Log Cabin Village, A Living History Museum in Fort Worth, TX
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THE TOMPKINS CABIN

Built: ca. 1853
Location: Northwest of Weatherford, Texas, Parker County
Residents: Isaac Anderson Family; John and Sarah H. Tompkins family
Builder: Unknown

Tompkins Cabin with children playing in pioneer costume

The Tompkins Cabin was originally located on land noted for its fertility in Parker County. The original structure, built in the early 1850s was a one-room log house with a loft. When the Tompkins arrived in Texas in 1857, they rented it from the Henderson family. One year later, after their first lucrative crop, the Tompkins were able to purchase the house and the farm. As the Tompkins family and their wealth grew, the Tompkins purchased additional acreage and expanded the original cabin. At one time, it consisted of two log pens with a central chimney. Over time, they converted the house into a considerable dwelling place, well known to travelers on the old Fort Worth-Fort Belknap Road.

   Tompkins Cabin and front porch   

The Tompkins Cabin displays how a typical one room log house would have been furnished to accommodate the needs of an entire family. It is not a crude, tempororary cabin, but a log house. At the shed outside the cabin, visitors may enjoy seeing how candles were made through the hand dipping method.

THE TOMPKINS FAMILY

John and Sarah Tompkins

John Baptist Tompkins was born in Virginia on October 31, 1820. His frontier experience came early in his youth when the family moved westward, via Kentucky and Illinois.On November 7, 1844, he married seventeen year-old Sarah Harbison (born January 21, 1827) of Iowa, and in the same year the entire Tompkins clan migrated to Missouri.

Five children were born to John and Sarah while they resided in Missouri:

 

Nancy Ann 1849-1859
Benjamin Jackson 1852-1929
John Harbison 1853-1913
Mary E. (Molly) 1855-1933
Sarah Josephine 1857-1883

 

Tompkins then sold the Missouri land and the family turned their wagons toward Texas, arriving in Parker County late in the year of 1857. Five other children were born to the prosperous family:

 

Angeline 1860-1902
Dora Isabel 1861-1936
George 1863-
Joseph James 1866-1925
Ida Dixie 1868-1883

 

A progressive farmer and stockman, Tompkins was ahead of his generation in seed experimentation and crop rotation. Wheat, oats and hay were his primary crops, and his orchard of apple, pear and plum trees was one of the finest in the area.

The Tompkins were also breeders of fine horses. Therefore, their farm was subject to Comanche raids, who were expert horsemen. Such raids in the 1860s and 1870s caused Tompkins to file Indian Depredation claims for $6,075 to cover the loss of stock, but it was almost twenty years later before the U.S. Court of Claims awarded him a little more than a third of that amount.

Sarah H. Tompkins died December 27, 1896, and John Baptist on March 7, 1899. The property then passed into the hands of their daughter, Dora Isabel Milam, who maintained it for a number of years. After her death, the property was acquired by Wyatt Hedrick who donated the original cabin to Log Cabin Village.