One of the Earliest Homes Belonging to Original La Reunion Settlers Is Razed — 1925
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
ONE OF EARLIEST DALLAS HOMES WILL BE RAZED TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW HOME OF KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS
Dallas Morning News, March 5, 1925
An ancient Dallas landmark that obviously is entitled to the name, a modest little plaster cottage that serves as the sole surviving relic of the old French colony that figured in the early history of Dallas, is to be torn away in a few weeks to make room for a new home of the Knights of Pythias. The house now is numbered 2012 on Bryan street, near the corner of Harwood, but when it was built in 1874 by A. Frichot there was no need of street numbers to distinguish it from its neighbors. “About a mile and a half east of the courthouse” was the official designation of the house in those post-bellum days.
John Priot on May 4, 1874, sold the lot for $200 to A. Frichot and described it in the deed as beginning at “the west corner of a piece of land sold on Dec. 8, 1860, by P. P. Frichot to Mrs. Barbar[a] Frick, being a part of the original John Grigsby League.” This deed was recorded by A. Harwood, then County Clerk. There is a legend that the two Frichot brothers built homes near each other of the same type, one of which was torn down years ago to make room for a brick building on the southwest corner of Harwood and Bryan streets. The other is the modest dwelling that is to be razed to make room for the new Pythian building.
In 1876, after the house was built, A. Frichot deeded it to Mary L Frichot, his daughter, in consideration of the sum of $1,000, the records show. The next change made in the ownership of the place, according to the records, was in 1908 when deeds were signed conveying the property from “Mary L. J. Prine and J. A. Prine” to Colonel John M. McCoy for the sum of $4,600.
The Knights of Pythias bought the property from the estate of Colonel McCoy recently. This deal was made for the estate by Judge Wendel Spence, executor for the McCoy estate. For the last seventeen years the house has been occupied by Mrs. Pearl Miller as a residence.
A week or two ago a Dallas woman approached the agent of the Knights of Pythias with an offer to lease the place and transform it into an antique tea room. The offer was refused, as the building must come down shortly to make way for the new structure.
THE STORY OF OLD FRENCHTOWN (excerpt)
Dallas Morning News, Nov. 23, 1919
Jean Priot was a tailor. He was born in Nevers, Oct. 26, 1832, came to La Reunion in 1855, died in Dallas in 1908. He came to New Orleans with a tailor who held out false inducements, and from New Orleans joined this colony. M. Priot married Leontine Frichot, who came with her father, Philip Pierre Frichot, and his brother, Christophe Desire Frichot. From this union were born three daughters – now Mesdames, Beilharz and Petermann.
Philip Frichot was a contractor, and, upon disintegration of the colony, established a brickyard, from which he, with his son Achilles and M. Emil Remond built all the brick houses and concrete structures of that day in Dallas.
As cited in the articles above, the Frichot family was one of the original settlers of the French La Reunion utopian colony of Dallas in 1855, and the land — and later the house — stayed in the family from before 1860 until 1908, when the property was sold to John M. McCoy (who was, perhaps, appropriately, the son of one of the very first settlers of Dallas who arrived in the 1840s). Info about La Reunion is here and here.
The Knights of Pythias building referenced above is not to be confused with the substantially more “famous” one — the then-already standing and now-historic structure in Deep Ellum at 2551 Elm Street — less than a half a mile away. The building going in at Bryan and Harwood was, for want of more delicate language, the “white” one, and the one on Elm Street was the “black” one. Both were fraternal organizations dedicated to philanthropy and civic involvement, but apparently “fraternity” went only so far as race was concerned.
More Flashback Dallas posts on La Reunion can be found here.
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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.