In 1848 Benjamin F. Boydstun,
Terry U. Wade and Jared Stephens arrived, all brought their families to the region to establish a farming community. Stephens, Boydstun and Wade were hoping to establish a trading post on the eastern shore of the East Fork, with the hopes it would bring them prosperity with river travel and that their settlement would eventually become a town that would offer them closer business dealings than having to travel to Kaufman or Dallas. Although friends, the three men were at odds among themselves, each declaring to be the first settler at the site and deserving to have the future town named for themselves.
In 1849 James Truitt settled two miles north of Rockwall and established a community called Locust Grove, and after living in a make-shift cabin for a few years, in 1851 Terry Utley Wade and his family began building a permanent house on the east side of the East Fork of the Trinity River valley near the western edge of the present site of the Rockwall square.
How Did The East Fork of the Trinity Influence Rockwall's History?
Find out HERE
In the process of digging the homestead water well, Mr. Wade hit a stone formation. Further digging and investigation discovered a "rock wall" below the surface. The wall ran an extended length across Wade's property and that of his neighbors.
Because of its man-made appearance the settlers believed an ancient civilization had built the wall. They decided that fact meant that none of them were actually the "first settler" of the area, and instead of calling their new settlement after themselves they named it for the rock wall, resolving their differences. On April 17, 1854, Elijah Elgin donated forty acres of his land to establish a town at the site, centrally located in the "panhandle" of Kaufman County. This community became known as Rock Wall, now Rockwall.
The first post office in the area was known as Black Hill and offered the residents of the region a chance to get mail without traveling twenty plus miles to Kaufman. The post office was transferred to the new town of Rockwall in 1855. During the early years, Rockwall consisted of little more than a post office, blacksmith, grinding mill, church, a general mercantile and a Masonic Lodge.