Updated: Feb 16, 2021
There weren't many Black Americans in Plano, but after the Civil War, many Black Americans came to Plano with their former masters. The most remembered pioneers were Berry Patterson, who lived with the Carpenter family in 1870. Three years later, John Mosley came with Captain Bush. Mr. Patterson married a daughter of John Mosley and had three daughters named Ada, Mattie, and Lydia. In 1908, Ada married Walter Barkley who became one of the most successful black farmers in Plano.
Since black men couldn't buy farmland in Plano, many of them farmed for white landowners on fractions. John McDonald and Bud Thornton were the others that succeeded with farming. Both of these men were able to put their children through college education and bought automobiles, but Mr. Barkley was the first Black American to buy an automobile and soon, later on, Mr. McDonald and Bud Thornton followed in buying an automobile. Since farming was such a successful job, many farmers were making above-average living.
Many blacks in Plano lived in an area called Kendrick's Alley, which was located between Avenue K and Avenue J on 16th Street and some lived in the southern part of Avenue I where whites once lived. Willie Moore was known to be the first black to buy a home while others bought homes they were renting. Farmers like Mr. Thornton and Mr. McDonald bought large vacant lots and some rent houses.
Some blacks in the community started businesses which carried them through the Depression. Will Jones had a moving and hauling business, John Wallace worked the charcoal-making business and also hauled for other people, and Lacy Drake operated a Silent Movie every Saturday night. Uncle Turley was Plano's only cobbler, he ran a small shop that was always busy and Calvin Pinkston prepared as a local veterinarian.
In 1880, a man named Thomas "Tom" Green moved to Plano. He had a café and out of all the café owners, Tom Green was the most successful. His wife Effie lived many years after his death as a proud and independent widow until she passed in a fire.
Henry Burks and his wife Nancy, also known as Uncle Henry and Aunt Nancy, operated a boarding house on the corner of what is now Avenue I and 13th Street. Although they operated the boarding house, Uncle Henry was a butcher at the slaughterhouse, and Aunt Nancy was also known for her soul food and many people ate Sunday dinner with her and on Saturday nights, she had fish fries.
In 1891, Ed Sanders came to Plano. He brought his family from Tennessee to Ladonia and then to Plano with his former master. His wife, Missouri Sanders, lived to be over one hundred years old. In 1899, their son Ernest started school at the local school that was held in the Shiloh Baptist Church. Grades 1 - 7 were taught with only fifteen students attending the school.
Plano, Texas The Early Years