|| Big Spring, a natural water feature located in the White Rock Creek Valley near its mouth on the Trinity River in Dallas County, was claimed in 1842 by John Beeman, the patriarch of the first family to settle permanently in the county. Prior to Beeman’s claim, the site was occupied by Native Americans for centuries. In the fall of 1843, Republic of Texas President Sam Houston and his Indian treaty delegation and entourage camped at the site enroute to Bird’s Fort. Houston engaged James Jackson Beeman to be his guide to replace the ailing John H. Reagan.
When John Beeman died in 1856, the north half of the Big Spring tract was inherited by his daughter, Margaret, who married Dallas founder john Neely Bryan in 1843. The entire Bryan family made their homes here in the 1860s and 1870s. After John Bryan’s death, Margaret sold the property to Edward Case Pemberton, who had recently emigrated from Illinois.
Edward Pemberton reared seven sons, farmed and operated a dairy here and a store on the Kaufman Road nearby. He acquired additional acreage in the area which was inherited by his widow and sons when he died in 1914. Pemberton descendants continued to live and farm on most of these properties through several generations.
Big Spring’s private ownership spanned more than 160 years by three prominent pioneer Dallas families: Beeman, Bryan and Pemberton. The spring and bottom lands were purchased by the City of Dallas in 2003 as part of the Great Trinity Forest Project.