While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Randolph B. Campbell
Bryan Thomas Barry (1851–1919).
Bryan T. Barry served in the House of the Seventeenth Texas Legislature and later served as mayor of Dallas. Courtesy of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Legislative Reference Library of Texas and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BARRY, BRYAN THOMAS (1851–1919). Bryan Thomas Barry, legislator and mayor of Dallas, son of Augustus and Margaret Eleanor (Younger) Barry, was born on a farm near Dresden, Navarro County, Texas, on October 26, 1851. He lived there until 1870 when he moved with his family to Tehuacana in Limestone County. Barry’s formal education began at a variety of local schools and was completed at Trinity University in Tehuacana from 1870 to 1872. He then read law at the office of Stewart and Barziza in Houston, received his license to practice law in 1873, and moved to Navarro County, where he acquired 300 acres of land ten miles northwest of Corsicana; his property eventually became the community called Barry. 

Barry married Odora Elizabeth Williams in Robertson County on May 1, 1874. The couple had two children. Following the death of his first wife in 1914, he married Ellen Sophie Hermany Stone. 

Barry began his career in public life as a Democrat from Navarro County in the House of Representatives of the Seventeenth Texas Legislature from 1881 to 1883. In the legislature, he served as chair of the School Claims Committee. Later that decade when he was out of office, he twice served as chair of the State Democratic Executive Committee.

Barry moved to Dallas in 1888 and became a partner in the law firm of Barry and Etheridge. He was active in promoting the local economy and served as secretary/treasurer for Texas Savings and Trust. Within a few years of his arrival in Dallas, Barry became involved in politics. He ran for mayor of the city in 1893 and won the office only after the Texas Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a suit contesting the election results. He was re-elected in 1894 and, after losing in 1895, was elected again and served from 1897 to 1898 for another one-year term. His final term as mayor came after a victorious contest in 1904. One of Barry’s main achievements as mayor was the building of a dam on the Trinity River to provide a water supply for Dallas. He also played a major role in making Fair Park into a city-owned property, and he appointed the first Dallas Park Board.

Bryan Thomas Barry died at his home on Live Oak Street in Dallas on March 5, 1919. Alexander C. Garrett, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, conducted the funeral service at Barry’s home, and he was buried in Oakland Cemetery. In 1934 his remains, along with those of his first wife, were reinterred at the Grove Hill Cemetery in Dallas.


Dallas Morning News, March 6, 7, 1919. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Bryan T. Berry (https://lrl.texas.gov/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=4228&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=barry~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=), accessed December 13, 2019.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Randolph B. Campbell, "BARRY, BRYAN THOMAS ," accessed May 24, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbary.

Uploaded on December 17, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...