Friday, March 11, 2016

Marching through Mansfield

I’ve found a handy app for my phone; well, I think it’s handy, Dave may feel otherwise. The
Texas Historical Markers App
app is called ‘Texas History’; it has an image of a Farm Road sign, and it allows you to hunt for and/or identify historical markers. It links into Google Maps, and is accurate to within about 300 yards; this is why Dave may not be as excited about it as I am. He drives, I give directions, and we try to hone in on where this interesting marker may or may not be; sometimes it takes a while to find the marker. Since we know the Mansfield area well, we decided we’d try out this technology in that area.

The Comanche lived in the Mansfield area long before the first wave of European settlers arrived in the in the 1840s. These Scotch-Irish farmers followed the opening of the frontier
Pyles-Hubbard House
Est. 1886
as it drifted west of the Mississippi. When they entered the North Texas area, they were not greeted kindly by the Native Americans who had already established residency, so in 1849 the Fort Worth was established to protect the farms and farmers. The area calmed down and when R.S. Man and Julian Feild arrived in about 1856 they were able to build a grist mill at was to become the center of Mansfield. The mill produced flour and meal, and was the first in North Texas to be powered by steam. The town incorporated in 1909, continuing to be a trade center for the surrounding population. Originally, the town was known as ‘Mansfeild’, a combination of the names of the founders; however, folks continually misspelled the name, and eventually it was accepted as ‘Mansfield’.

There are several historical markers in Mansfield; I found two most interesting. The
John C. Collier House
Mansfield Male and Female College was founded by John C. Collier in 1870 and could confer degrees in arts and sciences. The college actually offered instruction from the primary grades through the postsecondary level. The classes were held in two small buildings with a two-story frame building from Fort Belknap rebuilt on the college site. This house was used for classes, church services, and lodging; the second two-story building was begun in 1875. Two years later, Collier a home for his family; five small rooms on the second floor were used as the dormitory rooms for the female teachers and students. The house still stands and was designated a state historic landmark in 1984; it is now part of a mortuary.

The other site that interested me was the Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery, now a part of the Mansfield Cemetery.  In the oldest area of the cemetery is the Texas Historical Subject
Left inset: Mansfield Community Cemetery
Right inset: Civil War marker
Background: Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery
Marker (almost a quarter of a mile from where it is marked on the app). Sections of the cemetery are named for the people buried there; these folks may have originally donated land to the cemetery or were community leaders. The T.E. Blessing section was dedicated by Ernie Blessing; he and his wife, Hattie, owned a furniture store and the funeral home. Mrs. Blessing was the first licensed female embalmer in the state of Texas. There are several graves with markers showing that those interred here fought in the Civil War. Next to the Mansfield Cemetery, across a fence is the old Mansfield Community Cemetery, formally known as ‘The Colored Graveyard’. The small cemetery dates from the 1870s and may have been donated by Ralph Man, at the same time he gave the land for the Mansfield Cemetery. The cemetery is not well organized; graves and headstones were placed wherever the family desired, and with the lack of maintenance, many grave locations have been lost. There are several freed slaves are buried here, as well as many black families who had a part in the history of the area.

After we’d wandered around looking at Civil War era houses, we were hungry. There is no shortage of places to eat in Mansfield, so we will be returning to this area just to try more cafés. For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.
Three carrots

We absolutely love Maria Cuca's Mexican Cuisine in Keller, so we thought we’d try her
Top, L to R: Menu, Chips and salsa
Middle, L to R: Enchilada and taco, Taco al Carbon
Bottom: Enchiladas
mother’s restaurant, Mama Cuca's Mexican Cuisine (2880 FM157 #110, Arlington, TX 76001, 817-473-9857) located just on the border of Mansfield and Arlington. Dave had a cheese enchilada topped with chili con queso, and a chicken enchilada with sour cream sauce. Vince had a beef taco, and a cheese enchilada with chili con carne. I had a Taco al Carbon. All three dishes were served with rice and beans. We all agreed that the food was okay. We were disappointed that there was only one type of salsa served and no hot, fresh tortillas. If we’d never been to the restaurant in Keller, we’d have probably been happier with our meal. The service was good and the waiters are friendly.

There are a bunch of Texas travel apps available as free downloads. All do about the same thing. What I do like about Texas Historical Markers is that I can send feedback in the form of updated GPS information as to the actual location of the marker. Unfortunately, I can’t send a message of any sort. The accuracy of location is better on some markers than on others and some are markers are not on the app, while others aren’t on the ground. I’ll continue to use this bit of technology until something better comes along. It’s fun, and a bit like a scavenger hunt.

Historical Marker at Mansfield Cemetery
©2015 NearNormal Design and Production Studio - All rights including copyright of photographs and designs, as well as intellectual rights are reserved.