A Guide to the History of Dallas, Texas

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Timelines of Events in Dallas History: 1850s


Aug. 31: In a run-off election, Dallas is chosen county seat, winning over Hord's Ridge (now Oak Cliff).

Oct. 30: Making good an election pledge, Bryan and wife donate land for county courthouse and 96 other lots.


n.d.: First cotton crop in Dallas County is planted by James A. Smith.


n.d.: Smith's cotton crop (22 bales) is transported down the Trinity River aboard the "Dallas," a boat built by Adam Haught (one of the veterans of Preston Witt's Mexican War company)to Porter's Bluff in Ellis County. Bales are transported from there to Houston by wagon.

n.d.: Lawyer John C. McCoy builds first frame house in Dallas.

n.d.: Frenchman Maxime Guillot opens Dallas' first wagon and carriage factory on the site of the present-day Sixth Floor Museum.

Aug. 7: For $7,000 Bryan sells remainder of his Dallas lots, along with ferry concession, to Alexander Cockrell, to take effect March 1853.



Feb. 24: Alex Cockrell opens Commerce Street toll bridge across the Trinity, in place of old ferry service.

n.d.: "La Reunion" settlers arrive from France. Establish communal colony is what is now West Dallas.


May: Thinking he has killed a man in a gun fight, John Neely Bryan flees Dallas. Although the man survives his wounds, Bryan remains in Indian Territory for several years.


April 5: In first election, Dr. Samuel B. Pryor elected Mayor of Dallas, 58 to 34 votes.

Feb. 2: The town of Dallas is officially incorporated by the State of Texas.


n.d.: La Reunion colony fails. Many colonists across the Trinity River to Dallas.

n.d.: Alex Cockrell's wooden bridge across the Trinity River is washed away in a flood.

April: Alexander Cockrell killed in a gun fight in the street in front of his house. The man who shot him, a sheriff's deputy, is acquitted.


n.d.: Sarah Cockrell's St. Nicholas Hotel opens; named for its manager, Nicholas Darnell.

March 2: Eldred's Circus, complete with elephant, is the first to come to Dallas.

October: A four day county fair is held on the site of present-day Baylor Hospital.

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