Keller is a city that demonstrates many of the best attributes of the state of Texas. The resilience of the first settlers of the area and their commitment is astounding.
A Look at the History of Keller, Texas
In the mid-1840s, a group of daring families from Missouri homesteaded close to the head-waters of Big Bear Creek. These brave pioneers dealt with a variety of problems and threats that caused many others in the area to give up and find a home elsewhere.
Sickness, aggression from the fearsome Comanche nation, and other survival situations were a daily threat to the families that settled in the Northeast Tarrant County. Despite these difficulties, the families that settled the western fringe of the Eastern Cross Timbers area persevered.
After a decade of surviving these trying times, a widow named Parmelia Allen, alongside her adult children, established Mount Gilead Baptist Church in 1850 under the summer sun on July 13th.
The little log church became a center for fellowship and community for the settlers. The church was a place where children were baptized, and young couples were married to begin new families. Mount Gilead Baptist Church was burned in 1859 during a native raid but was rebuilt not long after the attack.
Mount Gilead was the only schoolhouse serving the community until 1910.
From Covered Wagons to a New Town
The area known as Double Springs, just a half-mile from Mount Gilead Baptist Church, would eventually become the site of what is now modern-day Keller. The 1870s would see the construction of a post office, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin, and several stores. All selling goods ranging from the latest fashions to arrive from New York City to beans, bacon, and bullets.
Texas railway and the Pacific railways were completed that connected Texarkana to Fort Worth in 1881, allowing for the creation of multiple small towns alongside it. A druggist of Tarrant County named H.W. Black set aside 40 acres of land fourteen miles north of Fort Worth to create a city called Athol. Before a year had passed, the town was renamed Keller in honor of a beloved train foreman John C. Keller, who helped to lay the track that brought the settlement to life.
A Multi-Generational Wellspring
In the spring of 1896, locals drilled an artesian well. The well was a central source of fresh, drinkable water for the settlement. Over time the well filled with silt and was plugged and eventually forgotten. The well was rediscovered in 1984 and reopened under the name Samantha Springs.
Samantha Springs produces over 200,000 gallons of water today and is enjoyed by people throughout Northeast Texas. The water supplier is named in honor of Samantha McCombs, a girl who passed away at the age of three while waiting for a heart transplant.
The city of Keller named December 17th as Samantha McCombs day. This was to help raise awareness of human organ donations for transplant purposes and to support charitable organizations that work to help those in need of a transplant.
A City that Personifies the Spirit of Texas