The Colony Public Library

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Chapter 2: Peters Colony Company History

From its beginning, the company was called Peters Colony.  The company likely received its name from William S. Peters, the company’s primary promoter and the first name on the list of investors named in the legislation.  The settlers that migrated here and obtained the company’s free land were called Peters Colonists.  The City of The Colony was named to recognize the contribution made by Peters Colony and to honor and memorialize all Peters Colonist that settled in North Texas. (F&J advertisement)  

The company was also known by several other names.  The initial company formed by Peters to promote the Peters Colony contract was referred to as Peters & Company from 1839-1841.  In November of 1841, following the signing of the contract, the company reorganized and renamed its’ self the Texas Agricultural, Commercial and Manufacturing Company. It then reorganized again in October of 1844 and was named the Texas Emigration and Land Company (KY Connor 19-20). 

Passage of the Land and Colonization Law and the signing of the contract with Peters Colony in August of 1841 became the catalyst for migration to North Texas.  The number of new arrivals began to increase in 1842 when Peters, on behalf of Peters Colony, began to advertise its free Texas land in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas and England. 

Peters was a promoter and his advertising is noted for embellishing some of the benefits of living in North Texas.  He described the land as the most fertile and abundantly watered by rivers and streams.  He described the climate as “mild and beautiful for health and pleasure. It is not surpassed by any in the world, and in this respect may be termed the Italy of America – the temperature ranges from 30 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the year, the winters are mild and the summer months are relieved of their heat by a constant breeze which plays over the country” (Appendix 1).  

Following the creation of the Peters Colony company, one of the first settlers to arrive in North Texas was John Neely Bryan.  Mr. Bryan reportedly moved to North Texas in November of 1841 and opened a general store to sell supplies to the Peters Colony settlers.  He is later credited with being the founder of Dallas. (Jackson 157)

 Go to Chapter 3: Preston Trail