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Life In the Late 1800s

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

Social life was known to be simple in 1898. People frequently attended church with friends and family and men would go to gambling shacks, but even though life seemed so simple, it still had its ways of turning complicated.

In 1898, a small group of whites came together with the purpose to run the blacks out of Plano. This group was called the "White Caps". A black man named Jake Seaman was sought for beating his wife and was told that the constable wouldn't be after him. Instead, the White Caps planned and had an initial intention to make a public example of Jake Seaman by dragging him through the streets. When the White Caps showed up at Jake's home in full force in an attempt to carry out their threats, they were also armed with guns and rifles. When they called for Jake to come out, Jake fired his gun which led to several members of White Caps being wounded and Jake's wife being killed. Although Jake was wounded, he died later due to complications.

Later in 1898, blacks began leaving their farms and moving into the city to work in the many industries and the job opportunities were great. There were four cotton gins, an oil mill, a flour mill, an ice plant, a corn sheller, and a slaughterhouse in Plano. The butchers in the slaughterhouse were all black. During this time, racial prejudice in the community was not very common and the two races worked very well together. Even some men in the industries became supervisors and foremen. Black Americans had very little difficulty in finding jobs and in the early 1900s, more blacks came into Plano. These men were more serious in looking for a better life.

Andrew Davis was known to be a very successful businessman. He was first a farmer and later opened the Bar-B-Que diner and became famous for his food. Since he was so successful in his business, he was also known to be the first black to own a farm, but later on, he sold his farm. Andrew Davis saw the need for housing for blacks, so he opened the Davis addition in the south of town. Pete Davis was a prominent figure in the black community of Plano where he was a Deacon in the Shiloh Baptist Church.


Plano, Texas: The Early Years

Haggard Library

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