Honoring a founder of the Carroll school and his family’s exceptional contributions to the community, the City has named the new open-space park in the Metairie subdivision the John R. (J.R.) and Ora Graham Shivers Park.

The Metairie development is set on 29 acres of land located at the southwest corner of the White Chapel Blvd/Dove Road intersection. The 2.75-acre parkland was dedicated to the City, offering a vast open space for park-goers to enjoy. The pet-friendly park will maintain natural vegetation with a granite path through the undergrowth and include amenities such as large stone benches, drinking fountains and pet waste-pickup stations.

J.R. Shivers was one of the first three Carroll School trustees and was instrumental in the building of the 1919 Carroll School.
“The developer proposed the name at the request of the Shivers’ family,” said Chris Tribble, City of Southlake’s director of community services. J.R. Shivers is the grandfather of Rebecca Utley, the previous landowner.

According to data collected by the Southlake Historical Society, J.R. Shivers married Ora Grace Graham in 1902. The couple lived in a log house and farmed 100 acres that straddled White Chapel Boulevard to Shady Oaks, north of Hwy. 114. In 1919, J.R. Shivers helped spearhead the building of the 1919 Carroll School, a three-room brick building on N. Carroll and Highland.

In Southlake, Bob Jones’s name is on a park, nature center and road, but who was he? An exhibit now open through September 4 at Southlake Town Hall, presented by the Southlake Historical Society, will tell the remarkable story of Bob Jones (1850-1936) and his wife, Almeady Chisum Jones (1857-1949). It’s called “Bob and Almeady Chisum Jones: A true story of resilience, courage and success.”

The exhibit will be displayed in the lobby of Town Hall and in the Southlake Public Library during regular business hours. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Both Bob Jones and Almeady Chisum Jones, had white fathers and mothers who were slaves and grew up on the Texas frontier. Bob’s father brought him to southern Denton County in about 1860. After the war, Bob drove cattle along the Chisholm Trail and later built a prosperous ranch and farm on the Denton-Tarrant County line. In 1858, Almeady and her mother and sister were given to cattle baron John Chisum as collateral for $814 worth of cattle being driven to California. She thought of Chisum as her father.

Bob and Almeady married in 1875 and had 10 children.

“Bob and Almeady were exceptional people, able to make their way through a difficult world. They earned the trust and respect of all who knew them,” said historical society president Connie Cooley. “They valued God, family and education. They took pride in who they were.”

Today, most of the couple’s 1,000-plus acres are under Lake Grapevine, which was built between 1947-1952. In 1948, their two youngest sons, Jinks and Emory, established Grapevine Auction Sales at the southeast corner of Highway 114 and what was then called White’s Chapel Road. Their wives, Lula and Elnora, ran a cafe that is thought by historians to be the first integrated cafe in Texas. For years, the auction barn was the largest business in Southlake.

Bob Jones Road was named in the 1970s. In 1988, the City annexed land up to Lake Grapevine that included former Bob Jones property. Bob Jones Park opened in 1998 and the Nature Center & Preserve opened in 2008. Much of the original Jones homestead that is not under water is part of the nature center.

In gathering information about the Joneses, “We were lucky that amateur historians had interviewed Jones family members over the years,” said Anita Robeson, SHS historian. “This year the Jones family has shared with us memories, pictures, clothing, letters, legal records and other items that give fresh insight into the family’s story.”

"Letters written to Bob by his father, clothing Bob wore at his wedding, a lovely hand-sewn dress worn by one of his daughters, a poll tax receipt and other items will be on display," she said.

This is the sixth summer exhibit presented by the Southlake Historical Society. Past topics have included old Southlake photos and the stories they tell; private airstrips in Southlake from about 1950-1980; Denton County history through the eyes of a cattle baron, outlaws, lawmen, church ladies and former slaves; How the War “over there” (World War I) impacted now-Southlake and Texas; and the Centennial of Carroll Hill School, the Birthplace of Carroll ISD and the City of Southlake. Each topic is chosen a year in advance.

To read more about the Jones family, see www.southlakehistory.org.

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