Traders Oak

Historical Period: Early Statehood (1845-1861)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements, Law & Order
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Tarrant
Public Access: Yes

In the spring of 1849, a military post was built on the site of the present Tarrant County Courthouse and named for General William J. Worth, a hero in the Mexican War.

That same year, Henry Clay Daggett and Archibald Franklin Leonard came to the area to establish a trading post, both for protection and for patronage. Army regulations prohibited merchants from selling goods within a mile of a fort, so the two traders built a log cabin behind this large live oak tree, just a mile from Fort Worth, and began operating the first successful business in the area.

A few yards northwest of this tree is a flowing spring, around which Indians camped when they came to trade their pecans, furs, and buffalo hides at the Daggett-Leonard store. The site was also a favorite off-duty spot for soldiers from the Fort.

By an act of the Legislature on December 3, 1849, Tarrant County was created from Navarro County. Chief Justice William C. Hurd of Dallas County appointed Colonel M. T. Johnson to hold an election for county officers. That first election was held at the Daggett-Leonard trading post some time in 1850, and Birdville, about six miles east of Fort Worth, was selected as the county seat.

The trading post also was the site of Tarrant County's first district court, which convened in November 1850. Judge Oran M. Roberts, who later became governor of Texas in 1879, presided over that court.

In 1853, the military abandoned Fort Worth, so Daggett and Leonard moved their business into an empty barracks at the fort.

The tree is located on the east side of Traders Oak Park, in the 1200 block of Samuels Ave., in Fort Worth.