Reminiscences of the Early Days in Fort Worth

978-0-87565-287-0 Paperback
6 x 9. 102 pp. 13 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 03/18/2004
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In 1856 J. C. Terrell, a young lawyer in his twenties, stepped off a stage in Fort Worth, intending to travel on to California. Instead, he ran into an old classmate, Dabney C. Dade, who convinced him to establish a practice in Fort Worth—a city then in its infancy. In 1849 U.S. dragoons had established a fort on the bluffs above the Trinity River as part of the chain of posts protecting settlers against Indian invasion. Three years later the army abandoned the fort, but determined settlers stayed to build a city.

In 1906 Terrell sat down to pen his memories of those early days, recording reminiscences rescued from loss by the Terrell family scrapbook. His choice of subject matter was eclectic. He wrote of important settlers—E. M. Daggett and M. T. Johnson—and killing hogs, patriotism in the schools, and a Confederate reunion. His writing clearly reflects the attributes and mores of the turn-of-the-century in a frontier town. In an afterword, written for this reprint edition, Judge Steve King writes, “Parts of our past are well worth saving—to learn from and to emulate. Other parts are worth preserving in works like this—perhaps more to study, remember and guard against their return.”

Terrell’s reminiscences give us the only picture of Fort Worth in its first days written by someone who was there, who lived the city’s history. They also give us a clear picture of the author. What he wrote of Daggett and Johnson might well be said of Terrell: “Both were grand men, physically, morally and mentally. Neither were exemplary or saintly, yet both to us old settlers were veritable heroes. We loved them for the manifold good they did, and long years ago have buried their foibles.”

Published by Texas Christian University Press