Duck Creek was the name of two communities, sometimes called Old Duck Creek and New Duck Creek, located in northeastern Dallas County; their site was within the present city limits of Garland, fifteen miles northeast of downtown Dallas. The first Duck Creek, at the present junction of Garland Road and Duck Creek, had its beginning as one of the original settlements of the Peters colony. Early settlers were attracted to the area by the many springs along the creek. The first schoolhouse, a log structure built sometime after 1846, was replaced by a frame building in 1852. This second school also served as a meetingplace for the Baptist and Methodist congregations. In 1854 Duck Creek acquired a post office, which it retained until 1866. About 1868 the school was named Duck Creek Academy. Overcrowding caused the school to move into the Grange Hall at an unknown date and later into the Methodist Church. In 1880 a new one-room school was built on the site of the old school. The Masonic and Grange Hall was moved to the school and added onto it as a new wing. Permission to establish a Duck Creek Masonic lodge was granted on September 19, 1873, and a charter was issued on June 7, 1875. In 1874 a store was established on the west bank of the creek, and in 1876 a corn mill was built. Duck Creek acquired a post office again in 1877. By 1884 the community had a district school, three churches, two gristmills, three steam cotton gins, and three general stores. Its population of 100 included three physicians, two teachers, one carpenter and a carpenter-wagonmaker, one blacksmith, and one shoemaker. Two years later the town acquired a patent roller flour mill, which was built on the east side of the creek. The largest business in Duck Creek is said to have been the Grange store, known as the Duck Creek Co-operative Association, which closed in March 1887.
In 1886, first the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe and then the Dallas and Greenville railroad bypassed Duck Creek. The Santa Fe built a depot about a mile to the east, while the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (which acquired the Dallas and Greenville later in 1886) established a depot less than a mile to the north. Both railroads bought land from William A. Tinsley and laid out towns adjacent to their depots. The community established by the Santa Fe was named Embree, after Kelley H. Embree, a physician, storekeeper, and Duck Creek postmaster. The community laid out by the MK&T took the name Duck Creek, and was also known as New Duck Creek. Thereafter, residents of Old Duck Creek moved to one or the other of the new communities. Sometime in 1886 or early 1887 the Duck Creek Rustler moved and became reincarnated as the Embree Enterprise. On February 1, 1887, the Duck Creek post office was moved to the Santa Fe depot at Embree.
The site of New Duck Creek is in Garland south of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (later the Missouri Pacific) tracks and north of State Street. After the (Old) Duck Creek Rustler moved to Embree, John H. Cullum moved to Duck Creek at the urging of Thomas F. Nash, manager of the Grange store, and established the Duck Creek News, whose first issue appeared on April 8, 1887. Duck Creek remained a shipping point for area farmers. By late October 1887 it had shipped about 2,000 bales of cotton for the season and still had "a large quantity" on hand.
New Duck Creek and Embree engaged in an intense rivalry, with several attempts made by one town to take over the other. In April 1887, one or more Duck Creek partisans had a map recorded that gave the whole area the name of Duck Creek. The two towns also obtained injunctions to prevent each other from incorporating. In spite of this, Embree was incorporated on November 12, 1887. Two weeks earlier, on October 29, Congressman Joseph Abbott, who was traveling to Washington for the opening of Congress, stopped at Duck Creek at the request of local residents to look at the situation. Shortly afterward he succeeded in having the post office moved to a site midway between the two depots. The new post office, established on December 9, 1887, was named Garland, after United States attorney general Augustus H. Garland, reportedly a friend of Nash's, Cullum's, and Abbott's. In 1891 Garland was incorporated and absorbed Duck Creek and Embree. That same year the Duck Creek News became the Garland News.