A few months ago I posted the oral history of Junius Peak as dictated to the Frontier Times (Bandera, Tx) on August 6, 1927… If you are interested in reading this post, click HERE.
The name Peak is likely familiar to East Dallas residents. Captain Jefferson Peak, a veteran of the Mexican War, donated much of the land for East Dallas roadways. Many streets within Munger Place and Peak Suburban Historic Districts were named for Captain Peak’s eleven children including Junius, Worth, Carroll, and Victor.
The following is a history provided by Captain Jefferson Peak’s grandson, Howard W. Peak, on the subject of “Visiting Our Grandparents”. This is a fascinating glimpse into life in the mid-1800s.
Born in 1856, Howard Peak was the first male child born in the ‘little settlement of Fort Worth’, bringing the population to sixty-eight. He worked as a traveling salesman and later owned H. W. Peak Safe Company in downtown Ft. Worth, selling the first safe to Bill and John Ward when they opened the White Elephant Saloon in 1884.
|White Elephant – 2013|
Howard Peak died in 1939. Since this history is lengthly I will present it (unedited) in sections. Unfortunately, the original source was not dated.
In the late 1850s and up to the 1890s, it was customary for our family who was residing in Ft. Worth to make an annual visit to our Grand parents in Dallas.
The month of July was usually selected, for at that time we were well worn by the heat of summer, besides it was fruit and vegetable season, and the school vacation was on. Grand Pa had large gardens and orchards of most all kinds of these luxuries.
Captain Jefferson Peak and Malviny (the name of our Grand parents) lived in a brick house about two and one half miles east of Dallas, on an Estate of about 800 acres. Commodious out houses, pastures and fields, with stock of all kinds, buggies, carriages and riding ponies, served to make comfortable this estate.
The family consisted of the two heads, Grand Pa and Grand Ma, their children Aunt Sarah (Mrs. Harwood) husband and family, Aunt Juliette Fowler, a widow, Aunt Florence (Field) and Uncles Wallace, Jeff, June, Worth, Victor and Matt.
Our family consisting of Dr. Carroll M. Peak, and Mother, Sister Clara, Myself, Carroll Jr. and Everett (both dying young) and Sisters Lily and Olive.
Weeks before the day set for our pilgrimage – we children would discuss our anticipated trip and days prior to starting, mother would begin preparations for same, and long before daylight on the prescribed morning our horses would be fed, the hack greased, fodder in bundles tied on top of the trunk behind, and by sun up old Absalom would have the team in front of the gate where all of us would be ready for a “Sun Up” start.
Our way lay south east, where we crossed the Sycamore about where the Interurban track now crosses same, and we followed the Dallas road which led south of the Interurban track, crossing Village Creek at old Carter Cannons place card on to Johnson’s Station, which was the residence of Col. M. T. Johnson, a very wealthy planter and the original owner of the tract of land on which Ft. Worth is located. There we oft times stopped, unhitched our team and while it was feeding, we would lunch. After an hour of rest we would resume our journey, and by the middle of the afternoon reached the Goudsell’s, a French settlement near where the Interurban crosses Mountain Creek. Our route then deflected to the north east under the hill following the route now traversed by the Texas Pacific R.R.
The county was full of hog wallows and in rainy weather was very hard to travel over, the sticky mud congregating on the wheels of the vehicle. Taking a slow gait on account of the hot weather and heavy load it would be about sun down ere we crossed the Trinity over the old bridge at the head of what is now Commerce Street in the village of Dallas; a brick Court house and a few one story brick stores, and a two story frame hotel (the Crutchfield house) on the bank of the Trinity at the head of Main Street were about all to be seen of the now magnificent city of Dallas. Pursuing our journey east ward along the lines of what are now Elm and Main streets, for about two miles we emerged from the timber and on to a plateau which we traversed for a half mile and through the big gate, into the great yard of Grand Pa’s to the great delight of not only ourselves but, to those with whom we were to spend a fort-night.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.