Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Texas Towns and Cities Part One - Irving, Texas

Writers are encouraged to write about what they know.

Consequently, in my first historical Christian romance series, the Texas Romance Family Saga, I elected to use my new hometown of Clarksville, seat of Red River County and its surrounding locales in the far Northeast corner of the state.

I even located my hero & heroine’s home on the nine hundred acre ranch my husband and I presently live on seven miles south and east of the square.

With my new Cross Timbers Family Saga series, I decided to go back to my roots and set in it Irving, Texas where my husband and I grew up and lived over fifty years as my backdrop. My first twelve grandsugars all went to Otis Brown Elementary, across the street from our home.

Of yet, I’ve not named the settlement my four families in book one GONE TO TEXAS—the O’Neals, Worleys, VanZandts, and Harrells—homesteaded. In the series’ coming novels, the real life settlements of Sowers, Kit, Shady Grove, Union Bower, Finley, Estelle, and Bear Creek will be part and parcel of the stories.

As with our fictitious settlement in GONE TO TEXAS, these real life places sprung up because of pilgrims from all over the Eastern states hunting a new life on the wide open lands of Texas. And they brought like-minded friends and family along with them.

In 1903, all of that changed. Two young men, Otis Brown, twenty-four years old, and his boss, head of the Rock Island Railroad surveying crew, twenty-eight-year-old J.O. Schulze, surveyed a ten-mile stretch of land between the existing cities of Dallas and Fort Worth for the future rail line between the two cities.

Knowing what a boon the railroad would be to the area, Schulze suggested to Brown that it would be the perfect place for a town. The men left the employment of the railroad in the fall of 1902 and purchased eighty acres from Henry Britain who owned a ranch about nine miles west of Dallas.

Most of 1903, the worked diligently cutting timber and blowing out stumps then that December, they auctioned off forty town lots.

The only buildings in what was to be named Irving—Brown’s wife’s favorite author, Washington Irving—was the partially constructed railroad depot and the newly built home of Otis Brown and his wife Netta.

So unlike the afore-mentioned settlements, the Irving Community was planned because of the railroad. Two young men saw an opportunity and seized it. Schulze also built a home for his wife in 1904, but returned to Iowa the next year due to her poor health.

Brown stayed and became Irving’s first mayor in April 1914 when the city was incorporated, taking in all of the smaller surrounding settlements that Irvingite's today still know and love.

No comments:

Post a Comment