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Arlington's First Property Owners - 1876 (Part 3 of 5)

There were 22 persons who were original purchasers of lots in the new town of Arlington, from the first auction by the T & P Railway Co. on July 26, 1876, through to the end of 1876. The names of all of these persons were shown in a table in the first installment of this article. We have previously covered the purchases of R. S. Johnson. The balance of this article will describe eight more of these original purchasers, the lots they purchased, what they did with these lots, and what subsequently happened. Like R. S. Johnson, these eight persons purchased lots on the west side of the newly platted town of Arlington, i.e., on the west side of Center Street, and on West Main Street.

W. H. White

W. H. White bought lot 4/48 on the west side of South Center Street for $60 on July 28, 1876. In the 1870 census, he was 25 years old and had wife Mary and two sons. They farmed in Plant, Pulaski County, Arkansas, getting mail at Little Rock. He had a personal estate of $500. He sold the Arlington lot to John W. Ditto for $60 on August 28 of that year. However, he did not leave, living in 1880 in the "Village of Arlington," according to the census taker, with a growing family and the profession of carpenter.

J. W. Ditto came to the cross timbers area very early, as we have seen, built a log cabin and freighted manufactured goods here from the river port of Jefferson, Texas. He also farmed southeast of Arlington, later owned a general store, and became a banker. Along with A. W. Collins, he gave the land to establish Arlington College in 1895.

J. W. Ditto sold lot 4/48 to Henry Lampe for $300 on December 18, 1876, the deed mentioning lot and property. Presumably, Ditto had built a store there, the store in the middle in the photo, "Arlington's First Three Stores." Henry Lampe was born in Prussia, his wife Sarah in Alabama and the three children they had by 1880 in Arkansas and Texas. They lived outside the "Village," with M. J. Brinson for a neighbor, south of town.

Henry Lampe sold the store to George Lampe for $300 on September 10, 1880. George was about the same age as Henry, born in Germany, and wife Lena was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. Their children were born here, where he was a blacksmith, his shop on the northwest corner of Abram Street and Center Street, an attraction to boys in the town. He was also a surveyor and land developer.

On April 11, 1901 George Lampe bought from the T & P lot 5 and a narrow slice of the north part of lot 7 in block 48, six feet wide at the alley in back and 2 feet wide at Center Street. The latter shape fits into the remainder created when the T & P abandoned the right of way for the Fort Worth and Dallas Road, soon to be renamed Abram Street. George, Christine and Lampe descendants are buried in Arlington Cemetery.

C. C. Wilson

C. C. Wilson bought lot 1 block 18 on August 1, 1876 for $150. This lot is on the southwest corner of the Main Street/Center Street intersection. It, like the lots further west, faced Main Street and is a prime location where a bank would eventually locate. In the 1880 census Wilson and his family were living in Fort Worth where his profession was grain dealer.

He sold 1/18 to S. A. Daniel on October 20, 1876 for $75. Solomon A. Daniel was a bachelor school teacher at the Johnson Station School in 1872-3 and at Hayterville by 1875. Andrew Shannon Hayter, Presbyterian preacher and surveyor, built a store there which became a postal station with Solomon Daniel as postmaster effective July 29, 1875. At that time, the stagecoach route out of Dallas came to Hayterville and turned to the south from there to Johnson Station. However, James Ditto, with a goal of becoming postmaster, built a store across the road on his brother John W. Ditto's land and soon bought out Daniel and succeeded him as postmaster there before the move to the Arlington location after the railroad came through.

The next sale of 1/18 was J. S. Johnson and Catherine Daniel to J. C. Roy on April 20, 1878 for $250.

E. M. Murphy

E. M. Murphy bought lot 2 of block 18 on July 28, 1876. This lot is on the south side of West Main Street, second from Center Street. He and his wife Mary J. Murphy subsequently sold it to L. C. Vaughan on June 8, 1877 for $60. In 1880, the Murphy family was enumerated in the census in Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, where he was a grocer.

J. C. Middleton

"Mr. Middleton had the first drug store in Arlington. In 1876 or 1877 Mr. Middleton and Mr. Copeland established the first lumber yard." J. C. Middleton was a son of Dr. Alfred K. Middleton and his first wife Frances Hutcheson. The doctor moved from Tennessee to Texas and settled in the Johnson Station area with 240 acres in 1869. J. C. Middleton began as a travelling representative of a Saint Louis firm.

J. C. Middleton first bought lot 3/18 on July 28, 1876 for $80.94. It is the third in the row on the south side of West Main Street. There can be no doubt that he made a successful drugstore business there since on March 11, 1878 he sold it for $2500 to his father, Dr. A. K. Middleton, older brother W. O. Middleton and J. O. Copeland. J. C. bought it back for $800 on December 21, sold it to B. C. Copeland for $1000 on August 18, 1879 and in subsequent years brought I. L. Hutcheson and L. L. Jopling into the business. By July of 1880 J. C. Middleton was living in Dallas, a single man in a boarding house on Pacific Avenue, profession druggist.

On November 2, 1876 Middleton and Company bought lot 1 block 40 for $140. This is the place where the lumberyard was built on the north side of West Front Street in the third block west of Center Street and just across the street from the railroad siding. It is quite likely that Mr. Copeland operated the business, but when it was sold to Fleichell and Company of Gregg County for $540 on Feb 20, 1878 J. C. Middleton was the sole owner.

Dr. A. K. Middleton and J. C. Middleton are both buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Western Portion of 1900 Sanborn-Perris Map Modified to show the original north/south configuration of Lots 1-4 of Block 18, facing W. Main St. By 1900 these lots had been reconfigured to face South Center St. (Block numbers are in bold—3, 18, 47, & 48) (Lot numbers are at the foot/front of each lot)

William Harrison

Lot 4 in block 18 on the south side of West Main Street was purchased July 28, 1876 by William Henry Harrison for $79.63. Block 18 would go on to have six consecutive occupied lots, the most completely developed business section in the new town that year and even longer when the developed lots around the corner on the west side of Center Street are considered.

The Harrison family is the earliest to arrive in Texas of our pioneers. William's parents Jonas and Ellender Harrison arrived in East Texas in December 1820. Harrison County is named for Jonas. William Harrison was born September 27, 1833 near Tenaha, now in Shelby County, Texas, but at that time a municipality in Mexican Texas. After Jonas's death August 6, 1836, widow Ellender, William and brothers Clint and Thomas J. Harrison came to Tarrant County in 1850. William married Mary Jane Finger, daughter of Lewis and Christena Finger, who had been in Tarrant County by 1846 and owned a section of land they patented just southeast of Arlington.

The 1850 census of Shelby County, Texas found the widow Elenor Harrison, 49; sons John, 20; Thomas J., 18; William, 16; and daughter Almira, 14. The boys were all farming and all of the children were born in Texas. The combined estates of Elenor and John were $1600. By 1870, in Tarrant County, William and his family reported an estate worth $2,500.

M. J. Brinson sold William H. Harrison 200 acres out of the Thomas P. Helms survey for $500 on January 6, 1859. The location was about one mile northwest of the Sol Davis survey in which the center of Arlington would later be placed. The location is also described with respect to the Peters Colony survey of the region as "section 21 of Township 1 south, 3 west." The original deed was burned up in the courthouse fire on March 29, 1876, so the present one was dated as refiled on May 6, 1876.

On October 17, 1870 William Harrison bought for $18 the timber on three acres of William Burford's home place along Johnson Creek to "fell, burn, move or cause to be moved off said land at his own convenience."

On January 6, 1872 William Harrison bought 480 acres out of the north half of the W. W. Warnell survey from A. B. Mullins for $400. This lies on the west side of present N. Fielder Road at Randol Mill Road.

And finally, his mother Elenor Harrison sold him 320 acres consisting of the east half of the Simon Moore survey for $320 on August 20, 1875. This is to the west of the Thomas P. Helms tract that he bought from M. J. Brinson to begin with. These and other tracts of land in the area became known as the Harrison Community where the Harrison School was located.

At first, William entered the livestock business, acquiring 1800 acres of land. In 1878 he went into business with Ditto and Collins in a general store and in 1879 on his own, selling hardware and groceries.

William also bought from the T & P lot 4 in block 65 on the south side of North Street between Center and Pecan Street in 1881 and in 1882 bought two business lots on the north side of East Main Street, lots 7 and 8 of block 4, certainly for the business. He is said to have built a home on West Division Street and owned a large tract of land to the northwest of town where he resumed cattle operations. Members of the Harrison family are buried in Arlington Cemetery and Watson Cemetery.

The original town lot 4/18 was sold to B. A. Mathers for $200 on November 17, 1888. B. A. Mathers was Arlington postmaster from 1893 to 1897.

R. M. Chapman and Alfred Miller

These gentlemen were partners in the purchase of lot 5 block 18 for $79.98 on July 28, 1876. Although described as Tarrant County residents in the deed, neither the partnership nor their residences were very stable. On November 11, 1876 Alfred Miller sold his half share for $50 to his partner R. M. Chapman of Ellis County. In the 1870 census, Chapman, 19 years old at that time, was living in Red Oak apparently with his parents. By 1880, he and wife Ella were in Precinct 7 of Ellis County, a farmer-merchant. However, when he sold lot 5/18 to I. L. Hutcheson on December 4, 1882 for $20, his residence was in Johnson County.

Isaac Lafayette Hutcheson was born in Tennessee, where he was employed in a dry goods store as a young man. After very rough Confederate service in the Civil War, he came to Texas in 1866 and went into business in Alvarado. He reported an estate valued at $11,000 in the 1870 census at 46 years of age. In that year, he, wife Ruth and seven children moved to Johnson Station, where he took over a general merchandise store and operation of the stagecoach station. Their home was described as "refined and hospitable" and proved a worthy successor to Middleton Tate Johnson in that respect. He was one of the founders of Masonic Lodge 438, which met on the second floor of his store.

Lot 5/18 is the fifth lot on the south side of West Main Street. By 1882 there were also some businesses on the north side of the street. By 1894 Hutcheson and his son W. T. were selling dry goods from a brick store at their location downtown.

I. L. Hutcheson and some members of his family are buried in Arlington Cemetery. Others are in the Johnson Station Cemetery.

G. A. Sergeant

Gustavia A. Sergeant of Tarrant County bought lot 6 block 18 for $90 on July 28, 1876, being the sixth lot on the south side of West Main Street and the one making the west end of the row that sold in 1876. It was soon sold to G. W. Coulter on November 8, 1876 for $75. The 1880 census reveals that at that time Sergeant was a single white male 33 years of age boarding in Precinct 8 near Bedford in the home of Doctor William N. Baldwin, and employed as a druggist.

George W. Coulter was a native of Hamilton County, Tennessee residing there with his grandfather Thomas Coulter, father John J. and three brothers and sisters in 1870. Nearly all would come to Texas shortly thereafter. George Coulter married Mariah McKnight in Tarrant County on December 12, 1877 and they had two sons Paul Leslie and Charles J. Coulter, all of them participating in operating a drugstore in Arlington.

That was in the future, however, as the 1880 census of the household of G. W. Coulter found fifteen in residence, G. W. Coulter, Mariah and baby Paul L., then John A. Martin, hotel keeper, wife and six children, and last J. W. Killy, livery stable keeper and three children of his own. This seems to be the early hotel operating on West Main Street. In 1878, McAtee and Coulter bought lot 2/3 on the north side of West Main Street, the location of the remembered Coulter's Drug Store.

George W. Coulter, Mariah, and Paul Leslie are buried in Arlington Cemetery.

Mrs. Fidie B. Wagner

This young woman became the owner of lot 1 in block 3 for $135 on November 25, 1876 in Harrison County, Texas, her home at the time, as well as the center of Texas and Pacific Railway Company offices and facilities. The lot is at the northwest corner of Main and Center Streets, one of the four best business locations in Arlington, but still available at that late date.

The question of her origin and business purpose is not solved by finding her with her husband G. G. Wagner and two year old daughter living in Weatherford in 1880. She was 23 years old, keeping house, with three boarders, who were a laborer, a carpenter and a merchant. G. G. Wagner was a commission mechanic and their neighbors there were professional men and skilled tradesmen. The T & P had completed the track into Weatherford one month before the census date, so we can presume that the Wagners were a railroad family.

George G. Wagner and wife Fidie B. Wagner had already sold lot 1/3 for $200 to Alfred Miller, previously partner of R. M. Chapman, on February 18, 1878. They did this from Smith County, on the track east of Dallas. Alfred and Sophia Miller then sold it to J. C. Roy for $300 on March 7, 1878. Everybody profited on this strategic location.

Read Part 4