“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Irving in Dallas County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Bear Creek Community

Bear Creek Community Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By QuesterMark, July 13, 2016
1. Bear Creek Community Marker
Inscription.  Settlers began arriving in this area, once a part of Robertson’s Colony, in the 1850s. Early families included the Casters, Borahs, Sowers and Haleys. Following the Civil War, freedmen moved to the area, and friends and families once separated by slavery were reconnected. Jim Green, the first African American landowner in what became known as the Bear Creek community, bought his acreage in 1878. Others soon followed: Jim Chivers, Ben and Rose Dilworth, Alex King, Elizabeth Lawson, Collins and Rachel Patton, D.W. Ellison (Ellerson), Sam Sweat, the Trigg family and Minnie Shelton (Sheldon), who later donated land for Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery.

These families organized the Shady Grove Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in 1884, erecting a one-room church and school building on land donated by Jim Green. The congregation, which built a larger structure in 1897, continued to grow and worship together throughout the 20th century.

The Bear Creek community school, known as Freedom School, began as a private education facility. The students later transferred to Grand Prairie’s Dal Worth School, which became County Colored School
Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By QuesterMark, July 13, 2016
2. Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center
Bear Creek Community marker is on the right in the background.
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No. 2. It, along with schools from the Sowers community, were annexed to the Irving Independent School District in 1955. Early teachers in the Bear Creek settlement included Josie Davis and Earlie Mae Wheeler.

Approximately 150 years after the first settlers came to the area, the once rural Bear Creek settlement is experiencing rapid growth from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and related highway and airport expansion. Shelton’s Bear Creek Cemetery is one of few links to the settlement and the lives of the families who contributed over the years to the community.
Erected 2004 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 15243.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 32° 49.058′ N, 97° 0.102′ W. Marker is in Irving, Texas, in Dallas County. Marker is on Jackson Street east of Gilbert Road, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located on the grounds of the Jackie Townsell Bear Creek Heritage Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3925 Jackson St, Irving TX 75061, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jackie Mae Townsell (here, next to this marker); Haley Memorial Cemetery (approx. one mile away); Sowers Community (approx. one mile away); Dr. Franklin Monroe Gilbert
Bear Creek Community Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J Frye
3. Bear Creek Community Marker
(approx. 1.1 miles away); Daniel Webster Gilbert, M.D. (approx. 1.1 miles away); Sowers Cemetery (approx. 1.1 miles away); Shady Grove Cemetery (approx. 1˝ miles away); Site of the Dr. D. W. Gilbert Homestead (approx. 1.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Irving.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 17, 2016, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas. This page has been viewed 437 times since then and 92 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 17, 2016, by QuesterMark of Fort Worth, Texas.   3. submitted on October 1, 2021, by J Frye of Fort Worth, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 26, 2022