This Texas Historical Commission marker, erected in 1973 beside the south side WPA pergola, commemorates one of Dallas' most dynamic pioneer couples. The marker, which is also situated near the site of the Cockrell's Greek Revival mansion (long ago demolished), reads as follows:
(June 8, 1820 - April 3, 1858)
SARAH HORTON COCKRELL
(Jan. 13, 1819 - April 26, 1892)
Alexander Cockrell came to Dallas area in 1845. After serving in the War with Mexico (1846-47), he filed on 640 acres in the Peters Colony, and married Sarah Horton on Sept. 9, 1847. Cockrell operated a freight line to Houston, Jefferson, and Shreveport until 1852, when he purchased remainder of the Dallas townsite from John Neely Bryan (1810-77), the "Father of Dallas."
Cockrell promoted growth of the village in the mid-1850s by building a brick factory, a sawmill, and a bridge across the Trinity River, replacing a ferry he had bought from Bryan. Cockrell's influence on Dallas' prosperity ended April 3, 1858, when he met an untimely death in an altercation over an unpaid debt.
Sarah Horton Cockrell became the first woman in Dallas to exert economic influence outside the home. She completed the unfinished St. Nicholas Hotel, and rebuilt it after the fire of July 8, 1860; operated the ferry after the bridge collapsed in 1858, until a new span was erected in 1872,; and added a flour mill and other businesses to the community. The Cockrells' enterprises played a vital role in the establishment of Dallas as an early regional trade center.