The history of Fort Worth dates back to 1853 following an abandoned United States’ Army Port. The early settlers of the region moved in to occupy the empty structures that were found on the bluff that sat above the river. They then began building settlements in the regions around the bluffs. In a bid to distinguish themselves from the previously existing military post, the community started referring to themselves as Fort Town. The settlers were quite few in number; they did not exceed 100 members.
Ephraim Daggett was one of the pioneer settlers, and he was generous enough to give part of his land for civic development and improvement plans. John Peter Smith (who is often credited as the ‘Founding Father of Fort Worth’) was also another pioneer settler. He started the first school in the region in 1854. Other settlers who contributed towards city growth include Archibald Leonard and Henry Daggett (they established the first general stores) and Julian Field (he was the first postmaster in 1856 and started the first flourmill).
In 1856, the small township got connected to the outside world by the United States mail stage line. Two years later, the Butterfield Over-land stage line started operations. Developments continued happening, and in 1878 passenger and mail services from the community to Arizona’s Yuma commenced. Despite being a frontier town for over two decades, Fort Worth was not quite under the threat of American Indians.
Seemingly, all the communities that passed by the area were not as strong; rather, they were peaceful troops more interested in offering gifts in exchange for protection from hostile and warlike neighbors. While the local legends may hold a contrary opinion, there is no written record to support this.
In 1849, Tarrant County was created, with Birdville being designated as the first county seat. In 1856, 7 years later, Fort Town residents challenged the existing status quo. They got to the state’s legislature and held a special election that was aimed at determining the most ideal location for a county seat. Fort Worth won narrowly, despite there being charges of unlawful voting. In 1860, a second election was held, and Fort Worth carried the day in an overwhelming manner. In 1873, Fort Worth got incorporated as a city and it acquired the mayor council system of governance. Municipal elections would be held each year in April, with council members being elected to represent the city wards.