Settlement of Farmers Branch
Farmers Branch was settled in 1842 by Thomas Keenan and his wife, Sarah. The area was called Mustang, as part of Peter's Colony, but later changed to Farmers Branch due to the rich soil and flourishing crops.
The settlement originally included all the land between White Rock Creek on the east, the Elm Fork of the Trinity on the west, the Dallas County Line on the north, and Cedar Springs on the south.
Farmers Branch was widely advertised both in the east and in Europe. During the years between 1845 and 1850, it was the best-known of all of the Texas settlements.
Tales of Settlement
There are many interesting tales of happenings in Farmers Branch Settlement, including native American raids on pumpkin patches and bears in the wilderness.
John Keenan was the first child born in Farmers Branch but died two months later. He is buried in the Keenan Cemetery located on Valley View Lane, part of the original Keenan land.
Early Settlers of Farmers Branch
A blacksmith shop and gristmill was started in 1845 by the Rev. William Bowles, a Baptist minister. The same year, Isaac Webb donated land for Webb's Chapel Methodist Church, which also served as the first school in the county. Mr. Webb also served as the first postmaster when the Farmers Branch Post Office was established in 1848.
Other early settlers included Dr. Samuel Gilbert and his wife, Julia. The couple lived with Isaac Webb until their home was completed in a grove of stately post oak trees. The Gilbert House consists of two-foot-thick limestone walls and chestnut plank floors.
The Gilbert House, located in the Farmers Branch Historical Park, is the oldest rock structure in Dallas County that is still on its original foundation.
First Farmers Branch School
The first school was not well-located, so a new one was built about a mile northwest of the first school on Rawhide Creek. Rawhide Creek was named from the first tanning yard in the county built by R.J. West. Due to the demand for leather, Mr. West did not allow the hides to cure in the vats long enough so that when they became dry they were extremely hard.
Farmers Branch Train Depot
In 1874, to assure that railroads would come to Farmers Branch, Dr. Gilbert and other local settlers sold right-of-way through their land. Around 1877, the Dallas and Wichita Railroad built a depot in Farmers Branch. This original depot has been restored and relocated to the Farmers Branch Historical Park.
The City of Farmers Branch was incorporated in an election on February 23, 1946. The population was 800 that year and has grown to more than 28,000 today.