The following first appeared in prior issues of our neighborhood newsletter Mistletoe Express. The various issues as indicated and referenced in the text. The history was researched and written by Wyatt Teague, one of our dear neighbors.

Mistletoe Heights History

By Wyatt Teague 1919-2008

First of a series 11/2005

I have been asked to write some history about Mistletoe Heights. It would seem appropriate to write some for a series of publications of Mistletoe Express. Because a great number of our neighbors are not native Texans, I think that the beginning should be at the early days of Texas.

On March 6, 1836, Texas gained independence from Mexico, and the Republic of Texas was created. The Texas Legislature, on Feb. 4, 1841, passed an act; "granting land to immigrants."

The first contract signed (Aug. 30, 1841) by the Republic of Texas under this act was with the Texas Land and Emigration Company. This company was formed by 20 investors headed by William S. Peters.

The first contract established the boundaries for a colony, beginning on the Red River at the mouth of Big Mineral Creek, running south for 60 miles, then west 22 miles, then north to the Red River, then east along the river to the point of origin.

This tract was commonly known as Peters'; Colony. Additional contracts for the Peters'; Colony were made along the eastern boundary, extending south to somewhere in what is now Ellis County, then west - in my imagination, since I have no records of such - to about the Johnson-Hood county line and then north to the Red River and east to the original contract corner.

On Dec. 29, 1845, Texas became a state and a part of the United States of America.

Because of the need for colonial protection, Gen. William Jenkins Worth, stationed in San Antonio, commissioned Brevet Maj. Ripley A. Arnold in 1849 to establish an Army post. The site picked was near the confluence of the Clear and West forks of the Trinity River. It later became Fort Worth.

Part two of a series 12/2005

With "Peter's Colony" established, a group of men - called the "commissioners" - were selected to handle the legal affairs.

In about 1848 (I haven't found this particular record), Ethelbert S. Harris applied for a landgrant. (He lived with his family in Sherman.)

Certificate No. 355 was issued April 22, 1850, granting Ethelbert S. Harris a "section" (640 acres, or one square mile) of land, in which our neighborhood, Mistletoe Heights, is situated.

The "section" was assigned to Lemuel J. Edwards on June 21, 1852, and ownership was transferred that day. The section was not surveyed, however, until Jan. 4, 1853.

According to the field notes of record, this survey indicates the following boundaries:

Starting near the intersection of Pennsylvania and Eighth avenues, draw a line south along Eighth to about the middle of the block between West Richmond and West Arlington. That forms the eastern boundary.

Then, for the southern boundary, draw the line west to what is now University Drive.

Thence, north along University Drive to the intersection of a line projected west from Pennsylvania Avenue (a point in Trinity Park). That forms the western boundary.

For the northern boundary, take the line eastward from the point in Trinity Park back to the starting point at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Eighth avenues.

Part three of a series 2/2006

L.J. Edwards died Oct. 8, 1869. The estate was inventoried and then filed with the county on Oct. 16 of that year. It was appraised by the Probate Court, and the 640-acre tract (now known as the E.S. Harris Survey) was appraised at $2.50 per acre - a total of $1,600.

The widow of L.J. Edwards, Elizibeth Edwards, was then the sole owner of the 640-acre parcel of land. (I also note that Elizibeth Edwards gained ownership of the George Shields survey of one-half of a section, 320 acres, to the north of the E.S. Harris Survey and valued at $5 per acre, or $1,500.) All this was filed for record on Oct. 19, 1869.

Sometime between 1869 and 1887 (I haven't found the records for this 18-year period), Elizibeth Edwards passed away and her daughter, Cynthia Ann (Edwards) Burford inherited this property.

On June 25, 1887, Cynthia Ann Burford conveyed for $900 and other considerations a strip of land 50 feet wide, extending from the south property line to the north property line, to the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Co. to construct a railroad and telegraph line.

Quote from the records: "William Burford, husband of Cynthia Ann Burford, formerly Cynthia Ann Edwards, ... was dead on 25 June 1887." (There is nothing to tell us that he did not die before that time. It seems odd to see that the deal with the railroad and an affidavit concerning his state of being bear the same date.) On Oct. 25, 1888, Cynthia Ann Burford was married to Maloney B. Sisk.

Part four of a series 3/2006

After Cynthia Ann Burford married Maloney B. Sisk on Oct. 25, 1888, the paper trail of Mistletoe Heights faded and is quite difficult to follow.

It was standard procedure in those early years to mark the corners of a "survey" with any number of things. For example: 1) a pile of rocks, 2) an oak wagon spoke, 3) a "certain" tree, or 4) a nail in a tree or post.

Now, almost all of the early survey monuments are gone. The "abstract of title" to real estate has long since been replaced by "title insurance," and there's no paper trail to identify former owners.

Cynthia Ann Sisk was the owner of 1 ½ square miles of prime real estate. There are several avenues of research that I have to check out to find the answers to many of the questions I have in mind.

Looking at a map of some of the real estate transfers at about that time, these questions arise:

Where did the name "Sangamo Park" come from? I've found that a party named "Buck" once owned that piece of today's Mistletoe Heights. And from what I've learned so far, it was transferred to a party named "Post."

Some of the names that I have to tie into the history are: J.M. Small, Cresswell, Chambers, A.J. Chamden, Darters and Harvey C. Lowrie.

Who set up the "Frisco Addition"? Who established the "Forest Park Place" subdivision? There are two filings for "Forest Park Place."

Who furnished the property for the construction of Lily B. Clayton Elementary School? When and how did Newby Park become a park?

I know that what I've written here doesn't provide much insight into the history of our Mistletoe Heights neighborhood. But with some luck and a lot of research, we will bring most of it together as a record.

Part five of a series 4/2006

I spent some time in the Tarrant County Archives since part four of this series was written, and in my research I found that some of the earlier information I had was incomplete, but not incorrect. I therefore must make some amendments to previous statements.

Let's go back to the death of L.J. Edwards on Oct. 8, 1869. He died "intestate" (without a will). His estate was inventoried and the inventory was filed with the Tarrant County Probation Court on Oct. 16, 1869.

The court appointed a group of men called "commissioners" to evaluate and partition to his heirs his real estate holdings. The commissioners were P.B. Smallwood, Lawrence Steel and James Marshall.

They returned their evaluations as follows: The 320 acres of the George Shields survey (one-half section immediately north of the E.S. Harris survey) assigned to L.J. Edwards was valued at $5 per acre for a total of $1,600. All of the E.S. Harris survey (640 acres) was valued at $2.50 per acre for a total of $1,600.

Since it was decreed by the court that Elizabeth Edwards, widow of L.J. Edwards, was entitled to one moiety of the real estate, there must have been enough money and other holdings to satisfy this requirement, judging from t= he partitioning of land by the commissioners as follows:

To Sarah Edwards: The 320 acres of the George Shields survey. (This portion has nothing to do with the Mistletoe Heights neighborhood.)

To Ambrose Cresswell: The north one-half of the E.S. survey's 320 acres. (This portion contains the northern part of our neighborhood, down to about Mistletoe Boulevard.) (I'm assuming that because Ambrose Cresswell was listed as a "son-in-law," this was also intended for his wife, Martha, who was a daughter of L.J. and Elizabeth Edwards.)

To Cynthia Ann Edwards: The southern one-half of the E.S. Harris survey's 320 acres. (This portion contains Mistletoe Heights from about Mistletoe Boulevard southward.)

Fire destroyed all of these records when the Tarrant County Courthouse burned on March 29, 1876. However, title abstracts of the above-mentioned decree were reconstructed from other records.

A "judgment substituting decree" replacing the destroyed decree on Aug. 28, 1878, and a certified copy were filed in the office of the county clerk (Book P, pages 52-59 of deed records) on July 19, 1879.

For the record and future reference, the children of L.J. and Elizabeth Edwards were: Martha Cresswell, Matilda Cresswell, Sarah Edwards, Charles O. Edwards, Cynthia Ann Edwards and L.J. Edwards.

Part six of a series 5/2006

A warranty deed dated April 11, 1876, and filed at the Tarrant County Courthouse on April 26, 1876, transferred title from A.S. Creswell and his wife, Martha Creswell, to T.W. Lake for the northwest corner of the E.S. Harris Survey.

The transfer was in consideration of $1,190. The sum of $590.40 was paid on the date of the recording of the document, and the balance was given as a note payable in six months. This note was paid in full on Nov. 22, 1876.

Now comes the interesting part.

The measurement of real estate at that time was the "vara" - 33.33 linear inches. This sale was for 100 acres.

The survey for this 100 acres began at the northwest corner of the E. S. Harris survey and was marked by a stake. (I imagine that the stake was not unlike a spoke from a wooden wagon wheel.)

From that point, the surveyors measured 622 varas south and 4.5 degrees east. (622 varas = 1,727.78 linear feet divided by 5,280 linear feet in a mile = 0.3273 mile.)

That point, marked by a stake, is just about in line with Irwin Avenue. From there, the surveyors measured 912 varas east and 9.5 degrees north (912 varas = 2,533.33 linear feet divided by 5,280 linear feet in a mile = 0.4798 miles) to a point in the east line of a 36-acre tract owned by A.J. Chambers.

That point is just about at Forest Park Boulevard (The A.J. Chambers tract is another story and will be detailed in a later part of this series.) Then they measured 595 varas (595 x 33.33 inches/12 inches per foot = 1,652.78 divided by 5,280 feet per mile = 0.313 miles) to a stake in the north lien of the E.S. Harris survey, then west to the point of beginning 955 varas (or 0.5024 miles).

That part from Forest Park Boulevard and north of Irwin Avenue (in our neighborhood) is in the Sangamo Park addition. Because T.W. Lake was from Sangamon County in Illinois, this addition was named after Sangamon in Illinois. I have no proof but it's a likely story.

Part seven of a series 8/2006

On Sept. 25, 1875, A.S. and M.A. Creswell gave power of attorney to attorney L.B. Creswell to handle the affairs connected with the disposal of their inherited property in the E.S. Harris survey.

From the information I've gathered, the first disposition was to Thomas W. Lake, which I discussed in part six of this series.

On Dec. 21, 1878, Lake conveyed a part of the property to the Texas and Pacific Railway for construction of a railroad. The price was $145 and the deed was filed and recorded on Jan. 29, 1879.

I've found many transactions that seem to give great insight into the development of our neighborhood, but they have referred to "Deed Records of Tarrant County, Texas," for the field notes giving the exact location of the transactions.

So give me a little time to do this research and I'll continue with the Mistletoe Heights history.

Part eight in a series 10/2006

Going back to part seven: On Dec. 21, 1878, Thomas W. Lake conveyed to the Texas and Pacific Railway, for the sum of $145, the right of way for the purpose of building a railroad. The deed was filed and recorded Jan. 29, 1879.

I couldn't find a survey "field note" to give the exact location with the exception of this passage: "grant, bargain, convey and relinquish to the said company over said lands, the same to extend 75 feet in width on each side of the center of the track of said road together with the use of the water, stone, gravel, etc. pertaining to the land so granted and conveyed. I hereby empower said company to enter upon, survey and appropriate said land and its appurtenances without further contract or consent on my part."

We know that the railroad runs southwest/northeast at the north end of our neighborhood. This transfer of property was a 150-foot-wide strip from near what would be the intersection of Pennsylvania and 12th avenues, if both were extended, southwest to a point at about University Drive and a line about parallel to the extension of Irwin Street.

At that time, no thoroughfare paralleled the railroad. That was not to be until the spring of 1890, when an 80-foot right way was deeded to the county (running from the north line to the west line of the E.S. Harris survey) on the north side of the railroad. It got the name of 'Benbrook Road." We know it now as basically "West Vickery."

There's a tract of land (about 103 acres, more or less) that contains the Sangomo Park addition, which was in the district courts for at least 10 years. I'm working on how and when the Sangomo Park addition was developed. I have the survey and notes for the development of Mistletoe Heights addition but I haven't yet arrived at that time frame in this history narrative.