Himes Log House
The Himes Log House, among the oldest structures in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, is located in Heritage Park, Euless, Texas. Built in the 1850s, it is also the oldest surviving structure in the City of Euless. It was originally located on historic land in the center of Euless at 403 Himes Drive. Named for Andrew Jackson “Andy” Himes who purchased it in 1888 and lived in it until his death in 1926, the house honors the memory of him and his descendants who owned it until 2000 when it was donated to the City.
The house sat near the center of North Main St., West Harwood Rd., North Industrial Blvd. and West Airport Frwy. /Huffman Dr. /West Colony, a name commonly applied to a North Texas land grant created by the Republic of Texas in 1841 to encourage settlement. A land certificate was issued to Halford in 1850. He sold the certificate to James M. Cummings in 1853, who patented the property in 1854. Since a patent, or title, to property was not issued until a person had made improvements on it and lived there three years, it is likely that the house was built in 1851. It is not known who actually built the house, but it was probably Halford or Cummings. While the present Himes House cannot be positively identified as the 1851 house, there are indications that they are the same. Construction materials and techniques indicate that the Himes Log House dates from that time period.
By 1867, J. A. Jasper owned the property. That year he sold 250 acres to Mary Ann Whitson Trigg, well-to-do widow of William Hayden Trigg. She, with several children and bachelor Elisha Adam Euless (and perhaps others), migrated to Tarrant County from Bedford County, Tennessee, in 1867. The Trigg family probably lived in the log house. Mary Ann Trigg, perhaps more than any other person, deserves credit as the founder of the City of Euless; at least, she should be recognized as the “Mother of Euless.” A cotton gin was built between present Huffman Dr. and Airport Freeway on the southern part of her property, probably by her son, Daniel C. “Tuck” Trigg, Jr. It was known as Tuck Trigg’s Gin, since he operated it for several years. In 1877, a Grange Hall was built on the eastern edge of her property on present North Main St.
In 1870, Mary’s daughter, Judy Ann Trigg, married Elisha Adam Euless, who purchased the gin property and the log house in 1879 and the Grange Hall property in 1881. Adam and Judy Euless almost certainly lived in the log house. The community that grew at the site came to be known as Euless. Adam Euless was a nephew of Weldon Wiles Bobo, another native of Bedford County, Tennessee, and founder of a nearby community that was named Bedford in 1877.
In 1888, Andy Himes purchased 100 acres from Adam and Judy Euless, including the log house. Born in 1847 in Bedford County, TN, Andy Himes migrated to Texas after 1870. In Tennessee, he and his family had been neighbors of the Bobo and Euless families, as well as the Trigg, Cannon, Blessing, Green, Barton, Haley and other Bedford County families who settled at Bedford and Euless, Texas. Among other settlers in the Euless area were the Fuller, Huffman, Redden, Whitener, Jernigan and Wiser families, who had lived in Coffee County, Tennessee, near the Bedford County line.
Andy Himes married Sara Meady Andleton. The date and place of their marriage are not known. According to family tradition, by 1883 Andy was in Dallas County, where he purchased ten acres of land.
In 1886, Andy and Meady sold five acres of their property. Then they sold the other five acres to Adam and Judy Euless on June 6, 1888, for $2,000. Two days earlier, according to deed records, they had purchased the Tarrant County property from Adam and Judy for $2,000. According to a Himes family story, which differs only slightly in details from the county records, Andy “traded” ten acres in Dallas, plus $500, for the farm in Euless.
According to another Himes family tradition, when Andy bought the Euless property in 1888, he built the log house and the family moved there. But an expert on the restoration of historic buildings estimates that it was built considerably earlier. According to Bill Marquis, owner of Marquis Construction & Restoration of Ponder, Texas, who moved and restored the Himes House in 2000, it was probably built in the 1850s. Hence, it is almost certain that someone before Andy Himes built the house and lived there, and that he then bought it and added to it. It is probable that Mary Ann Trigg with her family and then the Adam Euless family lived there for a while, since they owned the property from 1867 to 1888.
The log house was typical for the time and place. Euless was located in the Eastern Cross Timbers, a heavily wooded strip of sandy and loamy land in eastern Tarrant County. Especially prevalent were large oak trees that furnished excellent logs for buildings, firewood, farm tools and household furnishings. Large trees were felled on the spot and hand hewn to construct the 20-by-18-foot single room with a solid log floor. Dovetail corner notching was typical of 1850s construction methods. Cracks between the logs in the walls were chinked, that is, filled with a mortar made of clay and straw. Over a thousand wood pegs, not nails, were used in construction. In addition to front and back doors, there were a few openings for windows that could be closed only with wood shutters. Glass window panes were added only later. The house included gun ports that could be used when inhabitants feared attack in the sparsely populated frontier country. Above the room was a sleeping loft for the children of the family. It was reached by a narrow stairway. The downstairs room was filled with a few simple household furnishings, such as a table or two, some chairs and a wood frame rope bed with corn shuck mattress. The house was heated from a fireplace; there was no indoor plumbing. Plenty of firewood was available from the trees all around, however, and a water well was dug in the front yard. Thus, the house was adequate for a family and reasonably comfortable for its time.
After purchasing the log house in 1888, Andy Himes added more rooms, using milled lumber, even covering the logs. Andy and his family farmed the sandy land, producing good crops, as did most of their neighbors. Most farmers grew fruit and vegetables, cotton and corn, and kept dairy cattle, hogs and chickens. Andy and some others also kept geese.
Meady Himes died in 1897, and Andy’s older sister, Mary Himes Nichols, soon moved in with the family. In 1912, Emmitt married Myrtle Elizabeth Nobles. The newly married couple lived in the house with his father and aunt, Mary. Emmitt and Myrtle’s first child, Thomas Andrew, was born in 1913.
When Andy died in 1926, Emmitt purchased the property from his brothers and sisters. Emmitt and Myrtle lived there until her death in 1966 and his in 1974. Andrew married Evelyn Whitener in 1941. When Andrew died in 1991, their daughter, Shirley Himes Melson, inherited the house and land.
Although a few long-time residents of Euless had always known about the log room within the Himes house, the City of Euless Historical Preservation Committee became aware of it in 1997. Realizing the historical significance of the structure, the Committee decided that it should be preserved and restored. Shirley Melson offered to donate it to the City. Euless accepted the proposal, appropriating $44,000 to move and restore it and another $5,000 to furnish it. The project, supervised by Bill Marquis, took almost a year to complete. The house was faithfully restored in most details to its 1850s condition, even to the clay and straw chinking. About 1,100 wood pegs were carved for the reconstruction. A chimney, typical for the times, was added, construction of small logs and fireproofed with 80 wheelbarrow loads of clay. A metal canopy, costing $14,000, was built over the restored house to protect it from the elements.
The reconstructed Himes Log House was officially opened and dedicated on December 9, 2000. The City of Euless Parks and Community Services Department maintains the house, and members of the Historical Preservation Committee staff it.
The Himes Log House, probably built in 1851, is the oldest structure in Euless and one of the oldest in Tarrant County. It was likely the residence of Adam Euless, who gave his name to the City of Euless, and of his mother-in-law, Mary Ann Trigg, who deserves credit as the real founder of the city. Various members of the Himes family owned it for more than a century. The house today stands as a tribute to them and to everyone who had a role in preserving and restoring it.
Visit Heritage Park at 201 Cullum Drive in Euless, TX. Tours are free on the second Saturday of every month from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Group tours can be scheduled on a different day depending on staff availability. For more information call 817-685-1649.