The area called Sunset Hill Addtion today, had it’s early origins out of the Peter’s Colony. In 1941 a North Texas empresario granted a group of English investors, led by William S. Peters to migrate and settle in the area of today’s Oak Cliff vacinity. William had migrated to the United States in 1827 and in 1841, he and his sons, and son-in-laws along with other English men made up half of the group that decided to migrate to 16,400 square miles of unclaimed Texas land. The other half of the group consisted of Kentucky businessmen and Americans from Louisville, Kentucky.
Married colonist were eligible to receive 640 free acres of land, while single colonist were eligible to receive 320 acres. There was one stipulation in order to receive this land. The recipient must reside on the land for 3 years and cultivate at least 15 acres. The first settled areas west of the Trinity River were known by homesteads or surveys of the pioneers and Peters Colonists who settle or claimed land. In the Murphy & Bolanz Block Books of Dallas County 1880-1920, (Block Book 6, page 384) we discover that Sunset Hill originally resided within the E. C. Thomas Survey. E.C. Thomas had a smaller survey than his surrounding pioneers (320 acres), so I think it’s safe to assume that he was a single man when he arrived in Texas. Ellis Charles Thomas was the son of another Dallas County pioneer named John “Jackie” S. Thomas and his wife Hannah Andes. (John’s 640 acres was located near the present day Preston Road and Walnut Lane)
Ellis married Julia Ann Moon on 21 Aug 1845 in Fannin County, Texas. He later died of typhoid fever at Boggy Depot, Arkansas, during the Civil War. Ellis and Julia were listed in the 1860 Census and Julia in the 1870 Census with 7 children (Annie El born about 1847 ; John H. born about 1849 ; Charles W. born about 1851 ; Adelbert C. born about 1853 ; Martha J. born about 1855 ; Clotilda born about 1857 ; Jesse C. born about 1860 ; Mary P. born about 1862 and Ellis C. Jr born about 1864. All of his children were born in Dallas County, Texas)
I haven’t as of yet discovered whose hands the Ellis C. Thomas property fell into from 1865 to 1911.
On July 11, 1911, the Board of Directors of Southwestern Land & Loan Company authorized their Director Leslie Allison Stemmons to purchase the area then known as Sunset Hill in the amount of $30,000. The following day the addition was submitted for the record. In the very early part of 1911, the Russell Realty Company sold several tracts of the plotted area of Sunset Hill for approximately $650 to $750. On July 15, 1915, the Sunset Hill Addition was adopted by the city of Dallas. About 1917 Leslie A Stemmons took a more active role in the development of Sunset Hill Addition and purchased any remaining lots within the Sunset Hill Addition. The older homes in Sunset Hill were built from about 1911 with major constructing beginning in 1917 thru 1925. A very small section located in the Northwestern area of Sunset HIls Addition (Hampton Road, Hollywood Avenue, Waddle, and Tenant Street), remained unoccupied until the 30s with homes and businesses established in the 30s, 40s, and early 50s.
Ellis Charles Thomas
BIRTH 7 Oct 1822, Sevierville, Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
DEATH 12 Oct 1864 (aged 42), Arkansas, USA
PLOT Block 18 Lot 19
Passed in Boggy Depot, which at the time was in Arkansas before the formation of Oklahoma, near Atoka, of Typhoid fever, while serving in the Confederate Army.
He was originally laid to rest in a tiny cemetery near US75 & Royal Lane on the Thomas farm in Dallas. Development of the area prompted a relocation of the cemetery to the Durgin family plot at Greenwood in 1967.