District Court Oak

Historical Period: Early Statehood (1845-1861)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements, Law & Order
Species: Post Oak (Quercus stellata)
County: Parker
Public Access: No

A few feet north of this handsome post oak, near Weatherford, is a vestige of the old Fort Worth-Fort Belknap Stageline Road.

In 1842, James J. Beeman moved from Missouri to Texas and settled in the Dallas area. Shortly before Parker County was created, Beeman moved about 30 miles west of Fort Worth and built a log cabin behind this big oak tree. It was a good day’s travel from Fort Worth and 60 miles farther west to Fort Belknap, in what is now Young County.

Beeman’s Fort, as it was known locally, was a welcome stop to weary travelers. At Beeman’s, they could receive both food and lodging and a respite from the heat of the sun in the shade of this tree. Slight depressions still visible in the ground behind the oak indicate where his cellar and a well were located. A small pile of stones near the cellar marks the approximate location of the fireplace.

When Parker County was created in 1855, Beeman’s Fort was the closest thing to being a town that the county could boast. The newly elected judge of the 16th Judicial District in Dallas was an old friend of Beeman’s. It was only logical that he should choose to hold the first session of district court in Parker County at the homesite of his friend. On June 2, 1856, the first court was convened under this oak tree, with Judge Nathaniel G. Burford of Dallas County presiding.

The site of the first session of this district court was marked by the State of Texas during the Centennial Year.

The District Court Oak is located at the BenDora Brown Swiss Dairy, north of the town of Weatherford.