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Matthew Hayes Nall

EAGLE FORD, TEXAS. Eagle Ford was on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad and Loop 12 six miles west of downtown Dallas in western Dallas County. It was on the original land grants of H. Burnham and the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway. The area was first settled by the family of Enoch Horton, who moved there from Missouri in 1844 and established a home at a shallow part of the West Fork of the Trinity River, which became a fording spot for travelers. When Horton found an eagle's nest in the area, he named the crossing Eagle Ford. Several pioneer families from La Réunion settled in Eagle Ford. One source claims that another landowner was French marshall Achille François Bazaine, who was sent to Mexico by Napoleon III to help establish Austrian archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph as emperor of Mexico in the 1860s. While in Mexico Bazaine reportedly acquired approximately 200 acres of land in the Eagle Ford area.

Eagle Ford had a post office from 1858 until 1866. The community did not begin to develop until the depression of 1873 halted construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway, which made Eagle Ford its western terminus until 1876. With the construction of cattle-holding facilities, the community soon became a cattle-shipping point to rival Dallas and Fort Worth as the major city of North Texas. Eagle Ford grew from a small community centered around a general store to a community with a population of several thousand people and fifty new businesses and homes, including a two-story hotel and a railway station. One year later W. W. Basaye began publishing the Weekly Eaglet, and the community secured another post office that operated until 1918.

By 1876 construction of the Texas and Pacific had resumed, and the line was completed to Fort Worth in 1878. The westward movement of the railroad decreased Eagle Ford's importance as a cattle-shipment center, but the community evolved into an agricultural shipping point for the surrounding region. By 1882 it had a population of 200, a cotton gin and a flour mill, two schools, and a general store. The community was primarily farmers, including the Santerre and Girard families, John Laupot, B. Lavois, Frank Horton, and Wesley Cockrell.

The Eagle Ford population decreased to fifty in the 1890s and stayed at that level well into the 1930s. By 1941 the population had increased to 150. After World War II Eagle Ford grew rapidly, when the return of war veterans spurred housing development in the area. The demand for housing was so great that by 1946 many of the residents in the town were living in temporary shelters until houses could be built. This construction was accompanied by industrial growth and infrastructure construction, which by 1947 included a steel-fabricating plant and new schools and roads. Eagle Ford was incorporated into Dallas in 1956, when it had a population of 4,679.

Sam Hanna Acheson, Dallas Yesterday, ed. Lee Milazzo (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1977).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Matthew Hayes Nall, "EAGLE FORD, TX," accessed May 25, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hte02.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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