Images of America "Carrollton"
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New book features history of Carrollton in photographs
By Senitra Horbrook, Staff Writer

It took a lot of hard work, late nights and long weekends for Toyia Pointer to become a published author. Her first book, “Carrollton,” will hit bookstores Aug. 18. The book is filled with more than 200 vintage photographs and descriptions of Carrollton through the years.

“It’s a little weird,” Pointer said about how it feels to be a published author. “It’s really neat. I’m happy. Hopefully, people will learn a little more about Carrollton than they already knew.”

Pointer,33, curator of the A.W. Perry Homestead Museum, didn’t set out to write a book, but when Arcadia Publishing contacted Pointer to do a book for their Images of America series; she saw an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

“This publisher does books like this all over the country,” Pointer said. “It was a great opportunity to do this here in Carrollton. There are so many great photographs here.”

Photographs include early settlers of Carrollton, including the Myers, Nix, Witt and Lee families as well as the town square, schools, churches and the Trinity River. Pointer gathered the images from a variety of sources, including the museum archives, the city of Carrollton, Peters Colony Historical Society members, and local residents. She began with more than 300 photographs and had to make some tough decisions to narrow it down to just more than 200.

“I couldn’t cover every single major event, but I tried to make it representative,” Pointer said.

Pointer is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, with degrees in both art history and anthropology. Shortly after graduating from college, she got a job at the Carrollton Public Library, which helped pique her interest in Carrollton’s history. Pointer has been curator of the A.W. Perry Homestead Museum for eight years and has learned a lot about Carrollton’s history during that time. Working on the book gave her the chance to learn even more.

“It made things fit together more,” she said. “Here at the museum we concentrate on a more narrow time.”

One of the most interesting parts of the book for Pointer is the chapter on Josey Rancho. Chapter six focuses on this sprawling estate, which was purchased by oilman C.W. Josey and his wife in the 1930s. The Rancho Oil Estate eventually became 1,000 acres and was a popular spot for rodeo, recreation and elaborate parties.

“I didn’t know quite how much land they had and how big those rodeos were,” Pointer said.

Pointer said she hopes the book will inspire people to look more into their own family history as well as be a starting point for people who are interested in Carrollton’s history.

“I hope people will see it and come to the museum or start preserving their family photos,” she said.

“Carrollton” by Toyia Pointer is $19.99 and will be available at local retailers, online bookstores or through Arcadia Publishing at or 888-313-2665.

Pointer will be doing book signings at 1 p.m. Aug. 23 at Barnes & Noble, 5301 Beltline Rd. Suite 118, in Dallas; from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 30 at Barnes & Noble, 2201 Preston Rd. Suite E in Plano; and at 1 p.m. Sept. 6. at Barnes & Noble, 2325 Stemmons Fwy. in Lewisville.

CARROLLTON - Book offers glimpse into past - Photos dating back to 1800s featured in work by museum curator
Dallas Morning News, The (TX) - Sunday, September 7, 2008
Author: STEPHANIE SANDOVAL, Staff Writer

From its settlement in the 1840s to its progress toward becoming a DART rail hub - Carrollton's history is all pulled together in the pictures of a new book.

Toyia Pointer, curator of the city's A.W. Perry Homestead Museum, is author of Carrollton, the latest in the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing.

"I think they just started really concentrating on Texas and trying to do more of this type of series," Ms. Pointer said. "They were looking for authors and places with photograph collections. They contacted me, so it was just a great opportunity."

But although she gets the author credit, she said the book was really a community project, with descendants of some of the region's earliest settlers and other residents contributing their photographs and stories.

Ms. Pointer said the book would appeal not only to Carrollton residents but to people across the region. "It's going to give them a little peek about what it was like 100 years ago in North Texas," she said.

Previous books in the series focused on Plano, Midlothian, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and the Gainesville area.

Carrollton features pictures of some of the area's earliest settlers, including farmers A.W. and Sarah Perry, and Leticia Myers, wife of minister David Myers .

There's also a photo of Wade Hampton Witt, a mill owner who battled American Indians in Denton County and fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The 1800s were a turbulent time; a receipt shows David Harrison Nix paid $1.33 as a Frontier Protection Tax in 1870.

Other photographs show some of the area's earliest homes, downtown Carrollton in the old days and the rodeos at the old Josey Ranch, which drew cowboys from around the country and abroad.

There are also images of baptisms in the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, flooding in the early 1900s, and school classes, choir clubs, social events and baseball games over the years.

Books such as Carrollton are a valuable source of information about community roots, said Mark Odintz, managing editor of the Handbook of Texas, a product of the Texas State Historical Association.

"They seem to be a wonderful source for preserving local history," he said. "If done well, they're kind of rich in local detail."

And the time for a Carrollton book was ripe. Next year, the A.W. Perry Homestead will turn 100 and the city is expected to be featured in an exhibition at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture. The display in downtown Dallas will be part of a series on each community in Dallas County.

Ms. Pointer has asked Carrollton's Historical Preservation Advisory Committee to be on the lookout for more artifacts and historical photos for that exhibit.

The display and the book project are extensions of Ms. Pointer's passion. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she has degrees in art history and anthropology and a certificate in museum collection management from George Washington University.

"The different people who contributed to the book - talking to them, getting to know them, learning a little bit about their history, their family history I didn't know, and having them contribute their families' photographs and their histories - that was one of my favorite parts of writing the book," she said.

Did you know?

From Carrollton, by Toyia Pointer:

-Many of Carrollton's earliest settlers came from Carrollton, Ill.

-Most began arriving in 1841 to receive grants of 640 acres per family.

-The area was originally called Peters Colony because the land grants came through the Peters Colony Company. The company contracted with the Republic of Texas to settle an area that stretched north to the Red River.

-Carrollton's first hotel, the Worth, was at Denton Drive and Oak Street. It later became a private residence, then was moved in 1972 to the Dallas Heritage Village and restored.

-The Sandy Lake Amusement Park site, at Interstate 35E and Sandy Lake Road, was once Heads Park, where black residents picnicked and danced during segregation. Walter Heads, an early black settler, owned more than 200 acres in all.

-Flooding in 1908 disrupted railroad service and halted mail delivery for a week. Water was 2 to 3 feet deep in downtown businesses.


Carrollton is available at local bookstores or for $19.99 from Arcadia Publishing (, 888-313-2665).



  • As of November 2008, it is also Available at the Carrollton Public Library and the Plaza Theater in Downtown Carrollton


Author Biography:
Author Toyia Pointer has served as curator of the historic A. W. Perry Homestead Museum. She gathered the images for this book from many sources, including the archives of the A. W. Perry Homestead Museum, the City of Carrollton, Peters Colony Historical Society members, and other private collections

Carrollton-Farmers Branch TXGenWeb
Supported by Edward Lynn Williams
© Copyright January, 2012