Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas. Page: 178 of 1,110
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HISTORY OF DALLAS COUNTY.
train to Dallas was crowded like a street car
during the State Fair.
The pioneers were full of the history and
tradition of Dallas county. much of which
was sacred to the memories of the past.
Mr. W. P. Overton, although seventy-one
years old, has a light step, lithe form and
clear blue eyes, while his flowing white beard
gives him a patriarchal appearance. He
came to the county in 1844, and a few years
afterward opened a farm five miles south of
the city of Dallas, which is his home to this
"When. I first came to Dallas," he began,
his mind stretching back nearly half a century,
theree was a little pole hut on the bank
of the Trinity, occupied by John Neely Bryan,
and a rough courthouse made out of postoak
logs, and that's all there was of Dallas.
John Neely Bryan was living under bond to
marry his wife. It was to far to go to get
a marriage license then. I think license for
the first marriage in Dallas county was issued
from Nacogdoches, in 1845. There
were very few preachers in the country in
those days. Among the number was Amy
McComas of Missouri, long since dead.
"My father put up the first gristmill ever
built in the county. It was a horse-mill and
the first bushel of wheat ground was for old
uncle John Cole, Jack Cole's father. Before
the mill was put up the people ground their
corn and wheat in mortars or hand mills.
Coffee mills were frequently used to grind
the meal. When we put up our mill people
brought grist to it from 100 miles away, and
I have seen as many as twenty-seven wagons
there at the same time waiting for their turn.
We ground out about 100 bushels a day,
which was considered a good day's work. I
have lived in Dallas county ever since I came
here except two years that I was in California
along in 1849-'50. Texas is the best
country in my opinion under the sun. California
is a good country, but it has only two
seasons, wet and dry. I don't think that
God ever made a better country than Texas.
Take a belt through Grayson, Collin, Dallas,
Ellis and Navarro counties and you have, in
my opinion, the best country in Texas. In
its early settlement it was dry, but we always
made enough to do us and sometimes
something to spare. We have as fine crops
this year as 1 have ever seen in the county.
We had better times before the railroads
came, we could sell everything we raised,
money was more plentiful and everybody had it
then. A ten-year-old boy had more money
then than the average farmer has to-day. It
has gone into the hands of the few and we can't
get it as we used to. The winter that I returned
from California I bought pork, but I
never have bought any meat since, though I
have sold thousands of pounds. When I first
came to this country it was no more like it
is now than chalk is like cheese. Men were
not trying to swindle each other. I could
go to Dallas and lie down with $100,000,
and itwould be there next morning. There
was no stealing those days, and if you wanted
to borrow $500 or such an amount you didn't
have to give a mortgage to get it. I knew
men to borrow $500 and never give a note.
"I was a member of the first jury impaI
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Lewis Publishing Company. Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas., book, 1892; Chicago, Illinois. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth20932/m1/178/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Public Library.