Penn Springs was at the intersection of Penn Springs Road and Danieldale Road, at a site that is now in the center of Duncanville, eleven miles southwest of Dallas in southwest Dallas County. It was on the original land grant of J. Anderson in an area where two springs flowed into a small reservoir. During a drought people came thirty miles for water. Penn Springs was originally known as Indian Springs for the Native Americans who frequently camped there. The community was named after Maj. John Penn of Illinois, who first saw the area in 1848 when he visited Crawford Trees, a friend of his from Illinois. The two friends then traveled to California as part of the gold rush. After discovering gold, Penn returned to the springs area and purchased a section of land owned by Phillip Kimmel. Penn traveled to Illinois, gathered his wife Nancy and their seven children, and returned to Texas in 1854. Upon their arrival the Penn family constructed a log cabin on what became known as Penn Springs Place. Penn later formed a sheep business with Samuel Uhl. Their sheep herds sometimes numbered as many as 1,000. Penn Springs became a watering stop for pioneers, wagontrains, and cattle drives on the Shawnee Trail. In 1882 the community hosted a reunion of Parsons's Brigade and a celebration of the American Declaration of Independence. By 1900 the community was no longer listed on Sam Street's Map of Dallas County, Texas. In 1982 a historical marker at the site of Penn Springs was dedicated in a ceremony which included a commemoration of the Parsons's Brigade reunion and the dedication of the site as a city park.
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.
Matthew Hayes Nall | © Texas State Historical Association
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