||JOHN NEELY BRYAN, 1810-1877
MARGARET BEEMAN BRYAN, 1825-1919
In 1839 Tennessee lawyer John Neely Bryan chose this high bluff and shallow ford on the Trinity River as site for a trading post. Finding Indians scarce when he returned in 1844, he platted a town, installed a ferry, and called the place Dallas. In the 1840s, the Republic of Texas opened its Central National Road from here to the U.S. border, and drew settlers to this area with liberal land grants.
Margaret Beeman was a daughter of John Beeman, a prosperous man from Illinois, of North Carolina heritage. At 15, she met Bryan at the Cross Roads Camp Ground, Bowie County. Her father staked his claim about eight miles from Bryan's town. She and Bryan married in 1843, and became parents of six children. Margaret, her father, and other relatives strongly supported Bryan's work as "Father of Dallas."
Bryan went to the California gold rush in 1849, but gained no fortune. After his return, he donated 98 city lots for a courthouse and county seat, then sold his ferry and remaining interest in the townsite. In poor health for many years, he died in Austin at 67. Margaret Beeman Bryan lived to age 94, and saw Dallas attain a population of over 150,000. (1978)