THE STORY OF WHITE SETTLEMENT
This early history or White Settlement was prepared by Frances Colwell and Y. S. Morgan of the White Settlement Historical Society and presented at a Chamber of Commerce Appreciation Banquet for the White Settlement Firemen and Policemen and presented to the City Council in celebration the Bicentennial Anniversary of the American Revolution
White Settlement goes back to the earliest days of the Texas Republic. Soon after his election as the first President of Texas in September of 1836, Sam Houston attempted to increase land values by increasing immigration to Texas. Colonization and settlement were encouraged by the General Office established in 1837. Large tracts of land were granted to those who would settle them, and the "Homestead law" guaranteed that a homestead could not be confiscated to pay debts other than the one contracted in paying for the settler's land.
One of the earliest men to take advantage of the liberalized land policy was Logan Vandiver who received a "Headwright Certificate" dated February 16, 1836 to a 1476 acre tract just west of the Trinity River where the present city of White Settlement is located. The area was heavily infested with Indians and in 1840, across and east of the Trinity River, Bird's Fort was built. This stockade was about twenty miles away from the settlers west of the Trinity and afforded them little or no protection. In September of 1843 a treaty was signed at Bird's Fort by representatives of the Republic of Texas and Indian tribes which opened the door for more pioneers to claim the fertile plains of the "Grand Prairie" in what is now western Tarrant County and Parker County.
The Indian problem was definitely not settled for many years to come. Apparently both Indians and Whites were not too careful to keep the treaty and other tribes, not included in the treaty moved into the area. The settlers must have been very happy to see a small army outpost established on the bluff above the junction of the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River. The camp was started on June 6, 1849 and on November 14, 1849 the war department officially designated it Fort Worth. On December 20.1849, the creation of Tarrant County from the Northern portion of Navarro County was signed into law by Governor George T. Wood and was named in honor of General Edward H. Tarrant, a veteran Indian fighter and a Representative from Navarro and Limestone Counties.
White Settlement goes back to the 1840's before Fort Worth was established and when there were seven Indian villages in the general area and only one non-Indian settlement. Pioneers from Tennessee and Kentucky first immigrated to Texas in search of a better way of life for themselves and their families and were willing to take the chance with Indians and Indian uprisings. Texas was thought of as the "Land of Promise" where settlers could buy land for 50¢ an acre and "squatters" who were willing to settle on land without deeds were given preemptive rights to buy 320 acres of land at that price.
One such settler was John Press Farmer and his wife and daughter who were living in a tent on the new site. A native of Tennessee, Farmer had sampled East Texas before moving westward. He and his wife had cut some timber and their home was almost complete when Indians were sighted. The Farmers fled on horseback. When they returned their home was charred rubble.
Life was not easy. As the settlers continued to come, the early pioneers produced sturdy type of citizenship that the people of this area was proud to honor. If it had not been for the unselfish devotion to these settlers in behalf of this community, it would not be here today. White Settlement can be rightfully proud of its first citizens.
White Settlement became a trading outpost on which comparatively peaceful Indians came to rely because of the honesty of the white settlers and the goods they dealt in. Here the migrating pioneers from the east found a fine rich country, carved out of homesteads among the Indians, and others called their area "the white settlement".
In 1854, a well-equipped ten wagon train with a number of residents from Kentucky, leaving crowded conditions and exhausted land, headed west with their destination Texas. The new arrivals hoped to get a fresh start. They settled to the west of Fort Worth in a community that came to be known as White Settlement. Many of the planters brought slaves with them. Many of them settled on land pre-empted from the State and grazed fine herds of cattle along the banks of a creek named Farmers Branch. Early settlers streamed in and made their living from the rich land. Cabins were built near a branch or creek as this was source of pure clear water. The bottom lands were rich and fertile and virgin land yielded bumper crops. The settlers caught fish, trapped deer, wild turkeys and prairie chickens for food.
As the pioneers continued to move westward bringing their families to the area, the need for a school came about in the early 1860's. It was a small one room log cabin, (which stood where the runway the Carswell Air Force Base is now located, known as Pecan Grove). It also served as a central gathering place for the community.
Like other settlements in those early days, the religious needs of the people were soon provided. Soon after the one room log school house was built, the Baptist Church was organized and on February 8, 1868 became known as the New Prospect Baptist Church.
During the early days as other pioneers migrated to this part of Texas the prairies succumbed to the plow and the settlement which is known as White Settlement developed into a prosperous farming community. This way of life continued through the reconstruction period and continued to grow.
White Settlement went through World War One and depression in the 1930's. War clouds began to come over the horizon in the late 1930's and the population explosion started. With a population of approximately 500 inhabitants an aircraft plant was constructed on its northeastern boundary. An army airfield was established on the east, and White Settlement grew rapidly to a population of 10,000. The school district doubled in January 1943 and the home increased from 200 to 1200 in one year.
Streets were named honoring local pioneers: Cherry Lane, Dale Lane, Farmer Road, Grants Lane, Harwell Street, Normandale Boulevard, Redford Lane, Rowland Street, Smith Street, Tinsley Road and Mirike Drive. These pioneers were well-respected throughout the area and were proud of White Settlement.
Constant improvements in all phases of the public domain continues to be the key to the development and continuity of the city and of the cheerful and wonderful people who make up the city of White Settlement. Many improvements have been made throughout years in the mode of life in White Settlement with the construction of many churches, elementary schools, high school.and junior school or middle school, a city hall, a hospital, post office, bank and a fire hall for the volunteer fire department, two rest homes for Senior Citizens, a Chamber of Commerce and numerous commercial and industrial buildings and firms. With Inter-state Highway 20 on the south White Settlement anticipates more progress. Our city is in the midst of one of it's greatest periods of growth in our history. We are moving forward and should continue to do so. With the completion of the Northwest quadrant of Loop 820, it will be like opening the Western frontier again. It would be well at this time to reflect on the humble beginning of our city. The untiring efforts of our predecessors in meeting and solving problems should inspire us in our efforts to face and resolve the difficulties of this day. We must grow in a progressive manner or face the prospect of stagnation. White Settlement is fortunate by reason of its location and its access to the great metroplex. May we continue to be guided by building of a new frontier as set by our founders and provide an even better community for our children.
In this year of our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Six White Settlement has a current population of approximately 14.000 inhabitants within its five square miles.
The White Settlement Chamber of Commerce is proud to present this to the White Settlement City Council and to celebrate the Bicentennial year of the American Revolution.
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