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Tarrant County History 1922

Tarrant County History Written in 1922

Tarrant County, Fort Worth as its chief city, was created by act of the Legislature December 20, 1849, about a year after the establishment of the military garrison at Fort Worth. This act contains some directions as to the location of the county seat, "the place receiving the highest number of votes shall be the place established as the county seat of said county of Tarrant and shall be called Birdville." The county was organized in August, 1850, and the county offices located at Birdville, an old settlement now marked by a few weather-beaten buildings that hardly tell the story of its ambitious struggles to become a metropolis. The rivalry between Fort Worth and Birdville over the county seat was an important chapter in the early history of the county, The act of the Legislature August 26, 1856, ordered an election to be held in the following November to decide among the proposed sites for the county seat, and at that election Fort Worth won by a bare plurality. The election was contested, and finally the Legislature directed that the citizens of the county should again vote to determine the matter. That election occurred in April. 1860, when Fort Worth received 548 votes, over 301 cast in favor of the location at the center of the county, while old Birdville received only four votes out of the total.

Tarrant County until after the Civil war was on the frontier. Its settlement began under the auspices of the Peters colony grant of 1841, and the first settlers came into Tarrant County about 1843-44. A place known as Bird's Fort was in existence as early as 1843, and an important council with the Indian tribes was held there. The establishment about 1848 of Fort Worth and Fort Graham, the latter in Hill County, was the signal for the influx of permanent settlers. In a few years the establishment of other forts further west caused the tide of emigration to move out to the counties west of Tarrant, but the unsettled conditions that began with the Civil war decade and the persistent incursions of hostile Indians beginning about the same time and continuing until about 1870 drove back many of the more western settlers. Indian raids occurred in Parker County as late as 1870, and one or two murders were committed by the Indians in Tarrant County as late as 1865.

At the census of 1850 the white population of Tarrant County was 599, and sixty-five slaves. In 1860 the total population was 6,020; in 1870, 5,788, showing a slight decrease from the preceding census ; in 1880, 24,671 (2,160 negroes)  in 1890, 41,142; in 1900, 52,376 (5,756 negroes) ; in 1910. 108,572 ; in 1920, 152,809. In its agricultural development Tarrant County has shared similar fortunes to those of other North Texas counties, and the early settlers derived their chief income from the grazing of stock rather than from the production of the field crops. In 1858 it was estimated that about sixteen thousand acres were in cultivation in the county. Corn and cotton were the chief crops. but it was soon demonstrated that wheat could also be grown, and at different points over the country were established small mills. Supplies came by long and difficult transportation from the railroad points in South Texas. A short time before the war communication was opened to St. Louis and tributary country by the establishment of the Southern Pacific Mail Route, which ran a line of stages from St. Louis to the Red River, and thence across Northern and Western Texas toward San Francisco.

Continued

Location

32° 45' 19.764" N, 97° 19' 50.772" W