|Denton County History
A History of Lewisville
From an early newspaper account
November 1, 1912
Lewisville, Her Past, Present and Future.
Show me a nation of happy homes and farms and I will show you a nation of happy and prosperous and contented people. Tell me of the growth of a town and I will tell you of the character of its people. The stability of our government rests upon the stability of our homes; and the stability of our homes rests upon the excellency of the man(sic) and women who compose these homes. Consequently, where yon (sic) find good homes and good citizens, there must be a good community and fine land to support those people, Nature has endowed our fair city with marvelous advantages in location, health, and the highest class of her citizenship and the fertility of her soil, So. it is no spirit of "City Boom" or "City Bragging" that we take this occasion of telling of Lewisville -- her past, her present and what there is in the future for her.
Lewisville is about 23 miles from Dallas and 17 mlles (sic) from Denton on the M.K. & T.R.R. It is on the J.W. and A.C. King headright (sic) who settled in this section in about 1844. Steve Hyatt was the next property owner here who sold his property to Thos. Kealy, uncle of L.M. Kealy of the present mercantil (sic) firm of Kealy & Bradley. In 1862 Rawlins, Kealy and Herod organized and built a grist mill on South Mill street and east of Farmers' and Merchants' Gin. The first store to be opened in this section was in 1855 on the place now owned by J.S. Huffhins, (sic) about one mile west of town. It was conducted by Thos. Dorsett, who owned this farm at that time. He moved the store to Lewisville during the Civil War.
In 1865 E.K. Rawlins brought in a little stock of dry goods and kept them at his residence, which was a double roomed log house just back of E.R. Sherrill's present residence. In 1867 Uncle Joe Minor built a small house on the corner where Stover brick now stands and opened up a small saloon. In about the same year Woodrum and Davis built a little box house on the lot now occupied by the J.A. Hatcher brick building, which they used for a general merchandise store.
In 1866 D. J. Rawlins built a very good frame store room on the lot now occupied by Kealy & Bradley, which was used as a general merchandise store. Along about that time the Indians were committing depredations such as stealing, etc., and trying to kill the settlers. The people of Lewisville and surrounding country received a severe scare. It was reported that the Indians were comming, (sic) burning and killing as they came. Every family on this and McCurley prairie left their homes and sought protection in the Rawlins Kealy and Herod grist mill. The report however, proved false. The alarm was sounded by some school children between Big Elm and Little Elm. They mistook some cowmen, who were wearing red blankets as the Indians did, for Indians.
The First Cotton Gin.
In 1867 the first cotton gin erected in this county was built in Lewisville on the lot where Mrs. Cobb now lives in West Lewisville, better known as the Uncle Billie Cowan place. It was built by Mr. T.M. Claytor and Geo. Craft. When building this gin they paid 50 cents per pund for the nails they used. This gin did the work for Denton, Wise and Tarrant counties. They put up the first season 17 bales of cotton. They ginned probably 100 bales, but it was all carried away by the women for quilting as it was brought but the 17 bales. It had in connection a carding machine, which was afterwards moved by Kealy and Rawlins to the site where the Farmers' and Merchants' Gin is now located. It burned down shortly afterwards, this being Lewisville (sic) first fire.
Slowly the town grew. School was conducted in the "Old Hall," a building which was located where the "Old Hall" Cemetery now is. This building was also used as a church. All denominations had service there. In about 1868-69 the first church was built in Lewisville by the Methodists.
There are several traditions as to how Lewisville secured its name. One is that it was given this name by the Indians. Little Santa Anna and Big Tree, two Indian chiefs, were captured by the Americans in the upper end of Wise or Montague county and were carried and put in jail at Huntsville. Sometime afterwards they were redeemed by trading and bought and the Americans were carrying them back and camped on the high hill on Riley farm some seven miles east of here. The next morning the Indians looked towards Lewisville and says younder (sic) is "Lewisville." The next night they camped at the grist mill in Lewisville and the above story was related by one of our oldest citizens. Another and probably more reliable tradition is that it derived its name from old man Lewis, who owned the headright (sic) where Mr. W.A. Purnell Sr. now lives.
The history of Lewisville was still slow in changing until the M.K. & T.R.R. reached here in 1881, when both town and community began to grow and develop rapidly, until today it is one of the most densely (sic) popular (sic) towns in North Texas, as it is verified by its splendid markets, the hustling farmers that come to it and the amount of produce shipped in and out of town.
Lewisville has 25 brick businesses, and half dozen (sic) frame buildings, two of the best banks in Denton County, one a National, the other a State, two good gins, a floyring (sic) mill (not at the present running), two large lumber yards, a good electric light and water system, local and long distance telephone exchange, and many other enterprises and stores.
It is located on high, rolling prairie and the drainage is perfect; consequently it is a remarkably healthy town. It has 20 artisian (sic) wells, some of which flows (sic) and some do not. The water is secured at a depth of from 160 to 225 feet and good surface water can be secured by digging from 18 to 30 feet. The trading territory of the town is from eight to fifteen miles in each direction.
Lewisville is well supplied with schools and churches. The Lewisville Academy is second to non (sic) in Denton county as and educational institution. The building also reflects credit on the little city in which tt(sic) is located. It is a modern two-story brick with hot air heating aparatus. (sic) The Methodist and Baptist (sic) have nice brick church buildings, the Presbyterians a splendid frame nicely seated and the Church of Christ a good frame building.
There are a number of school buildings in the different communities around Lewisville that are equal in beauty of architecture to those in the smaller towns of the State.
25 JAN 2003
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