Individuals and Families

This article originally appeared in the Garland/Mesquite section of The Dallas Morning News  on August 18, 1995.


By Michael R. Hayslip

Myra Belle Shirley, later known as Belle Starr, was a local girl who probably made the 10-Least-Wanted List of visitors on many farms during the early days in northeast Dallas County.

Bob Robinson of Mesquite still remembers the grisly tales of his great-grandfather, W. T. Moore, an early settler in the Pleasant Mound community near the intersection of Scyene Road and Buckner Boulevard, who was familiar enough with Ms. Starr to keep a respectful distance and stay out of her sight. His great-grandfather claimed that farmers ducked for cover behind their plows whenever the notorious outlaw rode into view. “Sensible people were convinced that Belle Starr would just as soon shoot you as look at you,” said Robinson.

Born in 1848 in Carthage, Missouri, Belle grew up during the strain of pre-Civil War divisions there, laying foundations for a folklore mystique in which fact becomes blurred with fiction. Amidst the frequent clashes of Confederate guerillas and Federals, in one of which her brother was killed, she is credited with daring exploits to aid the Confederates. She is also supposed to have developed a passion for Cole Younger.

To escape the difficulties in Southwestern Missouri, and perhaps to thwart the two lovers, Belle’s father moved the family to Texas in 1863. Although her older brother had already settled near McKinney, the other Shirleys moved onto a farm at Scyene, now Mesquite, where Belle soon gave birth to a daughter. John William Rogers in The Lusty Texans of Dallas suggests that the child may have been Younger’s, but refuses to speculate on her legitimacy, since all but one of Belle’s marriages seem to be legally suspect. “At any rate,” Rogers concludes, “Cole Younger passed out of the picture and she became known as the wife of Jim Reed, by whom she had a second child, a son.”

For entertainment, the young mother frequented Dallas hot spots and left her parental responsibilities with family members back home in Scyene. She became a singer and an entertainer in a dance hall, later dealing poker and faro as a professional gambler. Frequenting saloons, where she always stepped up to the bar like a man, Belle customarily wore two revolvers, high-topped boots and a Stetson hat with an ostrich plume to complement her tight black jacket, chiffon waists and velvet skirts. She always attracted attention with her dashing appearance while riding her horse either side-saddle or astride, and was considered both a crack shot and an excellent horsewoman.

In his book Belle Starr, Burton Rascoe writes this account: “When the mood struck her, she shocked the women and more respectable citizens of Dallas by (donning Buffalo-Bill-type outfits and) riding at breakneck speeds through the streets of the town, scattering everyone to the sidewalk. The constabulary and the whole town were afraid of her; and she gloried in being pointed out as the Bandit Queen. She had nothing to fear as long as there was no warrant for her arrest.”

After Reed was killed near Paris, Texas in 1874, Belle ran a livery stable and was reported to prefer the steady company of outlaws, for whom she was presumed to have marketed stolen stock and provided refuge in times of trouble. But apparently she had also stolen horses herself in her spare time. The 1927 Garland News local retrospective of Mrs. George W. “Kate” James includes her own memory of Belle, probably from the early 1870s, as “one of the most daring and boldest horse thieves ever infesting this community.”

Due in part to the scarcity of law enforcement officers, the stealing of horses and cattle was prevalent, and none was covered by any insurance; consequently, livestock owners in the area formed vigilante committees to deal with the thieves by suspending them from a stout limb of the nearest tree. Mrs. James, who lived at the time in the Duck Creek community where Duck Creek crosses Forest Lane, remarked that “This method had good affect and lessened stealing perceptibly. We wonder,” she continued, “if that plan would stop some of the auto stealing today (1927).”

But Belle was never apprehended by the local vigilantes, and perhaps they were relieved.  Her demise came instead in 1889 after she had moved out to Indian Territory. According to historian A. C. Greene in Dallas USA, “she married into the notorious Starr gang, made a criminal haven of her farm, Younger Bend, and was later killed from ambush, possibly through accident by her own son.”

Published in The Garland Daily News on October 19, 1980, as part of a series by Betty Roberts.



The Carl Axe family settled in Garland in 1873. Carl had arrived in the United States in the late 1840s and lived in New Orleans. He was born in Germany in 1831. His family is known to have lived in Prussia as early as 1618 when the family name was Achrst.

Carl worked as a blacksmith in New Orleans. There he met and married Charlotte Mueller. They brought their young family to Texas.

A mistake on the land title brought Carl to Garland. Carl wanted to be a farmer and contracted to buy 320 acres in Dallas County. Because of the mistake, he took his second choice, land in Garland. The original tract he tried to buy was developed into the present Park Cities.

Carl and his brother Ludwig came to the area at the same time. Ludwig settled in Dallas. The brothers gave the lot, built the building and provided the organ for the first Lutheran church in Dallas County. The original structure of the Zion Lutheran Church was on Swiss Avenue. The church later was moved to Skillman and Lovers Lane.

The 320 acres located “on the waters of Duck Creek” were at the area of present day Garland Road and Axe Drive. Axe Drive is almost in the center of the property. The small branch of water that begins near Jupiter Road and joins Duck Creek at Glenbrook has been called Duck Creek Number Two and Axe Creek.

The original property included the area between Kingsley and the creek from Garland Road to Saturn Road. Later, additional land was added until most of the property from Garland Road to Fifth Street was owned by members of the Axe family.

Carl Axe died in Garland May 10, 1898. Charlotte died November 12, 1899. They were the parents of six sons and four daughters.

Charles Christian was born in New Orleans in 1869. He was thirteen when he came to Garland. He later had his own farm and built his farmhouse on what is now Cranford Drive, one street south of Kingsley.

Mrs. Gerald Cooper, Charles’ daughter, lives where the farm house stood. She has grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in Garland. Charles’ son Herbert also lives in Garland. Herbert has two children. A son lives in Garland and a daughter lives on the Plains.

William, another son of Carl and Charlotte, was born in 1876 in Garland and died in 1923. He had a farm on what is now Carney Drive. He had seven children; five still live in Garland. Ernest lives in Canton. The youngest son, Cecil, was killed in World War II.

The other children are Fred, William, Raymond, Clara Daniel, and Elizabeth Carney. Two of Will’s children live on Carney Drive on what was their father’s farm.

John, another son of Carl’s, moved to Hamby, near Abilene. The daughters and their families are scattered over the United States.

Axe Drive is named for the Axe family. Axe Memorial Methodist Church on Kingsley stands on what was once part of the Axe farm. The church was named in memory of Charles Christian Axe, who died in 1938, and his son, Charles, who was killed in World War II. The property for the First Lutheran Church on Saturn Road was also donated by the Axe family.

This article originally appeared in the Garland/Mesquite section of The Dallas Morning News on August 30, 1995.

By Michael R. Hayslip

Hoping that “third time’s the charm,” members of the Garland High School class of 1945 have petitioned trustees of the Garland Independent School District to name a school in honor of one of their schoolmates, Lt. Col. John William “Bill” Armstrong, lost when his plane went down over Laos in November of 1967.

The petition, signed this June at the 50th reunion of the class, joins similar documents signed during two previous years by GHS classes from 1943 and 1944, and so far as anyone knows, is an unprecedented action in town. Chuck Cabiness, vice president of the ‘45 class and Chairman of the Garland Sports Hall of Fame, forwarded the petition to school trustees, and indicated that the Armstrong memorial “. . .would honor all of the members of the classes who attended Garland High School during World War II”.

Military matters were front-burner items for wartime classes of the early ‘40s, when Garland’s total population was less than 5,000. Daily “necessities” were rationed, and in front of the gymnasium students amassed a huge metal scrap pile for defense manufactures. Records indicate that by their senior years in the city’s only high school, at least a half-dozen of each 90 to 100-member classes was already in uniform. The rest were waiting -- on their own or for somebody else.

But for his peers, Bill Armstrong symbolized more than the military; he was a hometown boy that made good. . . real good. Born in Garland on December 5, 1926, to Walter T. and Mary L. Armstrong, he was a grandson of Dr. J. C. Armstrong, a local pharmacist and physician in Garland for over 38 years. An uncle, Zelotes Starr Armstrong, had published The Garland News for several years and served on the Garland school board before moving to Dallas.

Beginning in Mrs. Florrie Allen’s first-grade class, which for decades introduced so many locals to the wonders of formal education, Bill Armstrong stuck through all twelve years with his classmates. Although he held after-school and weekend jobs through high school, he graduated valedictorian of the GHS class of ‘44. Meanwhile, he had also been co-captain of the Owl football team, editor of the class year book and class president for his final three years of high school.

W. H. Bradfield Jr., a ‘43 Garland graduate who later became editor of The Garland News, recalls that his friend Armstrong validated lofty goals and noble ideals of the day for leadership, accomplishment and service. “There was a fictitious high-school hero named Jack Armstrong on a popular radio show aired during the time,” said Bradfield. “Jack was a decent, capable fellow with a sense of responsibility who set a class standard of excellence by example.  Most of us believed that we had our own Jack Armstrong, except we called him Bill. I understand that later on some of Bill’s college classmates even used ‘Jack’ as his nickname.”

After a freshman year on scholarship at SMU, where he played freshman football, made  the Phi Eta Sigma scholarship fraternity and joined Phi Delta Theta social fraternity, Armstrong was appointed by Congressman Hatton Sumners, another Garland native, as the first from the city to attend West Point. In 1949 he graduated in the top 3 per cent of his class there and chose to enter the Air Force for pilot training.

During domestic assignments he returned to the academy to teach four years in the Military Psychology and Leadership Department and earned an MBA at the University of Southern California. His overseas duty included Pakistan; Turkey; England; Germany, where he met and married his wife Margaret; Korea, where he received the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross after flying 127 combat missions, and Vietnam, where he commanded the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. For a time Armstrong also led the Skyblazers, the former European equivalent of the crack Thunderbird aerobatic exhibition team that performed stateside..

“There is virtually no limit to what Bill could have accomplished, in the military and beyond,” says Don H. Payne of Garland, himself a retired Air Force Major General who was Armstrong’s ‘44 high school classmate and later followed him as the city’s second appointment to the U. S. Military Academy.

Bradfield’s files still contain his last letter from Armstrong, dated October 22, 1967, and detailing a project the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing had mounted for Christmas time distribution of clothes, toys and other basic necessities among four orphanages and two hamlets near DaNang in South Vietnam. The Garland Kiwanis Club, in cooperation with Goodwill Industries, channeled its Christmas relief funds toward the effort, soon forwarding some 675 items of clothing and bedding. But by then Armstrong was unable to receive them.

On the night of November 9th Col. Armstrong, 40, and his GIB (guy in back), 25-year-old 1st Lt. Lance Sijan (pronounced sigh-john), had rolled their F-4 Phantom jet into a bomb run directed at the Ban Loboy ford on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Slung under each wing were three 750-pound bombs, equipped with a newly designed fuse system set to detonate exactly six seconds after release at an altitude of 8,000 feet, allowing the bombs to pass through dense foliage and bury themselves into the surface before exploding.

Eyewitness accounts of the mission, coupled with Lt. Sijan’s statements to fellow captives made before he died in a North Vietnamese prison camp in January of 1968, appeared in Malcolm McConnell’s book Into the Mouth of the Cat, which was published in 1985.  According to McConnell, an old friend of Sijan’s, the bomb’s faulty fuse caused all six bombs to detonate almost immediately after they were “pickled” (released), exploding within a few feet of the plane. Although Sijan managed to eject himself as the flaming craft disentigrated and survived for more than two months with extensive injuries, the fireball’s glare had prevented either him or crewmembers of nearby craft from seeing whether Armstrong had made it out.

Inconclusive sightings and photos analyzed later raised the possibility that Armstrong might have survived the crash, but by 1974, without definite evidence to the contrary, he was declared legally dead. Meanwhile, life went on for the survivors. In 1976 the Sijan Hall Dormitory was dedicated at (now Capt.) Sijan’s alma mater, the Air Force Academy, and President Gerald Ford presented his Medal of Honor, recommended by returning POWs, to Sijan’s parents. A 3.72 acre park on Birchwood Drive in Garland was named to honor Col. Armstrong in 1988.

“I can think of no more deserving person,” said Marion D. Williams, a former school board president and Armstrong’s classmate of ‘44. “This would be an appropriate time for this type of recognition”.

Dr. Randy Clark, the board’s current president, said that matters of this nature are routed initially through the board’s Facilities Committee, now headed by Trustee Mike Boyd, for study and recommendations when name decisions are made. “I look forward, he added, “ to seeing all the information about Col. Armstrong.”

This article originally appeared in the Garland/Mesquite section of The Dallas Morning News on October 6, 1995.

By Michael R. Hayslip

Grace Davis Glaze, the lone surviving teacher from the old Handley School, and who was consolidated along with it into the Garland Independent School District, rang her first school bell in 1926. Now at 90, she proctors activity around the 200 wing of room units at the Rowlett Nursing Center, holding forth for friends, family and former students, some of whom have reached their mid-70s. She always looks spiffy, like she is about to start class. Sprinkling her commentaries with the lexicon of long ago, she laughs and jokes a lot, usually at herself, but no visitor leaves without a lesson, an assignment, or both.

Enrolled in this life on May 12, 1905, she was registered as Grace Davis, born in Lancaster to a farming family that later moved to Farmersville, where she started school.  Eventually the family came to Garland, where they expected Grace to get a better education, and she graduated from Garland High School in the class of 1924.

The self-styled “brat” of the Davis family soon matriculated at East Texas State Teachers College in Commerce in hopes that the faculty there could show her the ropes of teaching.  Apparently they did, because Grace still speaks of both the curriculum and faculty in lofty terms:  “Those professors of the time really knew how to train teachers, and they got me excited about it.  Later on, I got a masters degree from SMU, and I’m glad I did, but the main benefit from it was higher pay. The real content for teaching came from those years at East Texas (eyes squinted and finger pointed for emphasis).”

College graduation was something of an anticlimax, since teachers could teach in those days before their baccalaureate degrees were conferred, and “Miss Grace” Davis did just that, signing on in 1926 to teach at the Naaman School, then a county-operated neighborhood school located north of Garland. She claims they selected her because she could play the piano.  Wayde Brite (Cloud), “a wonderful friend with crooked stocking seams,” joined her periodically to teach elocution, but after a year she transferred to the Handley School, another county unit, situated west of Garland. Even then, she left on good terms with Clayborne Glaze, her principal at Naaman.

Settling in at Handley, she discovered some “mighty fine families” in the area who sent their children to her. “Teaching shaped me up,” she said, “and I worked hard at it. The two county school supervisors, Miss Moseley and Miss Watkins, were top-notch and demanding, but I mastered phonics under their influence. . . We had a good school; we scored high on all the achievement tests and almost all of the kids were a pleasure. Even some of the ones with mischief could be good students when they tried.”

When students ceased to be a pleasure, Miss Grace’s justice was sure and swift. “When that Irish temper rose,” said former Handley student Loyd Bryant, “her face would start to turn red, and everybody with any sense knew to take cover. . .I still remember the time she paid me a nickel to pipe down after she paddled me”.

“They really had to irk me before I grabbed the paddle,” responded Mrs. Glaze, “but when that happened, I just moved right up beside them and said ‘catch your ankles.’ Whap! Whap! Whap! That settled it. Girls got the same as the boys. My land! Some of those girls had more meanness than the boys!”

In matters of discipline, parents of the day expected and supported the teacher’s best efforts, according to Weldon Bell, another Handley alumnus. Once, he said, when Miss Grace was apprised of pecan pilfering by students at the nearby Rupard farm, she marched the whole group up the road and made them apologize to Mrs. Rupard..

With one good intention, however, she was thwarted by a parent who refused her plan to have the Garland Lions Club supply eyeglasses to enable his son to see the blackboard. “The man puffed up and declared ‘We don’t accept charity,’ “ reported Miss Grace, “so finally the boy quit school and found work driving a truck. He was later killed in a road accident, and I doubt that the poor boy ever saw what hit him.”

Outside class at lunch or recess -- held outdoors weather permitting -- Miss Grace maintained a special rapport with the students, who soon concluded that she had extensive experience with marbles. Both Bell and Bryant described Miss Grace as “a sharp shooter” who taught them not to underestimate an opponent.

Another practical lesson came from her recycling plan, which required students to separate uneaten food from their lunch bags each afternoon. The scraps were fed to nearby farmers’ hogs, and the bags were accumulated to kindle fire in the school’s wood-burning stove.  “That’s just sound thinking,” said Mrs. Glaze, “except that it worked too well. One cold day I overstuffed the stove with paper, and the high flames ignited the ceiling. If the farmer across the road hadn’t come running and put it out, we would have lost the whole building. Wouldn’t that have been a fine mess?”

By the mid 1930s the upper class (4th, 5th & 6th grade) Handley girls wanted a basketball team and asked the five-foot-tall teacher to coach. Mrs. Glaze recalls the girls as “excellent players,” and adds that they repeatedly bested the neighboring Centerville School’s team, coached by Clayborne Glaze, the Centerville principal she had met at the Naaman School.  The two married in 1939.

That was the year that the Garland ISD moved out to consolidate the dwindling Handley operation and its surrounding property-tax potential with the 11-year program of the Garland schools. Along with resident protest over new taxes, a question arose about the future of Mrs. Glaze, Handley’s sole remaining teacher. To resolve that issue Mrs. Glaze was added to the faculty of the Garland Elementary School at her existing salary of $150 per month. “Garland elementary teachers then were drawing $75 and high school teachers $125,” she said, “so I caught the brunt of some bad feelings from the others. I just wish they could all have gotten the $150."

Aside from brief forays into 4th and 7th grade classes, Mrs. Glaze spent the balance of her career among the first three grades, primarily the third. From the single Garland Elementary School on 9th Street she was reassigned to the W. C. Daugherty Elementary School, where she taught until her retirement in 1965. She continually honed her specialty as a reading teacher, and still maintains that “it’s not enough to have children recite a sentence that says ‘the dog is black’.   That’s just calling out words. I want ‘my children’ to identify the sentence that tells what color the dog is. That builds comprehension. At times I have even asked students to draw me a picture of what the sentence says, just to make sure they have the idea.”

Always quick on the trigger of praise, Mrs Glaze recounts some of those with whom she worked in the GISD, she says “Mr. (E.D.) Bussey and Mr. (H.D.) Pearson were wonderful superintendents; Alma Minick and Routh Roach were inspired teachers in the system. Whole families, like the Bells, the Bryants and the Merrimans, adopted me at Handley, and even more offered support after I transferred. And the children, so many I can’t even call all their names, did so well they made me proud. Today’s students may be better read, because they have better library access, but they can’t top the character and the brains of the ones I had.”

As a valedictory she mused, “I’m sure glad I never got fired.”

This article originally appeared in the Garland/Mesquite section of The Dallas Morning News on July 21, 1995.


By Michael R. Hayslip

Bud Walker, a Garland institution wrapped inside another Garland institution, turns 90 on July 29th. It will also be his 61st wedding anniversary, so he is sure to remember that.

As Chairman Emeritus of NationsBank-Garland he will probably show up early that day as usual, patrolling the beat between his office and the coffee room, where the regulars will jostle him around about being the oldest employee on a NationsBank payroll anywhere. He hopes they forget his age, because he says he needs the work and would like to have a raise.

Howard Addison “Bud” Walker is also Garland’s oldest living former tax-equalization board member, city councilman, mayor, savings and loan head, North Texas Municipal Water District board member, and Chamber of Commerce Tall Texan Award winner. The Garland Business and Professional Women gave him their Big G award, and the Salvation Army presented him their “Others” award, the Army’s highest award, for his work as a board member and chairman of the building committee for their first building in Garland.

An adopted transplant from Dallas, Walker moved to Garland in 1937 as a buyer for the Texas Cotton Growers’ Cooperative, covering northeast Dallas, southern Collin and all of Rockwall county, as well as any other spots he found by intent or mistake. He and his wife Evelyn rented a house on Avenue A for $18 a month. The city had less than 2,000 residents back then, and the ones who are left tend to forget that the Walkers ever lived anyplace else. His children, Howard “Buddy” Walker Jr., Martha Stendig, and Bob Walker were all raised here and still live in the area with their families.

His lifelong study of people had begun as a boy, when he assisted members of the Dallas Fishing and Hunting Club in Hutchins, where his parents were resident managers. Almost everybody who was anybody in Dallas then belonged, and Walker enjoyed becoming useful.  Rubbing shoulders at an early age with the rich and powerful taught him valuable lessons and immunized him against being too overimpressed with himself or anybody else.

His first real job was with W. D. Felder & Co., cotton merchants. Felder himself was a member of the club and admired the young man’s style. Dealing between farmers and merchants, Walker developed his “touch” with both. In his kindly, jovial, self-deprecating manner he became a consummate conciliator. It was hard to know him without being his friend and feeling comfortable about it.

Hypoallergic to making speeches and writing letters, Walker was also cautious about adding machines, but could do ciphers in his head at lightning speed. Despite his disdain for detail, he could quickly distill complex issues, but he seemed most comfortable being underestimated.

His normal conversation, best described as “Walkertalk,” tramples over the boundaries of a dictionary with eloquent simplicity. It includes lots of encouraging superlatives, such as “best,” “finest,” and “greatest,” but sometimes adds or drops syllables as necessary. Pleasurable surprise merits at least a “go-osh!” if not an “ain’tat sump’n?” Unpleasant surprise evokes an “uungh,” and discovery produces an “oo-ohh.” His favorite punctuation mark is laughter, mostly self-directed.

All these characteristics sustained him as a city councilman from 1948 to 1952, then as mayor until 1956. He claims he had little hankering for either job, but people kept electing him anyway. Garland was growing so fast that new residents showed up before city services did.  Once, when the Rowlett Creek sewer plant was running brim full and fragrant, Mayor Walker drove out to placate an irate farmer living downwind. “This fella got off ‘n his tractor yellin’ and came at me with a shotgun,” he said. “He was so mad he just threw his hat down on the ground and stomped on it. I never saw nobody stomp his own hat before.”

If there were any cotton left to buy, friends believe Walker would still be propped up against a fence dealing, but when cotton phased out in the ‘50s, he had to move with it or settle for a desk job. Old-timers in town figured he might have something to offer, so in 1958 work turned up running the old Garland Federal Savings and Loan Association. To him it was all a matter of handling people, anyway.

“Then one day in 1960,” he drawls, “Mr. Davis (First National Bank Chairman A. R. Davis) said they needed me up to the bank to help with the real estate and commercial loans.  I’d been on that board since 1946, and they made me a vice-president while I was out of the room. After that I got promoted some. I’ve had alotta help and good secretaries.” He has remained with the bank as it evolved into Republic Bank, Republic-Interfirst and NationsBank Garland, giving sage advice and wise counsel to several generations of local families who prize his friendship..

Walker dodges unpleasantries with a “we-ll, less don’t talk ‘boutat” approach, but when cornered, he follows advice from the late J. E. Coyle, a renowned Rowlett cotton man, who once advised him to “be extra nice and polite to people that do you dirty, ‘cause it shames ‘em.” To answer complaints about interest rates, he has been known to toss a note and pen across his desk at the borrower and say “put down a rate you think’s fair.” When an extended interview is headed nowhere, he simply stands up and looks around silently in all directions, as though seeking relief.

While he no longer makes loans, Walker keeps close tabs on local goings on and enjoys  meeting new people. He trys to avoid gossip, but eagerly absorbs news. Since his eyesight is not as sharp as he would like, he appreciates it when people identify themselves, particularly if they are women hugging on him.

NationsBank Garland will mark Walker’s birthday with a reception on Friday morning, July 28, from 9 to 12. Friends, as well as contributors to this article, are invited to visit and swap stories over cake and punch, so Mr. Bud won’t have to make no speeches.

Published in The Garland Daily News on December 7, 1980, as part of a series by Betty Roberts.



The first Anderson to come to Texas was John Lair Anderson. He was born in Kentucky in 1819. He was married to Emily Jane Peake, also of Kentucky.

John L. and Emily came to Texas in 1846 with the Peters Colony. As a married man, John was granted 640 acres as his headright. He settled in what is now the eastern side of Dallas County.

The Anderson families seemed to have been totally self sufficient. They worked together in farming, carrying their crops to market, and in enforcing the law in their area. They also had the Anderson Cemetery, now located at the shoreline of Lake Ray Hubbard, where most of the members of the early families are buried.

John Anderson’s grant was between the present cities of Garland and Rowlett. The property was bounded on the east by Rowlett Creek, on the south by what is now Highway 66, and on the north by Centerville Road.

John later acquired much property, a great part of which is now covered by Lake Ray Hubbard. The area between Rowlett Road and the lake was at one time owned by members of the Anderson family. The site for Lakeview Centennial High School was purchased from a descendant of John and Emily.

John Anderson died in June, 1885. Emily died in 1912. Both are buried in Anderson Cemetery. They were the parents of five children.

The oldest daughter, Nancy Ann, was born in 1848, shortly after the Andersons settled in Texas. She lived her entire life on the property where her father settled. She died in 1935 at the age of 87. She never married. She was known as Aunt Ann to all in the area.

The oldest son, William S., was born in 1855 and died in 1892. He was married to Ellen J. Bryant and they had two children.

The second son, James R. Anderson, was born in 1858 and died in 1936. He married Mary Ellen Little, and they had twelve children.

George Washington Peak Anderson was born in 1859. He died in 1943 near Stanton where he had farmed for many years, He was the father of nine children.

At one time it seemed as though the area was made up entirely of Andersons. The Silver Anniversary Edition (1912) of the Garland News states: “The first Anderson probably did not know the favor he was conferring on future book agents, fruit tree men and other of the genus. One of that class is reasonably sure of being correct in addressing a citizen of this country as Mr. Anderson and if by chance he should be mistaken, an apology is unnecessary.”

The first Anderson in this country was John Lair. He had five children and thirty grandchildren. The number of descendants is now in the hundreds.

Published in The Garland Daily News in 1980 as part of a series by Betty Roberts.



William Lair Anderson was born in Kentucky in 1817. He was the third of eight children of William and Celia Ann Lair Anderson.  In 1845 he married Eliza Morris of Kentucky.  They moved to Texas from Missouri in 1850 or 1851.

William settled near his brother John Lair Anderson and his family who had come in 1846. A sister and her husband, Elizabeth and Silas Bryant, had already settled in the area. His parents, William and Celia, had also moved to Texas. The Andersons all settled in an area between present-day Rowlett and Garland.

William and Eliza hd two small sons when they moved to Texas. The other five children were born near Rose Hill. Eliza died inn 1883 and William died in 1899. Both were buried in Anderson Cemetery.

William was a very religious man and was one of the builders of the Locust Grove Methodist Church. He was active in the community and county, serving as a trustee for Dallas County Schools.

William and Eliza had six sons. The oldest son, James Austin, was born in Missouri in 1846. He came to Texas at the age of four and lived on the Anderson farm until his death in 1915. He did leave the area to serve with a Texas regiment in the Civil War. He was very active in his community and was known throughout the county as “Uncle Jimmie.” He was the father of ten children.

The second son, John William, was born in 1849 in Missouri. He was married to Mary Desdemona Mayes, and they were the parents of eleven children. John William died in 1905. Desdemona died in 1914 in Dallas at the home of their son Will.

The third son, Lite Morris, was born at Rose Hill in 1852 and died in 1871 as the result of an accident. George Washington was born in 1844 an died in 1892. He had married Lucy White and they had four chlldren.

Elias Tidwell (Bud) was born in 1859. After farming for several years, he moved to Garland where he wa a partner in the feed and seed business. He had married Lucy Crownover of Rose Hill and they had two children. Bud died in 1935. Lucy died in 1938.

Samuel Andrew Anderson was born in 1867. He married Mary Denton ad they were the parents of nine chlldren.  S.A., the last surviving child of William and Eliza, died in 1943. Mary died in 1952.

The only daughter of William and Eliza was Obithia Hampton, born in 1862. She was married to Jasmes A. white in 1879 and died three years later. They had two chldren, and both died under the age of three.

William and Eliza had seven chlldren and thirty-six grandchildren.  The Anderson name was carried on by five sons and their children. The two Anderson brothers, John Lair and William Lair, had a total of twelve children and sixty-six grandchildren.

The book, The Andersons of Rowlett, is invaluable for keeping the tremendous number of Anersons in the right families.

Published in The Garland Daily News on November 16, 1980, as part of a series by Betty Roberts



James Douglas Alexander was born near Russellville, Alabama, in 1850. He married Nannie Arnold, whose family lived in the same area.  They moved to the Garland area in 1881.

Other members of his family also moved to Texas.  His mother, Mrs. S.E. Alexander, and a sister, Mrs. Annie Smallwood, lived in Garland. Another sister, Mrs. Willie Weaver, and a brother, John, lived in Fort Worth.

For a number of years J.D. was a justice of the peace in Garland. He also taught school for several years.  He was well known in Garland for being a man of conviction and standing up for his beliefs.

The last years of his life were spent working for the Woodmen of the World. He was well known in the state and nation as a representative for the Woodmen.

J. D died in 1920. He was survived by his wife and seven children. Mrs. Alexander died several years later. Their two daughters were Dora (Talley) and Lena (Shugart) of Garland.

William Eugene moved to Fort Worth. He was county treasurer for many years. Ernest moved to Dallas. One son, Joe, became a doctor. He was practicing in Fort Worth when World War I started. He enlisted in the British Army in 1916. He later resigned and enlisted in the United States Army. He set up practice in Dallas after the war.

James Arthur owned Alexander’s Men’s Store in Garland for many years. It was located on the Square where Cole & Davis is now (1980).  He served as mayor of Garland in 1936-1940. He later moved to Sherman.

George Arnold Alexander was born February 2, 1883. He married Minnie Myrtle Capps on September 3, 1900. Minnie was the daughter of B.F. Capps who had brought his family to Garland in the early 1880s.

George’s first job was as an agent for the MKT railroad. In 1909 he opened an insurance agency on the corner of what is now Sixth Street and Garland Avenue. The business was later sold to C. M. Brown.

George was head of almost every movement for charity and public improvement. During World War I he sold Liberty Bonds and Red Cross subscriptions. He made a record for the town, city and state by raising $10,000 in a very short time.

He was elected mayor of Garland in 1918. He was principally responsible for organizing Garland Building & Loan. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and Shriner,  a member of Odd Fellows and the First Baptist Church.

George died in November, 1916. The people of Garland turned out in such number that only half could get into the church. The other half stood outside during the service.

George was survived by his wife and eleven children. Their sons were Ben, Weaver, Harry, George A., Burk, Ted, Bill, Gene and Joe.   Their daughters were Dora (Farquhar) and Dolly (Morris),

Two sons, Bill and George, still live in Garland. For many years George also had an insurance agency in downtown Garland. It was next door to the building where his father’s agency had been located. Gene lives in Omaha. Dora also lives in Garland.

The descendants of James Douglas Alexander, once so numerous in the area, have almost disappeared. He has three grandchildren in Garland and one in Dallas. Their children and grandchildren are scattered in many areas.

Published in The Garland Daily News on July 20, 1980, as part of a series by Betty Roberts



In September 1960 Garland honored two of its pioneer families with the establishment of Beaver Elementary School, named for Edith McCallum Beaver.

The school, located at 3232 March Lane, has about 300 students in grades kindergarten-fifth and employs 20 professional teachers and five para-professionals under the direction of  principal John Tucker.

The school was built on land originally owned by the A. J. Beaver family and later purchased by  Charles McCallum of Dallas.  McCallum eventually donated the land to the City of Garland.

Mrs. Beaver, who was born on January 13, 1877, and died October 13, 1957, at the age of 80, was the only daughter of William Augustus Josephus McCallum. She married James A. Beaver in the early 1900s and he died in 1961.

McCallum, who also had four sons, came here from South Carolina during the 1850s and settled in Pleasant Valley, where he raised cattle.

Of McCallum’s other children, Charles became a doctor in Sapulpa, Oklahoma; Claude served for more than 20 years as a district judge in Dallas County, and another boy became a game warden.

Edith attended elementary school and two girls finishing schools in Pleasant Valley. She became a skilled equestrian and won many prizes at fairs and horse shows.

When Edith married James E. Beaver early in this century, the couple settled on a farm in the Pleasant Valley area.

They later moved to Garland and lived for several years in the 300 block of South 11th Street.  During this time, Mrs. Beaver worked as manager of a school cafeteria.

The Beavers purchased a farm near Wylie and lived there until the federal government bought the farm as part of the Lavon reservoir site.

Finally, the Beavers moved vback to Garland spent the reset of their lives at a house at 1204 Garland Avenue. Garland Federal Savings & Loan is now located where the house once stood.

James Beaver, a lifetime Garland resident, was the son of A. J. Beaver, who moved to Dallas County from Georgia.

A.J. Beaver, with partners, established a general merchandise store during the 1880s in Duck Creek. In 1891, Duck Creek and the small town of Embree united to create Garland (a history of the Garland names was printed July 13, 1980, in the “Newcomers” supplement to The Garland Daily News.)

At one location, Garland’s boundary line went “south to the northwest corner of J. Beaver’s block.”

A year later, Garland’s principal business was a store owned by Beaver and two other individuals.

Published in The Garland Daily News  in 1980 as part of a series by  Betty Roberts



Edward C. Mills was born Dec. 25, 1805, in Ohio.  He was married to Sarah Hunter in 1826.  They had three sons:  Hope, John and James.

Sometime after 1832 Edward moved his family to Boone County, Ky.  They were listed as residents of the county in the 1840 census.  Sarah died shortly after 1840.

Edward married Elizabeth Collins in 1842.  Records show that Edward, Elizabeth and eight children moved to Texas in 1847.  They came as a part of the Peters’ Colony.

The agreement between the Peters’ Company and the Republic of Texas was that each married man would receive 640 acres.  Each single man over the age of 17 would receive 320 acres.  The Mills family received close to 1,600 acres.

In 1850 the state required the settlers to prove they had been living in Texas before 1848.  Each settler had an affidavit that had to be signed by two witnesses who knew the settler before July 1, 1848.  One witness for Edward Mills was John Neely Bryan, credited with founding Dallas.

Elizabeth died in October 1854.  She was the first person buried in the Mills Cemetery.  The cemetery, later donated to the city of Garland, is located on the corner of Centerville Road and old Highway 66.

Edward married a third time to Martha Ann Sturdivant, a widow with two daughters.  She and Edward had five children:  Henry C., William G., Matilda (Coyle), Serepta (Jacobs) and Margaret (Fugit).

Edward died June 22, 1871 and was buried in Mills Cemetery.  Martha died Feb. 1, 1881 and was buried next to Edward.

Edward’s oldest sons were the children of Sarah.  Hope was born in Ohio in 1829.  He married Mallissa Hilton in 1853.  They had three children.  Hope was killed in Vicksburg May we, 1863, during the siege.  His children received equal portions of his land.

John and James never married.  John was born in 1831 and died in 1894.  James was born in 1832.  He fought in the Civil War with Company F, 6th Cavalry.  He died in November 1919.

Robert, the son of Edward and Elizabeth, was born in 1846.  He was still a baby when he came to Texas.  He was married to Melissa Jacobs in 1866.  She died the following year.  In 1868 he married Martha Page.

They were the parents of several children.  Martha died in 1903.  Robert married Emma Coltrain.  When he died he was survived by five children and Emma.

All of the children of Edward and Martha were born in Garland.  Henry was born in 1856 and died in 1941.  He and his wife had two children.

William was born in 1858.  He died in December 1936 and was survived by six sons and three daughters.

Margaret Mills was born in 1866 and died in 1881.  She was buried in Mills Cemetery as Margaret Mills Fugit.  Serepta was born in 1861.  She was married in 1876 to Charles Jacobs.

The last surviving child was Nancy Matilda Mills.  She was born in 1864 and died in 1947.  She was married to Henderson Coyle.  They had three daughters.  She had been the youngest and last survivor of 24 children, including half-brothers and half-sisters.

Edward Mills’ descendants are numerous.  Many still remain in the Garland area.  The children in the Garland school system are seventh-generation Millses.