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I’ve had so much fun uncovering additional local history since composing my last blog entry that I’m now having a hard time figuring out which tidbit I should write about next! From stagecoaches, to postal routes, to long lost cemeteries, to Native Amercian camps, to you name it, there’s so much rich history to share that happened right here in our “neighborhood”. For now, I’ll focus on the background of the house that Verna Stubbs (more on her life in a later blog) lived in and sometimes parked her plane at the front door. It turns out that this house is a very historic home here in Tarrant County!
Built in 1874, the Tannahill Homestead is the oldest standing house in our area of Tarrant County. Robert Tannahill and his wife, Mary bought the 320 acre property in 1856. One of the reasons that it has stood the test of time is because the house’s walls were constructed with stones and are 18-20 inches thick. Another reason is the loving care and hard maintenance that the four owners of the house have provided over the last 146 years. The Tannahills owned the house from 1874-1894. It was then sold to William Tinsley who owned it until 1945 when it was bought by Verna and Johnnie Stubbs. The current owner, Emily Leonard, purchased the historic house in 1993.
Recently, Emily very graciously invited my wife Suzy and me over for a visit of the homestead. After spending some time listening to interesting stories about the house and previous owners (more to share on this in future blogs), I was able to take a closer look at the stone walls.
Robert Tannahill designed and built the house to have 4 rooms on the west and 4 rooms on the east (2 upstairs and 2 downstairs both sides) with a dog trot running through the middle. He hired Native Americans to quarry the stones from the Live Oak Creek area. He then cut each stone by hand and laid it into place for us to see it many years later. As you can see from the photo above the doorway, it appears that he horizontally place 3 cut stones side by side to obtain the 20 inch thickness. You can also see on the photo of the wall to the right of the door times when the mortar has been repaired.
Robert chose stones primarily for the protection the walls would provide from raiding Native American parties and the fact that they were locally available. But were exactly was the location from where the stones were quarried?
Low and behold, I found a map in the large resources of the White Settlement Historical Museum that pinpoints it right along the side of Verna Trail! He was able to mine Goodland Limestone that formed over 100 million years ago when this area was covered by a shallow sea (but more about this in a later blog including the cool fossils that we can find in our neighborhood).
In 1979, a historical marker was placed on the south side of the house to commemorate it’s historical significance. More about this in my next blog entry.
Now, as I drive home from work, I can glance out the window to see the quarry and think about the back breaking effort it took 146 years ago to build a structure that still stands today.
Note: If you are interested in learning more about our local history, please stop by the White Settlement Museum on Hanon Drive. Carol Davis would love to answer your questions!