Summary: The donor is a Fort Worth lawyer and the great grandson of John Peter Smith (1831-1901), a prominent figure in Fort Worth history who is often referred to as the "father of Fort Worth." John Peter Smith moved to Fort Worth in 1853 after graduating from Bethany College in Virginia. In 1854, he established the first school in Fort Worth in an abandoned army hospital left by the Second United States Dragoons.
In 1855, Smith began working as a surveyor and land locator while studying law until the outbreak of the Civil War. Smith helped form Company K under the command of Col. William Steele and joined the Seventh Regiment of the Texas Cavalry in Sibley's brigade. In 1864, Smith was promoted to colonel and was placed in command of 600 soldiers until the end of the war in 1865.
After the war, Smith became a lawyer and began buying large amounts of land in Fort Worth. He quickly became the largest landowner in Fort Worth and played an important role in developing the city. Some of his noteworthy contributions include helping to move the county seat from Birdville to Fort Worth, establishing the first stockyard in Fort Worth and helping to create a transportation system for the city.
The donor gave the following rocking chair that once belonged to John Peter Smith. The chair was given to the donor by his mother, Josephine Terrell Smith Hudson, when he began practicing law at McGown, Godfrey, Decker Law Firm. She told him that the rocking chair was located in the first law office of Fort Worth and was made by state prison inmates.
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