Tag Archives: Dallas

Reflections on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

by Rich Weatherly

For anyone old enough to remember the JFK assassination it’s one of those significant emotional events we’ll never forget. It’s much like our memory of the attacks on 9/11.

I began my day on Friday November 22, 1963 preparing to return home from the Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago. Having just completed the US Navy Class A Radar School, I’d packed my sea bag, taken care of last minute administrative details and found myself sitting in the waiting room of the dispensary over the Noon hour, getting ready to retrieve my medical records. Our school was one of many graduating classes at the training center; some returning home while others transferred directly to a new duty station. Conversations centered on plans for the transition. The room filled with the low hum of chatter. Each person waited for his name to be called from a clerk at the front desk. At about 12:30 p.m. someone patched a Chicago radio station broadcast over the public address system.

Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza (Photo credit: Miradortigre)

The first announcements only mentioned an attack on the presidential motorcade and that Texas Governor John Connolly had been injured. As the facts began to be sorted out, we learned the truth. Shock and dismay spread across the faces of everyone gathered and the chatter transformed into silence when we learned that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.

English: John F. Kennedy, former President of ...

English: John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States. Slightly modified from original (right eye darkened to match brightness of left). Türkçe: John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963), Amerika Birleşik Devletleri’nin 35. Başkanı. 1961 yılında Başkanlık görevine başlayan Kennedy, 1963 yılında hâlâ görevdeyken bir suikast sonucu hayatını kaybetmiştir. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Later that afternoon, I boarded a Santa Fe passenger train on my way to Union Station in Dallas, Texas only a couple blocks from the School Book Depository. The train was scheduled to arrive almost exactly forty-eight hours after the assassination of the president but minutes before arrival at the station, our train pulled off to a siding. When we finally arrived at union station we learned why we were delayed. Jack Ruby had shot and killed the alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald.

Ruby shoots Oswald. Robert H. Jackson won the ...

Ruby shoots Oswald. Robert H. Jackson won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for this photograph. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That was quite a blight on the six-week leave I’d taken before returning to active duty. Speculation reigned for a time over the meaning of the events that weekend of November 22-24, 1963. The entire nation mourned this popular president, and we watched as the media covered events leading up to his burial in Arlington Cemetery. It’s hard to believe fifty years have passed since the terrible sequence of events.

If you were old enough at the time to remember the impact this  event had on your life, I encourage you to leave a comment. This was a pivotal event in the  history of our country.


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Three Forks Families Blog at WordPress – John Neely Bryan

In the middle of the nineteenth century my ancestor Isaac ‘Ike’ Story traveled to north Texas with other families from southern Illinois. Prior to that Sam Houston’s Treaty with the Indian Tribes of North Texas at Bird’s Fort had paved the way for settlement of the area. This

Ike Story, Pioneer, entrepreneur and postmaster

area of lush prairies and rivers also had an abundance of timber teaming with game. These features created a natural draw for early settlement.

Trails were being blazed into three forks. One of the earliest settlers and entrepreneurs was John Neely Bryan.

The Texas State Historical Association‘s article on this pioneer gives us an in-depth look into the life of the founder of what is now Dallas, Texas. Their article continues his story.

John Neely Bryan, Indian trader, farmer, lawyer, and founder of Dallas, son of James and Elizabeth (Neely) Bryan, was born on December 24, 1810, in Fayetteville, Tennessee. He attended Fayetteville Military Academy and after reading law was admitted to the Tennessee bar. Around 1833 he moved to Arkansas, where he became an Indian trader. According to some sources, he and a partner laid out the town of Van Buren, Arkansas. Bryan made his first trip to the future site of Dallas, Texas, in 1839. He returned to Van Buren temporarily to settle his affairs, and in November 1841 he was back in Texas. He settled on the east bank of the Trinity River, not far from the present location of downtown Dallas. In the spring of 1842 he persuaded several families who had settled at Bird’s Fort to join him. On February 26, 1843, Bryan married Margaret Beeman, a daughter of one of these families. The couple had five children. Bryan served as postmaster in the Republic of Texas and operated a ferry across the Trinity where Commerce Street crosses the river today. In 1844 he persuaded J. P. Dumas to survey and plat the site of Dallas and possibly helped him with the work. Bryan was instrumental in the organizing of Dallas County in 1846 and in the choosing of Dallas as its county seat in August 1850. When Dallas became the county seat, Bryan donated the land for the courthouse.

He joined the California gold rush in 1849 but returned to Dallas within a year. In January 1853 he was a delegate to the state Democratic convention. In 1855, after shooting a man who had insulted his wife, Bryan fled to the Creek Nation. The man recovered, but although Bryan was surely informed of that fact within months of his flight, he did not return to his family in Dallas for about six years. He traveled to Colorado and California, apparently looking for gold, and returned to Dallas in 1860 or early 1861. He joined Col. Nicholas H. Darnell‘s Eighteenth Texas Cavalry regiment in the winter of 1861 and served with that unit until late 1862, when he was discharged because of his age and poor health. When he returned to Dallas in 1862, he became active once more in community affairs. In 1863 he was a trustee for Dallas Male and Female Academy. In 1866 he was prominent in efforts to aid victims of the flood that occurred that year. He also chaired a citizens’ meeting that pressed for the completion of the Houston and Texas Central Railway and presided at a rally seeking full political rights for all ex-Confederates. In 1871–72 he was one of the directors of the Dallas Bridge Company, the company that built the first iron bridge across the Trinity. He was also on the platform at the welcoming ceremonies for the Houston and Texas Central train when it pulled into town in mid-July 1872.

By 1874 Bryan’s mind was clearly impaired. He was admitted to the State Lunatic Asylum (later the Austin State Hospital ) in February 1877, and he died there on September 8 of that year. He was a Presbyterian.

For more official information about this engagement please refer to Bibliography

John William Rogers, The Lusty Texans of Dallas (New York: Dutton, 1951; enlarged ed. 1960; expanded ed., Dallas: Cokesbury Book Store, 1965). Lucy C. Trent, John Neely Bryan (Dallas: Tardy, 1936).

Cecil Harper, Jr., “BRYAN, JOHN NEELY,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbran), accessed January 14, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.:


July 8, 2011 · 10:04 am