How did the cities of Hurst, Euless, and Bedford get their names?
In 1902 the Rock Island railroad began acquiring right-of-way for a new track between Dallas and Fort Worth. The railroad sought right-of-way from many landowners, including farmer William Letchworth Hurst, who owned land along near present-day Highway 10/Hurst Boulevard (including land where Bell Helicopter is today). Hurst was born in Tennessee in 1834. As a Confederate soldier during the Civil War he survived the Battle of Gettysburg and Union prison camps. In 1870 Hurst and his family moved to Tarrant County and settled nine miles northeast of Fort Worth. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
This 1895 map shows the Hurst survey north of the Trinity River. To the north was Isham Chapel. To the west was a lake (misspelled “Hurst”) impounded by farmer John A. Hust. To the south was the mill of Robert Andrew Randol and the community of Randol.
According to George Green in Heart of the Metroplex: An Illustrated History of Hurst, Euless, and Bedford, Hurst agreed to grant the Rock Island railroad a right-of-way if the railroad would build a station on his land and name the station after him. Hurst, Green writes, was feuding with another local family, the Souders, and was afraid the Souders would donate land to the railroad and have the station named after them.
The Rock Island got its right-of-way, Hurst got his “Hurst Station,” and a town—also originally named “Hurst Station”—grew up around the station.
William Letchworth Hurst died in 1922.
He is buried in Bedford Cemetery.
The town, still known as “Hurst Station” into the 1930s, incorporated as “Hurst” in 1950. (The Arwines were early settlers in the Hurst area.)
By 1852 settlers at the confluence of Big Bear and Little Bear creeks in northeast Tarrant County had formed a community.
In 1857 a post office opened, and the community was given a name: “Estill’s Station” after pioneer Jefferson Estill.
In 1866 the federal post office advertised for bids to deliver mail on a route from Dallas to Birdville via Eagle Ford and Estill’s Station. The weekly thirty-five-mile trip was scheduled to take thirteen hours on horseback.
Elisha Adam Euless was born in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1848. He moved to Texas in 1867. (Photo from Find A Grave.)
In the 1870 census Euless was living near Estill’s Station with the family of Mary Trigg. Soon after the census was taken he married Mary’s daughter Judy.
In 1879 Euless bought farmland near Bear Creek from his mother-in-law. On the land was a two-story Grange hall. The building also housed a school and was used by local churches. In 1881 Euless bought farmland that included a cotton gin.
The community of Estill’s Station grew around Euless’s Grange hall and gin. Euless helped to formally lay out a town. Residents renamed Estill’s Station “Euless.” A Euless post office would open in 1886.
Meanwhile, in 1876 farmer Euless became Constable Euless.
In 1892 he became Sheriff Euless. He would serve four years.
Euless was the first sheriff to occupy an office in the new courthouse. Photo shows Euless and his deputies on the steps of the courthouse. I think Euless is the second mustache from the left in the middle row. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
In 1894 Sheriff Euless investigated two sensational crimes.
At 5:50 p.m. on December 6 three men boarded the locomotive of the Fort Worth-bound Texas & Pacific train as it was stopped at a water tank northeast of Benbrook at the Mary’s Creek trestle.
The three men then forced the engineer and fireman to break in the door of the express car. The robbers wore masks, fired at least two shots, and got away with a small safe. The Dallas Morning News report mentioned two sums for the booty: “upward of $100,000” and “$100,000 to $140,000.” Today $100,000 would be $2.6 million, so these sums might be exaggerated.
By sunset Sheriff Euless and his posse were in “hot pursuit” of the robbers and the loot.
That robbery marked at least the third time in seven years that a T&P train had been stopped and robbed on the Mary’s Creek trestle. The Burrow gang had stopped and robbed a T&P train there on June 4 and September 20, 1887.
Also in 1894 Sheriff Euless and deputy William Rea investigated the disappearance of “Fort Worth girls” Minnie and Anna (also called “Nannie”) Williams, thought to have been murdered by serial killer Henry Howard Holmes.
Sheriff Euless’s home is shown on this 1895 map.
Euless died in 1911.
Elisha Adam Euless is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.
The first settlers in the Bedford area arrived in the late 1840s, probably with Peters Colony grants. In 1861 Milton Moore, from North Carolina, established a school in his log cabin.
Weldon Wiles Bobo, born in South Carolina in 1813, was living in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1870. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
Bobo moved to northeast Tarrant County later in 1870. He was fifty-seven years old—older than most immigrants. Nonetheless, Bobo opened a general store. The Bobo general store would remain in the family for ninety-three years.
In the early 1870s Bobo also operated a gin.
The community of Bedford grew up around the gin and the store.
In 1874 Moore, Bobo, and others founded New Hope Christian Church. Three years later a post office opened in Bobo’s store.
Bobo was postmaster.
Bobo’s home, located roughly halfway between Fort Worth and Dallas, became known as the “Halfway House” and was a popular rest stop for travelers. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
In 1882 Bobo, Milton Moore, and others, including William Hurst, founded Bedford College, which was a combination high school-junior college.
Weldon Wiles Bobo died in 1884.
The home of his widow is shown on this 1895 map.
Bedford College was so highly regarded that in 1891 Elisha Adam Euless moved to Bedford to give his children “better educational advantages.” Note that Bedford had a literary society and a baseball team.
The two-story wooden college building was destroyed by fire in 1893. It was replaced by a one-story wooden structure. (Photos from Tarrant County College NE, Heritage Room.)
The second wooden structure was replaced in 1915 by a brick structure that still stands.
By the 1890s Bedford was one of the larger towns in Tarrant County. But the growth of Bedford would be stunted after 1902 and 1903 when first the interurban and then the Rock Island railroad bypassed Bedford and began to serve other existing and new communities.
There is a connection between the cities of Bedford and Euless beyond mere proximity: Weldon Bobo was the brother of Casandra Bobo Euless, the mother of Elisha Adam Euless.
Today Weldon Wiles Bobo is remembered as the father of Bedford.
“So,” I hear you ask, “why is the town named ‘Bedford’ instead of ‘Bobo’?”
According to Green, other founders of the town indeed wanted to name the town after Bobo, but he demurred and instead suggested “Bedford” for the Tennessee county many of them—and Elisha Adam Euless—had come from. (Because the postal service doesn’t allow duplicate post office names in the same state, had the town been named “Bobo,” what would have been the effect on Tex Ritter’s song?)
“Okay,” I hear you say. “The Texas city is named for the Tennessee county. But for whom was Bedford County named?”
Bedford County was carved from Rutherford County in 1807 and named for local landowner Thomas Bedford Jr. Bedford was born in 1751 in Virginia. He served in the 4th Virginia Regiment during the Revolutionary War. He fought at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781 when General George Washington defeated General Charles Lord Cornwallis’s British army, effectively ending the war and paving the path to American independence. Thomas Bedford Jr. died in 1804.
According to a Bedford descendant, Thomas Bedford Jr. was distantly related to Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was born in Bedford County in 1821.