Birdville Historical Society
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Historical Markers

 

These markers are the ones in the Birdville community consisting of those in Haltom City, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills, Smithfield and Watauga.

 

 

 

Historical Buildings, Cemeteries, & Other Landmarks

 

Historical People

Historic Trails, Trees, Etc. 

 

 

tn_Birdville_Baptist_Marker_(2).jpg
Organized late in 1853 by J. Boone, S. Elliott, J. Freeman, W. Giddens, and R. Pickett\r\nAfter an 1856 - 64 lapse, ten members reorganized as the United Baptist Church at Fossil Creek.\r\nIn 1917 Congregation adopted present name.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee in 1971. Birdville Baptist Church is located in Haltom City and celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary in November of 2003.)
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The oldest marked grave in this pioneer community cemetery is that of Wiley Wilda Potts (Dec. 20, 1822 - Dec.15, 1852). The one-acre tract, then part of the George Akers Grant, was legally set aside for burial purposes before 1860. More land was later donated, and by 1910 the site included 3.27 acres. Birdville Cemetery Association, organized under a 50-year charter in 1917, was rechartered in 1967. The cemetery contained 552 known graves in 1965. Several families have four generations buried here in the same plot. The site now encompasses seven acres and is still used for burials.\r\n\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1975 and the Birdville Cemetery is located in Haltom City.)
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On February 26, 1852, soon after Birdville became the Tarrant County seat, 12 charter members attended this congregation's first worship service. After reorganizing in 1882, the members met in the Birdville School building. In 1900, Richard M. Gano, the well-known evangelist and Confederate general, conducted a revival. This land was acquired from the John McCord family and a frame building was erected in 1906. After a 1950 fire, this brick auditorium was constructed and then repaired after a 1970 fire.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1979. Birdville Church of Christ is located in Haltom City and it celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary in March of 2002.)
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First (1849 - 1856) county seat, Tarrant County, with 80 acres for public use.\r\nCourthouse foundation was laid on site donated by G. Akers and W. Norris. After courts upheld -- in Walker vs. Tarrant County -- vote in bitterly contested 1856 election, Fort Worth became the county seat.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas State Historical Survey Committee in 1968. The site of Birdville's courthouse is located on Birdville's hill along with other historic Birdville landmarks. This site is now occupied by Birdville ISD's Wiley G. Thomas Coliseum.)
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Clarence "Barber" Cobb, born in Alabama and remained there until 1919. At the age of 18 moved to Smithfield, because in his own words, "He was a rambling man." Clarence purchased this barber shop that had been at this location since the late 1800s. The name was changed to Cobbs Barber Shop and Clarence was now known as "Barber" Cobb. In the early days a shave and haircut was 25 cents. Barber Cobb owned and operated his shop in Smithfield for 65 years.\r\nMarvin D. Smith, born 1947, was raised on a farm near here and received his first haircut at Cobbs Barber Shop. Mr. Smith has graciously dedicated his time and efforts to the preservation of historical landmarks in Smithfield, such as this shop, which he restored in 1986.\r\n(This marker was placed here by Marvin Smith in 1986. Cobb's Barber Shop in located in North Richland Hills.)
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Henry Jackson Harper (1844 - 1928) brought his family to this area from Tennessee in 1894. This cemetery was begun when the child of a family traveling through the area died and was buried in a grove of trees on the Harper farm. Harper's grandson, Henry Mayton (1896 - 98), was the first family member interred here. Other family burials include those of Harper children and grandchildren. Harper's wife Mary Jane died in 1922, and he was buried next to her in 1928. His is the last known burial in Harper's Rest Cemetery.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1989 after it was sponsored by the Haltom City Council on April 4, 1988. Harper's Rest is located in Haltom City.
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Alfred M. Hightower came to Smithfield from Illinois with his family in 1858 and became a rancher. When the debate over secession arose, Hightower opposed it, but when the Civil War began, he sided with the South. As a mounted rifleman in the Confederate Army, Hightower fought in many battles, including Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge) in Arkansas, one of the biggest battles west of the Mississippi. After the war, he relocated to Kansas during the 1870s, but returned here in 1880 and continued ranching until his death. Nearby Hightower Street is named in his honor.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1991 and it stands next to Hightower's grave at Smithfield Cemetery. Smithfield Cemetery is located in North Richland Hills.)
tn_Archibald_Franklin_Leonard_Marker.jpg
A native of Pennsylvania, Archibald Franklin Leonard (1816 - 1876) moved to Missouri in the 1830s, where he married Mary Ann Foster (1822 - 1904) in 1839. In 1845, along with many of their neighbors, the Leonards migrated to Texas. Leonard was awarded land in the Peters Colony and settled near present-day Grapevine. Much of Grapevine's business and residential areas are sited on land once owned by him.\r\nArchibald Franklin Leonard's significant record of achievements in this part of the state includes active leadership in early area Baptist churches, along with Henry Clay Daggett, he opened the first civilian store in Fort Worth. After the creation of Tarrant County in 1849, Leonard was elected to the office of first county clerk. He later represented Tarrant and surrounding counties in the twelfth Texas Legislature.\r\nKnown as a prosperous businessman and farmer, A.F. Leonard helped lay out the town of Grapevine in 1855, two years after opening a mercantile store there. In 1856, he helped establish Leonard's Mill on the Trinity River around which a community developed and which later became known as Randol Mill. Leonard served as part of the home guard during the Civil War and died at his home in Birdville in 1876.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in the year of the Texas Sesquicentennial, 1986. It stands next to Leonard's grave at Birdville Cemetery. Birdville Cemetery is located in Haltom City.)\r\nBirdville Fact: The first official election in Tarrant County took place under a tree next to A.F. Leonard and H.C. Daggett's civilian store. This election took place in 1850 and it was voted that Birdville should be the first county seat of Tarrant County.
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A native of Kentucky, Riley Andrew Ransom studied medicine at Louisville National Medical College. Upon coming to Gainesville, Texas, during the early 1900s, he opened the Booker T. Washington Sanitarium. In 1918 Dr. Ransom moved the hospital to Fort Worth, where he served as chief surgeon until the facility closed in 1949. He is remembered for his community leadership and for his significant contributions to the development of health care in Fort Worth.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1985 and it stands next to Ransom's grave at New Trinity Cemetery in Haltom City.)
tn_Eli_Smith_Marker_1.jpg
A native of Missouri, Eli Smith moved to Texas in 1859 with his parents. They settled in this part of Tarrant County, and in 1868 Smith married Sarah J. Hightower. About 1876 Smith donated part of his farmland to the community, then known as Zion, for a Methodist church and cemetery. Residents of the area honored Smith for his generosity and community service by renaming the settlement Smithfield. Smith remained an active mason and a successful farmer until his sudden death shortly before his thirty-first birthday. He is buried at this site.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1984 and it stands next to Smith's grave at Smithfield Cemetery. Smithfield Cemetery is located in North Richland Hills. This marker is one of two honoring Eli Smith.)
tn_Eli_Smith_Marker_2.jpg
A native of Missouri, Eli Smith moved to Texas in 1859 with his parents. They settled in this part of Tarrant County and in 1868 Smith married Sarah J. Hightower. About 1876 Smith donated part of his farmland to the community, then known as Zion, for a Methodist church and cemetery. Residents of the area honored Smith for his generosity and community service by renaming the settlement Smithfield. Smith remained an active mason and a successful farmer until his sudden death shortly before his thirty-first birthday.\r\n(This marker was placed here in 1984 and is located in North Richland Hills. This marker is one of two markers honoring Eli Smith; the other marker is next to Smith's grave at Smithfield Cemetery and was placed there by the Texas Historical Commission in 1984.)
tn_Judge_Benjamin_Franklin_Barkley_Marker.jpg
In 1855 Benjamin F. Barkley, a Kentucky physician, with his wife Malinda Elizabeth Duncan (1827 - 1917) and their children settled on a farm at Birdville. There he practiced medicine, became a lawyer, and a charter member of Masonic Lodge No. 148 in Fort Worth. In 1856 Dr. Barkley tried unsuccessfully to keep the county seat at Birdville. As a republican leader, he spoke out against slavery and secession. Barkley was admired for donating land for Birdville's cemetery and participating in Indian campaigns, but his strong will and pro-union stand stirred anger in the area. He barely escaped death several times.\r\nBarkley treated wounded Confederate soldiers and aided their families despite his opposition to the Civil War, and served as local postmaster during the war.\r\nDuring reconstruction, Barkley headed the county registration board which denied the vote to former Confederate supporters, he was appointed county judge in 1867 and used federal troops to maintain order. With great courage he fought to protect the rights of the ex-slaves. He left office after democrats won all county offices in 1873, but remained active in law and medicine throughout North Texas for the remainder of his life.\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Texas Historical Commission in 1979 and it stands next to Barkley's grave at Birdville Cemetery. Birdville Cemetery is located in Haltom City.)
tn_Bird_s_Fort_Trail.jpg
To protect lands of the Republic of Texas for settlement, General Edward H. Tarrant commissioned Maj. Jonathan Bird to build a fort near Caddo Village on the West Fork of the Trinity River.\r\n\r\nMaj. Bird and 36 volunteers left Fort Inglish, later Bonham, in October 1841, and built a fort some three miles north of modern Arlington. They cleared a wagon trail from the fort, which was the first Anglo settlement in Tarrant County, back to Fort Inglish. Both the trail and the for were named for Maj. Bird, and shortly thereafter, some 20 families followed Bird's Fort Trail to the new settlement. The Beeman family from Illinois, which in 1842 resettled downriver at John Neely Bryan's Village, later Dallas, was among this group.\r\n\r\nSam Houston, President of the Republic, traversed Bird's Fort Trail via Grapevine Spring during August/September 1843, to negotiate with several Indian tribes. Subsequently, "A treaty of peace and friendship" was signed September 29, 1843, at Bird's Fort and became the best observed of all Indian treaties in Texas.\r\n\r\nBird's Fort Trail followed this ridge, from which the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters overlooks the Grapevine Prairie and modern Irving.\r\n\r\n(This marker was placed here by the Irving Heritage Society along with the Boy Scouts of America in 1990 and stands in a courtyard in front of the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters in Irving.)
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Henry Clay Daggett & Archibald Franklin Leonard Established a trading post on this site in 1849. The first election in Tarrant County was held under this tree in 1850 and Birdville voted the first county seat. (This historic tree is located at Trader's Oak Park in Fort Worth.)