|"Look out here with me now. . ."
John Milton McCoy was one of the pioneers of the city of Dallas, Texas. Following are excerpts
from letters he wrote to his family in Indiana, describing the growth of the city. These are from
the book, "When Dallas Became a City: The Letters of John Milton McCoy, 1870 - 1881."
The groves of trees John McCoy's uncle planted "with his own hands" had long since been replaced
by skyscrapers by the time I first saw Dallas, as a child.....as had the court house of which he
spoke so proudly.....and the "new" bridge across the Trinity River. But the bustle of the 1870's
was more than evident a hundred years later and I can't help thinking that Mr. McCoy would have
been pleased, though "scarcely able to recognize" his "little city."
Dear Brother Addie,
Dallas is improving very rapidly. Everything points to the crossing of two great railroads here.
Property is at exorbitant prices. The people are crazy, talking of Dallas being the Indianapolis
of Texas. Emigration pouring in and everybody talking about the town. The legal fraternity is
increasing everyday, we now have 35 lawyers!
Dallas is to be grinned at no longer as a one-horse town. It has put away its petticoats and
donned a new pair of britches with pockets and a cigar in its mouth. Dallas, the Hub Dallas,
the crescent of the southwest, Dallas, the bright spot of the Lone Star, Dallas, the coming
City of Texas!
Just look out here with me now, out of my window at the beautiful stone court house going up
surrounded by the beautiful grove of trees that Uncle John put out with his own hands years
ago. Then look with me across southward to the river and see the beautiful new river bridge
spanning the Trinity River and long causeway leading through the forest on the other side. Then
look with me to the east far up Commerce and Main Street as they stretch out through the
little cottage groves, cedar forest, etc., to the prairie. Away yonder, then see the flowers
everywhere, the beautiful sandy roads. See the pleasant faces, the social people. Hear the
church bells ringing and see the orderly companies going here and there as I did this morning.
We are having very nice weather, cool mornings and as we've three or four wagons during the
day running all the time, sprinkling the streets, the dust is kept down and all pleasant. Our
town is lively and advancing from one improvement to another as fast as its continued growing
capacity can. I know of now town now in the State or of any, North or South, making such
rapid strides. The throng of wagons and crowds of people on the streets as far as the eye can
reach would remind you of a city of much broader reputation than Dallas. It won't be long until
we will scarcely recognize our "little city."
Fondly and affectionately,
Your Brother, John