Description: Monument of John Peter Smith, with the City Hall in the background. SMITH, JOHN PETER (1831-1901). John Peter Smith, known as "the father of Fort Worth," was born on September 16, 1831, in Owen County, Kentucky, to Samuel and Polly (Bond) Smith. When he was seven years old, Smith and his family moved to Ohio County, Kentucky; however, both of his parents died near Hartford in 1844, leaving him and his five brothers as orphans. Smith chose to live under the guardianship of W. H. Garnett, a cousin. As a teen Smith received an excellent education in the public school system. During the late 1840s he entered Franklin College in Indiana, and in 1850 he began a program at Bethany College in Virginia, graduating in July 1853 with first honors in mathematics and ancient languages. After graduation Smith returned home only to leave four months later to move to Texas. By December he arrived in Fort Worth and decided to make it his home. In January 1854 Smith obtained possession of an old army hospital left abandoned by the Second United States Dragoons. In this building he began the first school in the city. Although because of ill health he maintained classes for only three months, the school house was eventually transformed into the Male and Female Academy, reportedly the first permanent educational facility in Fort Worth. The schoolmaster quit his job in 1855 to begin employment as a surveyor and land locator. For the next five years Smith worked at this job, while he simultaneously studied law with A. Y. Fowler. District Judge Nathaniel M. Burfordqv admitted Smith to the bar in 1860. When the Civil Warqv broke out in 1861, Smith voted against secession;qv however, when Texas joined the fight, he promptly began to show his support for ...
Creator: Henderson, C. L.
Item Type: Refine your search to only Photograph
Partner: Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room