Mansfield History 1922
Mansfield History Written in 1922
Mansfield is situated in the extreme southeast corner of the county, near the lines of Johnson, Ellis and Dallas counties. It was founded in the early '50s by Captain Julian Field. He erected a small lumber mill to saw post oak logs, and the first few stores built here were made largely of oak lumber. Captain Field started the first store, general merchandise, hauling the goods by wagons from Houston, Texas. In the late '50s Captain Field and R. S. Man erected a three-story steam flouring mill, the first to be built in this part of the state, the only mill before this being small water mills on the Trinity River, at or near Fort Worth and Eagle Ford. This mill had practically a state-wide patronage. There would be trains of Mexican ox-teams from the San Antonio country, of eight or ten yoke of oxen to the wagon. The oxen would push the wagons by having wood bars strapped in front of their heads instead of pulling their loads by yokes and bows around their necks, the American way.
Messrs. Field and Man had a government contract to furnish flour and meal to the posts of Fort Belknap and Fort Griffin, which was shipped by wagon trains. On one trip the train crew was ambushed by Indians and the whole crew massacred, the wagons burned and the mules run off. This was in Loving's Valley, near the Young and Jack county line.
About 1869 Rev. John Collier started Mansfield College, a co-ed institution, the best known educational institution in north central Texas, with a large patronage from various counties in the state. It was the pride of the town and one of the most successful institutions in this section of the state.
In 1877 Professor Collier was joined by Professor Smith Ragsdale, an educator of state-wide prominence, and his estimable wife, "Aunt Patsy," as she was affectionately called by the students. Mrs. Ragsdale was the daughter of the pioneer educator of Texas, Dr. McKensie, of Clarksville, Texas.
Among the prominent men educated here are Judge Ocie Speer. William Poindexter of Cleburne, J. H. Stephens, for a long time con gressman of the "Jumble District" in West Texas ; Oscar Gillespie, congressman from the Fort Worth district, and Leon Fox, congressman from Mississippi.
Among the earliest recollections of the writer is an address, delivered to the students of the school, by Captain B. B. Paddock, then editor and proprietor of the Fort Worth Democrat, in the winter of 1875.
Prior to 1876 there were no furniture or undertaking houses here or in. Fort Worth. Whenever a death occurred P. G. Davis, one of the earliest settlers, would have to make the coffin. He would make it of lumber and tack black velvet on the top and sides, making a fine job for those days.
The old mill was torn down a few years back and on the site is a Memorial Hall, erected in honor of the boys who responded to the call to the colors in the World war in 1917. A granite shaft is nearly completed with names. Mansfield is very proud of the number that went from there and grateful for the fact that only one of them failed to return. This one was Jesse Nelson, son of Mrs. R. A. Smith of Mansfield. The citizens of the town also showed their loyalty when called upon for Red Cross funds and the purchase of Liberty Bonds. - History of Texas, 1922, by W. Barrett Travis.