Brandon's Notepad

March 8, 2016

Where is Muriel, Texas?


Or perhaps the better question is, “Where was Muriel, Texas?”

The Back Story

I was looking at some old maps of the DFW Metroplex and was curious about what the landscape looked like before the behemoth DFW International Airport had been constructed. I was particularly interested in finding out how the roads used to connect from one side to the other, as there are now a very limited number of ways to cut through. And that’s when I saw Muriel, just a little circle bisecting an unnamed road in the middle of airport property. But where, exactly? And was anything left of it? I had to find out.

Map Analysis

To solve this mystery, I decided to employ one of my favorite map analysis techniques, the use of overlays. Basically, this means lining up the features on two different maps of an area for the purpose of comparison. When this is done using maps of different eras, it’s a form of map regression. This can be done in an analog fashion using tracing paper, transparencies, or even by simply laying one map on top of the other on a light box. The biggest problem is that the maps have to be exactly the same scale. Computers make everything easier, of course, and it’s very simple to import scans into layers using an art program and change the opacity (transparency) of one of the layers so that the other can be seen through it. For this analysis, I chose the undated “Dallas County and Tarrant County” made by the Ashburn Map company (c. early 1950s as best as I can tell) and a screen shot of Google Maps using satellite view. Here is the result:


It took a little trial-and-error, but I was able to match up enough roads to feel comfortable with the results. I focused on the neighborhood bordered by Hughes Road to the north, Watauga-Smithfield (now Glade) Road to the south, Euless-Grapvine Road to the east, and F.M. 157 (upon which S.H. 121 is built) to the west. Things don’t line up well as you move out from this location, but Fuller-Wiser Road (The ‘T’ intersection just below the word ‘SMITHFIELD’) is still in the right position, and Minter’s Chapel Road (most of which is now Airfield Drive) isn’t too far off. If the Ashburn map is accurate, this puts Muriel in the vicinity of the south end of runway 31L. Unfortunately, this leaves little chance that anything remains of this town or community in the way of buildings, though perhaps some other archaeological finds may eventually be unearthed.

Digging Deeper

Not that it would help establish the location, per se, but I did want to find some evidence that a place called Muriel did indeed exist in Tarrant County. I was able to find a couple of death certificates from 1904-1905 using that list Muriel as the place of death. It would appear that the folks at RoadsideThoughts found similar documentation.

There is hope, however, because guess what else in in the immediate area? Minter’s Chapel Cemetery! The Minter’s Chapel Methodist church was established in the 1850s, and remained in the same location (though rebuilt at least once) until the property was taken over by the new airport a little over a century later. At the time I wrote this, I have an outstanding request with the office of the descendant church for any information they may be able to share about Muriel.

UPDATE! Someone from the church responded to my phone call and in comparing notes, we discovered the following. First, she directed me to the article for Muriel in the Handbook of Texas. It confirms that Muriel and Minter’s Church (in all other cases referred to as Minter’s Chapel) are indeed one and the same. It was established in 1890 and there was a post office there from 1899 to 1905. She did mention that the 1890 census records no longer exist, so the only census that might contain information on Muriel’s residents would be the 1900 census. Second, she confirmed that the two people whose death certificates I found are indeed buried in the cemetery! James William Vine died on April 3, 1905, though his grave bears the middle name Washington, and Lula Florence Woodall (named Woodale on, probably due to a transcription error), whose maiden name was Page, died November 2, 1904.

November 23, 2014

My Texas Map Collection

Filed under: Maps,Texas — Brandon @ 2:06 am
Tags: ,


My collection of Texas maps began as a stack of street maps that I bought over the years just to get around. Eventually, I started comparing maps from different years to see how things had changed (map regression) and felt compelled to acquire even older maps to see the lay of the land before my time. Antique stores, used book shops, and garage/estate sales are great places to find old maps, but I never have had an inventory of my collection handy to prevent the purchase of duplicates…until now.

Just a few notes about the list below. The maps are grouped by region/city and ordered by year. The titles given are what appear on the ‘cover page’ of the map and not the title or legend block on the face of the map. Some maps bear no year of publication and are therefore listed according to an estimated year followed by a question mark or a string of four question marks if the year cannot be reasonably deduced. I may add the ISBN numbers and other identifying marks in the future.

Texas State Maps

1992 AAA Texas
1992? MAPSCO Texas Road Map
1995 Gousha Texas Roadmap
2000 TxDOT Official Travel Map

Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex

Regional Maps
???? Ashburn’s Dallas County and Tarrant County
???? Ashburn’s Dallas Fort Worth Streetmap
1966 Dallas Fort Worth Turnpike Metrpolitan Area Map
1994 Rand McNally Dallas, Ft. Worth & Vicinity

???? Rand McNally Dallas Street Map
1986 Travel Graphics Int’l Dallas Metropolitan Area Illustrated Pocket Map
1994 Rand McNally Dallas Metro City Map
2001 Rand McNally Dallas City Map

Fort Worth
???? Southwest Map “Rattikin Title Company” MAp of Metropolitan Fort Worth
???? Ashburn’s “Rattikin Title Company” MAp of Metropolitan Fort Worth
1969 Gousha “Phillips 66” Fort Worth Street Map
1971 Ashburn’s “Shannon’s Funeral Chapels” This is Fort Worth
1973 Rand McNally “Texaco” Fort Worth Street Map
1975 Ashburn Map of Greater Fort Worth, Texas
1978 American Map Distributors Street Map of Fort Worth and vicinity
1979? Rand McNally Fort Worth
1984 MAPSCO Map of South Fort Worth
1992 MAPSCO Fort Worth, Texas City Map
1999 Rand McNally Fort Worth Street Map
2000 MAPSCO Fort Worth Street Map

1972 Ashburn “Arlington Bank & Trust” Map of Arlington Texas
2001 Rand McNally Arlington/Grand Prairie, Texas City Map
2001 Arlington Street Map & Visitor Guide

Other Cities
???? Map of De Soto Texas (local advertising map)
???? ADMAR Inc. Welcome to Duncanville Texas (local advertising map)
1976 A.I.D. Assoc. Inc. Cedar Hill Texas (local advertising map)
1979 Southwest Map Map of Duncanville Texas Street Map and Community Guide
1998 Mapsco Collin/Denton County Map
2 maps to record…

San Antonio

1972 Bookmap Corp. Brochuremap San Antonio Texas
3 maps to record…

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