Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
Alexander Cockrell buys Dallas townsite
August 7th, 1852
On this day in 1852, Alexander Cockrell paid $7,000 for the portion of the John Neely Bryan homestead that included the Dallas townsite and the Trinity River ferry concession. Bryan, a Tennessee native born in 1810, had settled at a natural ford on the east bank of the Trinity in 1841. In 1844 he persuaded J. P. Dumas to survey and plat the site of Dallas; he was also instrumental in the organizing of Dallas County in 1846 and in the choosing of Dallas as its county seat in August 1850. Cockrell, born in Kentucky in 1820, first came to Texas in 1845 and later established a claim on 640 acres in the Peters colony, about ten miles west of Dallas. He and his wife moved to Dallas in 1853 and began operating a brick business, one of several Cockrell enterprises that established the main lines of trade and development in Dallas. Cockrell replaced the toll ferry with the first bridge across the Trinity River; to protect the toll bridge, Cockrell acquired hundreds of acres of land on the river. In 1858, Cockrell was killed in a gunfight with a city marshall. Bryan died in the State Lunatic Asylum in 1877.