Here are six:
His grandchildren remembered him as a born trader. “He could trade the pants off anybody,” said one grandchild. “He loved to trade.”
Waddy Russell Ross was born in Leon County in 1882. According to family lore, Waddy and his brothers Sam and Robert were young when their parents died. So, the brothers “just hit the road trading horses and mules.” Waddy is said to have chopped fourteen cords of wood with an ax to buy his first mule.
In 1905 Waddy, Sam, and Robert moved to the city of North Fort Worth, formed Ross Bros. Horse and Mule Company, and began trading horses and mules on a grand scale at the Stockyards. Sam and Robert would eventually leave Waddy as the sole owner of the company.
At the Stockyards this is the entrance to Mule Alley, which runs between the horse and mule barns (1912), where auctions were held. The barns, of fireproof brick and steel, had a capacity of three thousand animals. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, 47,000 horses and mules were sold here, many of them bound for the war in Europe, but by 1917 the number sold soared to 115,000, making Fort Worth the biggest horse and mule market in the world. Waddy Ross alone sold 100,000 horses and mules during World War I.
By 1917 Ross was a wealthy man. That’s when he built his mansion on three lots near the top of the hill on Park Street at Grand Avenue. At five thousand square feet, the house is one of the largest on the North Side and has a panoramic view: downtown, the setting sun.
The house may be a mansion, but the North Side was not densely developed in 1917, and the Ross property had a rural aspect: a stable, tack room, smokehouse, artesian well, garden, chicken yard.
The house has floors and stairs of oak and heart of pine, ten-foot ceilings, a dumbwaiter, a conservatory bay, and a porte-cochere. Grandchildren fondly recalled “Pop” and his house: Sunday afternoon dances for the young people, games of canasta. Grandchildren recalled that in the early days they would saddle up horses from the Ross stable and head north. “We . . . rode miles down the Jacksboro Highway, and there was no one there.”
Ross again sold horses and mules during World War II. After that war Ross moved to River Crest, and his 1917 mansion had a series of owners and at one point was partitioned into five apartments.
Ross died in 1963. (Because Ross Avenue, located between Grand Avenue and the Stockyards, appears on an 1889 plat, I don’t think the street was named for Ross, who moved to Fort Worth in 1905.)
Waddy Russell Ross is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. (Thanks to Bill Bellomy for telling me of the Ross carriage step.)
Marshall Sanguinet was Fort Worth’s most prominent architect for a quarter-century. His house, built in 1894, still stands on Collinwood Avenue adjacent to the street named for him in Arlington Heights. Sanguinet and partner Carl Staats designed houses for Denver developer Humphrey Barker Chamberlin, a British-born capitalist who in 1889 bought almost four thousand acres of prairie west of Fort Worth and began developing Arlington Heights. The carriage step is flanked by iron hitching posts.
This is the carriage step of Henry Schwartz, who in 1889 had founded the Dixie Wagon Company, which made carriages. His house on East 1st Street downtown is long gone, but the carved stone step survives in a yard across the street.
This is the carriage step of Elbert George Rall. Note the iron hitching rings. Just as the Schwartz step outlived the Schwartz house and was relocated, the Rall step—in Chase Court just off Hemphill Street—outlived the Rall house and was relocated.
Fitting for a subdivision of just fourteen lots with a complicated history (the grand house of original resident E. E. Chase was built, burned down, was rebuilt, then was moved from Chase Court lot 3 to lot 4, where it burned down again), the Rall carriage step, originally at 4 Chase Court, today is located at 1 Chase Court in front of the house built in 1921 for Edward and Hattie Parsons.
Elbert George Rall was a partner in the land syndicate that developed Chase Court. In 1907 Rall bought the rebuilt and relocated house of E. E. Chase and installed a carriage step. Rall was born in Indiana in 1866, came to Texas in the 1880s, established a grain company in Fort Worth in 1894. It became one of the largest wholesalers in the Southwest. Rall had two grain elevators in Fort Worth. One was in Riverside and may have evolved into the Universal Mills elevator on Beach Street at the Rock Island tracks. The other elevator was on West 7th Street near Trinity Park.
You might remember the Siege of Eighty-Nine, when the Rall elevator on West 7th Street fended off a demolition team for forty-three days and more than a ton of dynamite before falling.
Rall died in 1943.
Elbert George Rall is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
This carriage step stands in front of Fairview, the house of William Bryce on the street that is named for him in Arlington Heights.
William Bryce was born in Scotland in 1861. When he was eight years old his family immigrated to Canada. There William began to learn his father’s trade: brick masonry. About 1881 William moved to Chicago and worked as a journeyman brick mason. He moved to Fort Worth in 1883 and continued to work as a brick mason.
By 1885 Bryce had opened his own brick contracting company. His home and office were located northeast of downtown in today’s Rock Island neighborhood. Ad is from the 1885 city directory.
In 1887 Scots-born Bryce married Catherine Roberts of England. In 1893 Bryce built his imposing Fairview, designed by Messer, Sanguinet, and Messer, who designed houses for Humphrey Chamberlin as he developed Arlington Heights. (The Bryce property is undergoing extensive renovation inside and out.)
After the city switched from a city commission to a council-city manager form of government in 1925, Bryce was a member of the first city council. He became mayor in 1927 upon the resignation of H. C. Meacham and served until 1933, when Bryce resigned. Both men resigned for health reasons.
It is fitting that Bryce, a builder, was mayor during much of Fort Worth’s building boom of 1926-1934. Bryce’s construction company built the Livestock Exchange Building (1903), Cobden Building (built in 1909 to house the North Side’s Prospect telephone exchange) on North Main, the Texas Brewing Company brewery (1890), George C. Clarke Elementary School (1914), Fort Worth Club Building (1915, now the Ashton Hotel), Knights of Pythias lodge hall (1901), Temple Beth-El (1920), and the two stone towers on Park Place Avenue at Forest Park Boulevard (1918).
When the five-sided Bryce Building was built on its odd-shaped lot in 1910 it stood in the shadow of the Carnegie Public Library. When the new library was built in 1939 the Bryce Building stood in the shadow of that building. Not until the 1939 library building was demolished in 1990 did the Bryce Building see the light.
Fort Worth’s prominent businessmen rubbed elbows in the boardrooms downtown. Also serving as a director of State Reserve Life Insurance Company with Bryce in 1931 were physician K. H. Beall, undertaker Louis P. Robertson, pasta prince John B. Laneri, and banker H. B. Herd. Bryce also was a director of Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Company and Fort Worth National Bank.
He also became president and chairman of the board of the Acme Brick Company in 1935.
William Bryce died in 1944. His obituary appeared on a front page otherwise devoted to news of the war.
William Bryce is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
Across Bryce Avenue from the fine Bryce carriage step is a plainer carriage step. It bears no surname, is carved from a softer stone.
But that plain carriage step hunkers in front of a house as old and as grand as Bryce’s Fairview. The house known today as the “Lillie Burgess Smith house” at 4911 Bryce Avenue also was built in 1893. But we can trace ownership of the house back only as far as Smith, who did not own the house until 1905.
Lillie Burgess was born in Kentucky in 1869, daughter of Colonel John William Burgess, a cattleman. After the Burgess family moved to Fort Worth, the colonel was one of the founders of the Stock Show in 1896.
Lillie Burgess was among the injured in the Texas Spring Palace fire in 1890.
In 1892 she married William Helm Smith, who also was from Kentucky. He came to Fort Worth in 1887. Smith was a partner of E. G. Rall.
William Helm Smith died in 1900 at age thirty-six.
As one of the first residents of Arlington Heights, Lillie Burgess Smith was a member of the Arlington Heights Pioneers Club, along with William Bryce, H. S. Bunting, A. T. and Ida Byers, Robert McCart, and architects Marshall Sanguinet and Carl G. Staats.
In this clip from the Star-Telegram society pages in 1913, Lillie Burgess Smith was among the women—most of them the wives of prominent men—who attended a reception given by the wife and daughter of Marshall Sanguinet. Like William Bryce, Sanguinet, Bunting, Byers, McCart, and Mattison have streets named after them. Dr. Isaac Lycurgus Van Zandt was the brother of Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt.
In 1915 Lillie Burgess Smith married cattleman Mark W. Hovenkamp (1863-1931) in her Bryce Avenue house.
Lillie Burgess Smith Hovenkamp died in 1940. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery without a tombstone. Nevertheless, in a front yard on Bryce Avenue, for Lillie Burgess Smith Hovenkamp, as for Bryce, Ross, Rall, and the others, there is one stone that marks her time in Fort Worth during horse-and-buggy days.