Dallas is on the Trinity River in the center of Dallas County in North Central Texas. It is crossed by Interstate highways 20, 30, 35, and 45. The city was founded by John Neely Bryan, who settled on the east bank of the Trinity near a natural ford in November 1841. Bryan had picked the best spot for a trading post to serve the population migrating into the region. The ford, at the intersection of two major Indian traces, provided the only good crossing point for miles. Two highways proposed by the Republic of Texas soon converged nearby. Unknown to Bryan, however, he had settled on land granted by the republic to the Texan Land and Emigration Company of St. Louis, headed by William S. Peters. Bryan eventually legalized his claim, and the extensive promotional efforts of the Peters colony attracted settlers to the region. In 1844 J. P. Dumas surveyed and laid out a townsite comprising a half mile square of blocks and streets. The origin of the name Dallas is unknown. Candidates include George Mifflin Dallas, vice president of the United States, 1845–49; his brother, Commodore Alexander J. Dallas, United States Navy; and Joseph Dallas, who settled near the new town in 1843. When Dallas County was formed in 1846, Dallas was designated as the temporary county seat; in 1850 voters selected it as the permanent county seat over Hord's Ridge (Oak Cliff) and Cedar Springs, both of which eventually came within its corporate limits. The Texas legislature granted Dallas a town charter on February 2, 1856. Dr. Samuel Pryor, elected the first mayor, headed a town government consisting of six aldermen, a treasurer-recorder, and a constable.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Place type

Dallas is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Peters Colony)


  • Latitude

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Dallas by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,358,066 2019 Texas Demographic Center
1,197,816 2010 Texas Demographic Center
1,188,580 2000 Texas Demographic Center
1,007,618 1990 Texas Demographic Center
904,078 1980 Texas Demographic Center
844,401 1970 Texas Demographic Center
679,684 1960 Texas Demographic Center
434,462 1950 Texas Demographic Center
294,734 1940 Texas Demographic Center
260,475 1930 Texas Demographic Center
158,976 1920 Texas Demographic Center
92,104 1910 Texas Demographic Center
42,638 1900 Texas Demographic Center
38,067 1890 Texas Demographic Center
10,358 1880 Texas Demographic Center
3,000 1870 Texas Demographic Center
2,000 1860 Texas Demographic Center
480 1850 Texas Demographic Center