Go West, Young Men, and Put Your Brand on Bricks

The Cobb brothers—Horace, Lyman, Charles, Fred, and William—were born in the mid-1850s to an old Vermont family.

cobb 60 censusIn the 1860 census, only brother William had not yet been born.

Somehow, as did so many others from back east, by about 1892 these five New Englanders found themselves out west in Texas, four of them in Cowtown.

cobb belcherFour of them soon became officers in the W. C. Belcher Land Mortgage Company.

cobb 07 cd

cobb 5-10-07 teleIn 1907 four of the brothers built a brick plant on a deposit of blue shale near Sycamore Creek on the old O. K. Dairy on the East Side. The plant excavated the shale and turned out twenty thousand bricks a day with a workforce of thirty-five men, who were paid a combined $750 a week and given board at the plant. By 1920 the plant was turning out forty thousand bricks a day. Clip is from the May 7 Telegram.

The Cobb brick company competed with the Thurber Brick Company, founded in 1897 by Colonel Robert Dickie Hunter and James Green in Erath County, and the Acme Brick Company, founded in 1891 by George Bennett in Parker County.

cobb ad 1-2-8 teleIn 1908 the Cobb plant was still outside the city limits. Clip is from the January 2 Telegram.

Brother Lyman built this house (1904) at 1600 Jarvis Street (now 1598 Sunset Terrace) on Quality Hill.

cobb plaque

cobb movie 3-4-17 stLyman’s wife served on the city’s moving picture censor board. Clip is from the March 4, 1917 Star-Telegram.

Horace Cobb

The brothers’ other business interests included the O. K. Cattle Company, whose ranch,  like the brick plant, was located on the old O. K. Dairy land. (Horace and Lyman also developed the “urban island” of North Glenwood.)

xmas-13-glen-gardenHorace and brother Lyman were instrumental in founding Glen Garden Country Club on their cattle ranch near the brick plant. On December 23, 1913 the new country club elected directors. Horace was later elected president of the country club. Clip is from the December 24 Telegram.

glen garden 4-18-13 stThis classified ad ran April 18, 1913 in the Star-Telegram.

glen garden clubhouse opens 11-3-14 stThe country club’s new clubhouse opened in November 1914. The club had 275 members and a nine-hole golf course, soon to be expanded to eighteen and forever associated with Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and Sandra Palmer. Today, of course, the Glen Garden country club and golf course are on the list of Fort Worth’s “fore!”closed. Clip is from the November 3, 1914 Star-Telegram.

GGCC opens 11-27-14 stThe formal opening dinner-dance was held November 26. Clip is from the November 27, 1914 Star-Telegram.

cobb park 4-16-21 stIn 1921 Horace Cobb gave the city 125 acres along Sycamore Creek near the brick plant and the country club. That land became Cobb Park. Clip is from the April 16 Star-Telegram.

cobb 1925 FW City~CH Rogers1This 1925 map shows the brick plant, Cobb Park, the country club, and the Glen Garden stop on the interurban line to Cleburne. (Map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)

A few blocks away at 4621 Foard Street in Cobb’s Orchard Addition, the “Clinker House” (1913) was built of imperfect bricks from the Cobb plant. This planbook house was owned by Julian C. Harris, who was the plant’s bookkeeper and a cousin of the Cobb brothers.

cobb lyman obit 08Lyman Cobb died in 1908.

Lyman Cobb is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

cobb ad 1921The Cobb Brick Company did not advertise heavily in the Star-Telegram. For Cobb, this was a big ad.

cobb-harris 1923By 1923 Julian C. Harris, whose Clinker House on Foard Street was an advertisement for the brick plant’s imperfect products, was a partner in the brick company.

cobb harris 1929cobb 36 cdBy 1929 the company had passed solely to the man in the Clinker House.

cobb horace obitg 37Horace Cobb died in 1937. Notice that Julian C. Harris was a pallbearer.

cobb horace graveHorace H. Cobb also is buried in Oakwood.

Harris Brick Company, the company that Horace and Lyman Cobb started in 1907, closed in the early 1950s.

And now one of history’s mysteries: Were the Cobb brothers and their father, Roswell Lyman Cobb, related to Lyman Cobb (1800-1864) of New York? The latter Lyman Cobb was the leading competitor of Noah Webster as an author of spelling books. The name “Lyman Cobb” was surprisingly common in New England in the nineteenth century.

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4 Responses to Go West, Young Men, and Put Your Brand on Bricks

  1. John Olthoff says:

    I know this story about Cobb brothers, but in another story you mention connection between Walter Ament Huffman & George E Bennett of Acme Brick..see in this post you mentioned Bennett

    • hometown says:

      Walter and Sarah Hendricks Huffman’s daughter Octavia married George Ellis Bennett of the Acme brick company.

  2. Interesting history. Emma Cobb, the wife of Lyman Cobb, had my grandfather apparently do plans for a remodel of the house, probably in 1914 based on the job number he assigned. You filled in some history for me on my grandfather–again!

    • hometown says:

      I don’t know much about dating architecture, but I think that house looks more modern than 1904, so it may have gotten some work. Emma/Mrs. Lyman Cobb does not appear in the S-T in 1913-1915.

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