Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Kaufman County, Texas
Chamber of Commerce.
This area was settled by the white man as early as the 1830s. It was an area with an abundance of wildlife, particularly bison and the wild horses called mustangs. It also became a favored hunting area for the local Native Americans. Actual settlers didn't arrive until around the mid-1840's. A community of sorts began to develop at the crossroads of the Dallas-Kaufman Road and the Bonham-Buffalo Road though the populace was limited until after the Civil War. About this time, two men, Asa R. Newton and Harben H. Self bought land and platted a town named Brooklin (Brooklyn) Unfortunately for the two men, the railroad bypassed the new community. The Texas & Pacific Railroad platted a new town a short distance to the north and named it Brooklyn to replace the bypassed village. Once the name of Brooklyn was submitted to the Post Office Department, the residents were ready to move forward. Unfortunately, there was already another town by that name in the county. John Wein Forney, a director for the railroad and quite instrumental in bringing the line through Brooklyn was honored by local residents when his surname was submitted as the new town name. Forney was accepted as the new village name.
Forney was incorporated in 1884, but that was dissolved in 1890 because many citizens didn't want to pay taxes. It was again incorporated in 1910. Forney had the fortune of being along the route of the Dixie Overland Highway, built in 1914. The route was touted as the only year-round ocean-to-ocean highway in the US. Later, the highway was upgraded to US Highway 80. The hay and feed business grew in this area with cotton surpassing it by the 1920's. The town thrived with the new economy causing many beautiful homes to be built in Forney, some of which have survived and become historical landmarks. The Great Depression of the 1930's hurt Forney a great deal. Then in 1935, a tornado ruined many parts of town including the cottonseed oil mill. The mill later closed down and many other businesses in town did the same. By the mid-1940's, the town lost its forward movement. It wasn't until the 1960's that Forney began to move forward again.
After its first antique store opened in Forney in the late 1960's, a new industry was born. Forney has now been recognized by the Texas Senate as the "Antique Capital of Texas" (Senate Resolution #101 - July, 1987).
Here is a good history page for Forney.
Forney was "named after the railroad businessman John Forney of Pennsylvania, friend of President Andrew Johnson after the Lincoln assassination. John Forney's family was of German descent and the name Forney actually comes from the olde German word farney meaning 'furnace' or 'flames'. Most of the settlers of Forney's past and present are of Scotch-Irish stock and of the Baptist religion. The town's mascot is the jackrabbit due to the overabundance of that animal in the flood plain and cotton fields that characterize this area's landscape."
excerpt from an old history book held at the courthouse. It was written by the first town mangerís secretary in the 1920ís.
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Antiques in Forney