Trust Company of
Philadelphia to secure 1000 bonds at $1000 each, a total of $1,000,000.
The mortgage covers all the property, franchises, and all real
and personal property between Fort Worth and Dallas. A Gazette
representative, late last night, found Mr. Perkins, who said
that the construction of the rapid transit was a settled fact,
and the contracts for construction will soon be let, as there
would be no unnecessary delay in the premises. The matter of
grading has been practically determined, the bonds placed and
the right-of-way, in the main, secured. He further states that
all other necessary arrangements pertaining to the building of
the line are about complete and, as the ordinance relating to
the right-of-way through Fort Worth specifies that the road shall
be completed within eight months. Mr. Perkins thinks it will
be in operation by January next, possibly sooner. In compliance
with the ordinance recently passed by the city council, the name
of the road will be changed to the Fort Worth & Dallas Rapid
Transit Company. The matter has, at last, assumed tangible shape
and actual construction is a matter of only a short period. Another
victory for Fort Worth.
- o o o -
THAN FORTY-FIVE MILES OF
STREET RAILWAYS IN DALLAS.
Interesting History of Street Railway
Building in Dallas and Those Who Pro-
moted and Carried Out the Enterprises,
History of the Different Railways.
Citizen," in an interview with a TIMES-HERALD reporter, submitted the following:
24, 1893, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 1-2
"The locating of the street
car lines of the city of Dallas, so as to connect the business
with the suburban resident districts, proves that the projectors
were men of no ordinary ability and forecast. Twenty years ago,
when this metropolis was in its infancy, a street car system,
which may be justly classed among the most important improvements
of the city, and inaugurated by Col. W. J. Keller and his brother,
Dr. C. E. Keller. In 1883, they purchased the Main street line,
which was built by Capt. Swink, Col. Dent and others and located
from the public square to the Houston & Texas Central railway.
"In 1875, the Keller Bros.
built the San Jacinto, two miles in length, running northeast
and connecting the business portion of the city with the suburbs
and opened up and improved Shady View park. In 1876 and 1877,
they built the Ervay street road one and one-half miles in length,
from the Windsor hotel, on Austin, Commerce and Ervay streets,
and opened up the City Park, paying one-third of the purchase
money and improving the property, and connected the center of
Dallas with the waterworks, City park and the beautiful suburb
known as the "Cedars." In 1881, the Keller Bros., Judge
J. L. Henry and Col. W. B. Miller, the two latter having purchased
an interest in the Main street railway, extended the road from
the H. & T. C. railway along Main street, to the then city
of East Dallas.
"In 1885, Col. W. J. Keller,
Judge Henry, Col. Miller, Judge Aldrich and Capt. Adams sold
their interest in the Main and San Jacinto roads to Capt. Gaston,
Mr. Royal Ferris and of J. N. Simpson -- Dr. Keller still remaining
with the new company -- and they carried out the proposed plan,
and connected the San Jacinto and Main street lines by a circuit
on Washington avenue in East Dallas.
"In 1882, Mr. Wm. Sanger,
of Waco (a brother of Sanger Bros.), Mr. G. N. Quilman, and others,
built the Belt Line railway on Lamar, McKinney avenue, Harwood,
St. Louis, Akard and Jackson streets, and in 1884, sold said
road to Mr. J. E. Henderson and others. In 1885, Capt. H. W.
Keller sold the Ervay Street railway to Capt. W. C. Connor and
Mr. T. J. Oliver and they sold to the Consolidated Railway company.
In the spring of 1886, the Consolidated railway was formed by
a consolidation of all the street railways then in operation.
In 1883, the Rapid Transit railway was built by Mr. Luther Reese,
agent of the Kansas City Investment Company, on Commerce, South
Austin, Grand avenue and Exposition avenue, making a complete
circuit and operated by electric power.
"In 1889, the North Dallas
Circuit Railway, to Fairland, was built by Mr. Royal Ferris and
Mr. E. Sweeney. In 1890, the Live Oak, Bryan and Pearl street
Railway was built by Mr. E. Sweeney, Mr. Thos. Trotman and others,
but as yet, that road has never succeeded in getting nearer the
business center than the postoffice, but will finally be connected
with the Elm Street Electric Railway. It is now in the hands
of Mr. Harry Keller, receiver, lately appointed to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of his father, Col. W. J. Keller.
"In 1890, the cable railway
on Elm street originated with Dr. C. E. Keller and Mr. Hugh Harry
in San Diego, and the Pacific Cable Construction Company of San
Francisco, Cal. the company organized in Dallas, obtained charter
and right of way for six miles of road, and but for an accident
on the Seattle Cable Railway, preventing the sale of the bonds
of the Pacific Cable Construction Company on that road, our Dallas
cable railway would have been a success and in operation to-day.
The cable enterprise was kept alive by Dr. Keller and Mr. A.
W. Childress, after all others interested had abandoned it, and
they finally turned over the cable road to the General Electric
company, after $105,000 in cash had been expended, and the electric
road was substituted, which is now being constructed under the
supervision of Mr. Kenny McRae, and is soon to be in operation,
and we hope and believe it will be one of the best and finest
equipped roads in our country. When the Elm street railway is
completed, Dallas will have forty-two miles of single track within
her corporate limits. Among public improvements in cities, street
railways are important and a necessity to the masses, and he
who constructs and maintains these street car lines of a city,
is a public benefactor.
- o o o -
ROAD WILL BE BUILT
THE NECESSARY CAPITAL
RAPID TRANSIT SECURED.
Dallas and Fort
Worth to Be Closely
Connected and Perhaps
Other Texas Cities.
reporter of the Fort Worth Gazette has been investigating with
the following result:
- July 24, 1893, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 1-2.
"It is now an assured fact
that the Fort Worth and Dallas rapid transit line will be built
this summer. The necessary capital has been secured and the construction
arrangements nearly completed. The death of Mr. Perkins' mother
has requred his presence at her bedside, and for this reason,
the work has been delayed. As soon as he returns from the east,
work will begin and the grading will be pushed as rapidly as
the right of way can be secured. It has been almost definitely
decided the motive power will be electricity and the overhead
system of trolley wires will probably be used; but, there are
some recent inventions somewhat on the principle of a storage
battery, which are now being tested, and if any of these prove
satisfactory, the best one will be chosen instead of the overhead
system, owing to the saving in expense of the erection of trolley
wires, provided such motor is proved to be efficient and reliable
before the work of stringing the wires begins. It is said the
company has ample means, and if this line proves a success, others-connecting
cities as closely connected as Fort Worth and Dallas, or Houston
and Galveston-will be constructed. The
new motor, which the company is said to have in view, is also
under consideration by the St. Louis and Chicago Air Line Electric
railway, and as this line is being constructed with a view to
operating trains on a maximum speed of 100 miles an hour, the
motor chosen for it will assuredly be adopted by the Fort Worth
and Dallas Rapid Transit company, as it is desired to have this
a rapid transit line in fact, as well as in name. The project
is meeting with the cordial approval of the people along the
line and the more especially, as it is no longer a questin of
experiment, but an assured fact. It is said by many that this
is only a scheme in the interest of some railroad companies to
gain terminal facilities in Fort Worth and Dallas. This is not
the case. While the road will be so built and equipped as to
handle freight of all classes that may be consigned to it, it
will have its own motive power which will be operated by its
own men. It will accept business from railroads on regulard divisions,
but will handle this busines itself."
- o o o -
reliable" Texas and Pacific is perhaps in better condition,
boty physically and financially, than any other railroad west
of the Mississippi river. It has never made any cut in salaries,
and everybody is paid up promptly on the first of each month
from one end of the road to the other, and this is something
that can be said of very few roads in the country during these
hard times. The Texas and Pacific goes even ahead improving and
increasing its rolling stock, which keeps the shops running.
It has three big new engines due to arrive in a few days. During
the summer, a number of new bridges and depot buildings have
been put up and the track placed in first class condition. The
Texas and Pacific prepared for hard times in advance, and under
the excellent management of General Superintendent, L. S. Thorne,
it is pulling through in good shape, and will be in condition
to enter upon an erea of genuine prosperity as soon as business
- September 5, 1893,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 4.
- o o o -
Atkins is Putting His Road on
a Fine Basis.
Atkins of the Texas Trunk railroad says, that for the first time
in the thirteen years of its existence, the Trunk paid all expenses
and made some money during the year 1893. He looks forward to
a still better business for 1894.
6, 1894, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 4.
- o o o -
AT WHITE ROCK.
the Texas and Pacific.
FIVE FREIGHT CARS
for Their Lives and
Were Uninjured -- Repairs Being
Made and Traffic May Be
o'clock this morning, at the cut four miles east of this city,
near White Rock creek, a disastrous head-end collision took place
on the Texas and Pacific railroad between local freight train
No. 13, west bound, Conductor Bosley in charge, and No. 12, east
bound, George Allen in charge.
- January 13, 1894,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3-4.
Engine No. 222, which was pulling
train No. 13, was engineered by ------ Smith, with W. J. Paden,
fireman. This train is said to have been the one most in fault,
though the train dispatcher at Mesquite is said to have been
the direct cause, by giving the order to go ahead.
Engine No. 202 was pulling train No. 12, with O. P. Cuberly at
the throttle and B. F. Selson, fireman.
Both engines are of the new series
and known as Moguls. From the appearance of the wreck, the impact
of the collision was terrific. Engine No. 202 was completely
telescoped by a refrigerator car, and only the boiler is visible.
Train No. 13 caught fire after
the collision and two cars of block oil, two of merchandise and
one of lumber, were consumed. The railroad track will also have
to be re-laid for about fifty yards, where it was torn up and
injured by fire.
The appearance of things at the
wreck would seem to indicate that engine No. 222 was going at
a speed of about 15 miles an hour. It is completely demolished;
the boiler torn to pieces and tender burned. The other engine
is also badly injured. The loss to the railroad company is estimated
A telegraph operator was early
on the scene and an open air office soon in perfect working order
and telegrams passing as though the office had been there for
months. A large force of men were placed at work on the debris
shortly after daylight, and by to-night, trains will probably
be passing as usual.
None of the trainmen sustained
any serious injuries, for the engineers, seeing a collision was
inevitable, reversed their engines and they and their firemen
jumped for safety.
- o o o -
UP GOES THE
NEW MOTIVE POWER
ON THE OAK
Trains Begin Running
Propelled By the Electric Current.
Many Changes Made in the Train
Service -- The New Regime.
a change of motive power on the Oak Cliff railroad this morning.
That line has evoluted from steam to electricity, and on and
after to-day, electric cars will run every fifteen minutes.
- October 9, 1894,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 4.
This road, which is now in the
hands of St. Louis capitalists, with Mr. C. F. Carter, of Dallas,
as vice president, and Mr. Siebert as superintendent, is called
the Dallas and Oak Cliff Electric Railway Company.
The new cars run between Dallas
and Tyler station in Oak Cliff.
The substitution of electricity
for steam engines enables the road to give much more satisfactory
service than formerly, and makes all points on the line of the
road quite as accessible as points in the suburbs on this side
[of] the river.
All the electric cars on the road
are new and of the latest improved styles.
The change on the road lets out
ten men, who were fixtures under the old arrangement.
The opening of Cadiz street to
the lower bridge, by the city, also very much shortens the distance
between Dallas and Oak Cliff for those who travel by buggies,
bicycles or horseback.
- o o o -
March 29, 2004:
TO WARM UP THE
A COLD WEATHER REFORM
Proposed Law to
Have Cars Heated or
Closed from October 1 to April 1 -- Some
Call the Movement an Importa-
tion from the North.
bill, now pending in the Legislature, which proposes to fine
any street railway company anywhere from $50 to $100 for failure
to keep hot stoves in their cars from October 1 to April 1, is
being adversely commented upon, not only by the street railway
people, but by others.
- February 14, 1895,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3.
The proposed law is criticized
as too sweeping, as it would be as uncomfortable to ride in a
closed car with a red-hot stove during the hot days, which periodically
come during the time specified, as it would to ride in a car
without a stove during the coldest weather; in fact, the passenger
would be more apt to catch cold in the former case, than in the
The opponents of the proposed statute
declare that a law requiring street railway companies to have
stoves in their cars when the temperature is below a certain
point, would seem to be sufficient to cover the cases, if, indeed,
any legislation, at all, is necessary on the point; that the
Rogers bill seems to be an importation from Canada or Russia.
- o o o -
CITY NEWS NOTES.
S. P. Cochran, of the Consolidated street railway lines, has
placed small anthracite coal stoves in several of the cars on
his line, which are adding very much to the comfort of the public.
- February 14, 1895,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3-4.
- o o o -
April 4, 2004:
THE STEEL RAILS.
NEW TRACKS FOR THE
T. & P.
Work Resumed Between
Eagle Ford and
Fort Worth and to be Finished Within a
Month -- The Steel Rail Has Been
Ten Years in Texas.
of laying the new track between Dallas and Fort Worth on the
Texas & Pacific with the 75-pound steel rails, which was
suspended several weeks ago at Eagle Ford, because of the severe
winter weather, has been taken up, and is being pushed forward
as rapidly as circumstances will permit. It is possible that
the track will be completed to Fort Worth within a month. Railroad
men say that re-laying a track, substituting one kind of rails
for another, is more tedious and troublesome than building a
- February 23, 1895,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 5.
The evolution of railroad tracks
from the old-fashioned iron rails, which have largely gone out
of use, to the improved, heavy steel rail, is one of the greatest
advances made in the history of railroading.
Steel rails were first laid on
Texas railroads about the year 1885, and are now used on most
of the roads in the State. The 75-pound rails are considered
heavy in the South, but on some of the roads in the Eastern States,
steel rails, 200 pounds to the yard and 100 feet long, are used.
- o o o -
May 6, 2004:
PAUL FURST RECEIVER
OF THE QUEEN CITY.
Judge Gray Grants
the Application of
of the Forty Fourth District Court, to-day, granted the application
of the State Trust Company, of Boston, for a receiver of the
Queen City railway property of Dallas.
- April 17, 1895, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 1.
Judge Gray appointed Paul Furst
receiver of the road, and set the bond at $50,000. The appointment
will take effect as soon as Mr. Furst executes the bond and otherwise
- o o o -
June 17, 2004:
H. AND T. C. RAILROAD
the Towns, Cities
and Counties Along This
The Ox-Cart Days
of Northern Texas When
Jefferson Was the Commercial Center.
The Long Haul.
Houston and Texas Central Railroad, Jan. 4. -- (Special correspondence.)
-- Prior to the year 1872, the fertile black land section of
the country lying between Dallas and Red river, and for hundreds
of miles west, had no railroads. The carrying business was then
confined to stage coaches for passengers and ox wagons for freight
of all kinds. The counties of Dallas, Collin and Grayson, according
to the census of 1870, had [an] aggregate population of 41,654,
divided as follows: Dallas 13,314; Collin 14,013 and Grayson
14,327. Of these three fertile black land counties, Dallas had
the smallest population prior to the advent of the Houston and
Texas Central railroad. The 41,654 inhabitants of these three
counties, in addition to thousands of other people in northern
Texas counties prior to 1872, got all their supplies at Jefferson,
Tex., sold all their cotton there, and also much other produce
from their rich black land farms. These products were hauled
were hauled by ox wagons mostly from 100 to 125 miles from the
eastern Texas commercial Mecca of this immense section. During
the decade from 1870 to 1880, the beginning of the railroad era
in northern Texas, the aggregate population of the three counties
above named, grew from 41,654 to 97,575, as given by the official
census of 1880. Doubtless, this increase of nearly 56,000 people
in three counties was due more to the advent of the Houston and
Texas Central railroad than to any other cause. According to
the census of 1890, these three counties had grown in population
to 156,989, or an increase of nearly 60,000 over 1880.
- January 5, 1896,
The Dallas Morning News, p. 4, col. 1-2.
By the census of 1870, Dallas county
had less population than either Collin or Grayson. In 1880, Grayson
was the most populous county in Texas. By the census of 1890,
Dallas county is the most populous, Grayson second, and Collin
A quarter of a century ago, Jefferson,
Tex., enjoyed the finest wagon trade that any town in the entire
southwest ever had. Situated as it was, at the head of navigation
on Cypress bayou, the Jeffersonians thought that no influence
could ever be brought to bear upon their city that would detract
from its importance as a commercial center. All the rich, luxuriant
territory of northern and northwestern Texas, extending for 200
miles or more to the west was tributary to Jefferson. Train after
train of big heavy wagon loads of cotton, flour or bacon, drawn
by from four to six yoke of oxen, poured into Jefferson for over
six months of the year. These wagons hauled out as heavy loads
as they hauled in, carrying back merchandise or lumber to the
rich black lands of Dallas, Collin, Grayson and other counties.
This vast expanse of sparsely settled country was rich in grass
and cattle prior to the war, and after the war closed, it began
to develop into a fine farming country, also. For ten years following
the close of the war, cotton sold for 15 to 20 cents per pound,
and the wagon trains that usually came into Jefferson from the
prairies represented hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of
farm produce. Their loads out represented about as much in merchandise
Mr. F. E. Roberts, of Melissa,
Collin county, is a native of this county, and from childhood,
he used to accompany his father on his wagon trips to Jefferson.
When 13 [years] of age, he was just in charge of a wagon and
four yoke of oxen and made many trips to the eastern Texas mart
before the Houston and Texas Central railroad penetrated northern
Texas and diverted the great bulk of Jefferson and the pineries
of eastern Texas during the ox cart days of Texas, prior to 1872:
"Our route from this county
to Jefferson was from McKinney to Farmersville, thence to Greenville,
Black Jack Grove, Sulphur Springs, Winnsboro, Connersville, Mount
Pleasant, Daingerfield and Jefferson. These were the principal
points on our route. There were regular camping places along
the route, usually on some running branch or creek where water
and fuel could be had. I remember, particularly well, Four Mile
branch, our first camping place after leaving Jefferson. We would
spend the forenoon in trading and getting our wagons loaded,
and drive out to Four Mile branch and camp. Loller's store, situated
in the timber some distance east of Sulphur Springs, was another
popular camp ground, as was the bank of Sabine river, below Greenville,
and Sorrell's store on Pilot creek, Collin county, the last camp
on our return trip. It took from three to four weeks to make
a trip. Sometimes, the ground was so soft outside of the beaten
path, that we would leave our wagons right in the middle of the
road all night when we went into camp. Our load-down was usually
cotton, but sometimes, we took flour, corn or bacon, which we
usually sold before reaching Jefferson. We would frequently go
down to the saw mills this side of Jefferson, where we would
generally trade our flour and bacon for lumber. When we went
to Jefferson, we always returned with a load of merchandise for
merchants in our section. We got $2 per 100 pounds on freight
from Jefferson and the same rate on cotton or other produce we
carried down. A 500-pound bale of cotton cost $10 to get it to
Jefferson. About 1000 pounds to each yoke of oxens was put on.
"Our wagons were of the old
wooden axle style and a tar bucket swung beneath from the coupling
pole. Pine tar was the axle lubricator of those days, and was
also a popular and efficacious salve for all sorts of injuries
to our oxen or other domestic animals. If an ox happened to get
a horn knocked off, as was rather frequently done when long horn
steers were in vogue, the stub was wrapped with a rag saturated
in pine tar and soon healed up. The saw mill men usually gave
us all the tar we needed, whenever we bought a bill of lumber.
On our return trips, we would also throw a lot of rich pine knots
upon our wagons, which we used for kindling and lights. Sassafras
roots we often brought home from the sandy hills of western Texas,
also. We never failed to provide ourselves with a good lot of
hickory axe handle timber, for home-made axe handles were mostly
used then, and the forests of eastern Texas furnished our nearest
supply of good hickory.
"We usually went into camp
from an hour before, to an hour after, sundown, according to
the time we reached one of our regular camp grounds. We seldom
had such a thing as a tent, but frequently took along an extra
wagon sheet, upon which a pallet was made in front of a big fire.
We enjoyed our camp life and generally went in gangs of a half
dozen or more wagons. We would organize into messes of about
four to a mess, and divide the work among us. Two would look
after the oxen and the other two would do the cooking, make down
pallets and get the wood.
"We frequently had a fiddler
and his violin along, and music, laughter, jest and anecdote
occupied our leisure moments until bed-time. Card playing for
amusement was also a popular pastime. Sometimes, on the return
trip, there would be a barrel or two of whisky on some of the
wagons, and the bibulously inclined never failed to sample it.
The most usual way of doing this was by making a small hole in
the barrel with a nail and inserting an oat straw or a goose
quill and extracting the beverage by suction. Occasionally, some
teamster would suck too long and get tipsy; but, he was generally
sober enough by morning to navigate.
"We usually had breakfast
over with, and were ready to pull out of camp by sunrise or a
little after, but sometimes, a missing yoke of oxens would necessitate
a delay. On one occasion, I remember our crowd was detained two
days in camp for a missing yoke of steers. Most of the freighting
was done from 'the rising of the grass' about April 1, to about
Nov. 1. We never had to feed oxen during this period, as grazing
was good all over the country at this time, and they kept fat
on the grass they got at night. We usually traveled eighteen
to twenty miles a day. When we stopped to go into camp, the oxen
were unyoked and necked together with a necking-stick with a
raw-hide through at each end. A bell was put on one ox and his
yoke fellow was hobbled with a raw-hide strap; yet, even with
these precautions, a yoke of oxen would sometimes hide out and
be hard to find. They would learn to walk so lightly in the deep
sand of eastern Texas, that their bells would not rattle. Sometimes,
they would lie perfectly still for hours in a thicket and thus
evade pursuit. I have known as many as fifty-two yoke of oxen
turned loose from one camp, carrying with them, fifty-two bells,
and strange as it may seem, every teamster could recognize his
own ox bells in this melody of twinkling sounds. It reminded
me of a gigantic charivari party serenading some luckless couple
in an eastern Texas forest.
"We always carried axes, a
saw, hatchet and one or two augers along. I remember on one trip,
we came up with a freighter who had on a big load of cotton --
nine bales -- and one of the main pieces of his cotton frame
was broken. It was a sort of unwritten law among us to always
render any teamster whatever assistance he needed, in case of
a break down or other accident; so, we went to work to repair
his cotton frame. A yoke of oxen and two men were sent back to
a creek bottom three miles distant to procure a suitable piece
of timber, out of which to make a duplicate of the broken part.
This was drawn into camp, hewn to proper size, the necessary
holes bored and pegs made for holding the bales of cotton, and
the entire job completed before morning, but we worked nearly
all night on it.
"We had a great many inconveniences
to contend with in those ante-railroad days, to be sure, but
I believe we were as happy then as now. If a man was out of money,
all he had to do was to get up a team and go to hauling between
Jefferson and the prairies. He could get credit sufficient to
outfit himself if he was an industrious, honest man, and he could
make good money at freighting. Of course, I would not like to
see the same condition of things exist again. Indeed, ox wagons
could hardly supply this country now with goods, nor could they
carry the crops of northern Texas to market, as they once did,
when the population was less than one-third what it now is."
The above statements give one a
good idea of the condition of northern Texas prior to the advent
of the Houston and Texas Central railroad in 1872. Now, a yoke
of long horn steers is rarely seen in this section, and the old-time
heavy freight wagons of that period, with the inevitable tar
bucket swinging beneath, have been entirely supplanted by the
light two-horse farm wagons. Population has nearly quadrupled
in this rich section, numerous new towns have sprung up along
this line of railroad, and old towns on the route have grown
to several times their former size. These features will be noted
more fully in succeeding articles relative to the Houston and
Texas Central railroad.
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