Florence Ranch Homestead
This Texas historic landmark was first built in part by the Florence family, in 1871. The house was then expanded in the 1890s, at a time when the Florence family owned as much as 730 acres. Now, the area is known as Meadow View Farm. The second generations of Florences were very active in the community, with the son Emet becoming known as a leading breeder of both Percheron horses and Hampshire sheep. His wife, Perle, was the very first woman to have a spot on the Mesquite Parks Board, and she also organized a library in town and was very active in not only the community of Mesquite, but also of Dallas. It would be their child and grandchild who would donate the homestead to the City of Mesquite in the late 80s. Now, the home is a great example of rural Texan architecture in the 1800s. It partially acts as an educational museum.
David W. (1848-1932) and Julia Savannah (Beaty) Florence (1850-1914) built the first portion of this ranch house in 1871-72 after moving here from Van Zandt County. Elaborate wood trim decorates the gallery of the simple frame structure. The house was enlarged by the 1890’s, when the Florence Homestead covered 730 acres. after Florence retired in 1908, his son Emet (1885-1963) and Emet’s wife Perle (Curtis) (1889-1976) continued to run the ranch, known as Meadow View Farm. David Walker Florence built the Florence Ranch home in 1871 for his young family at the age of 23. He would stay to farm the rich blackland prairie about 37 years before retiring with his wife Julia (called Julie) in 1908.
The Florence Ranch was established two years before the township of Mesquite and originally comprised 207.5 acres. By 1892, the ranch had grown to 750 acres, with 300 cultivated and the rest fenced. In 1894 Florence bought 1,000 acres near Cedar Hill and dedicated it for a school. It is still known as Florence Hill. He also owned a 1360-acre ranch in Taylor County. David and Julie Florence had three children – Dr. John Hicks Florence, born in 1868 before the family moved to Mesquite; a daughter Martha, who passed away in 1873 from “summer complaint;” and Emet David Florence, who was born in 1885 in the south room of the Homestead.
Emet married Perle Curtis on December 23, 1906, and the couple spent their wedding night on the second floor of the Florence house. Emet took the farming duties over from his father, and raised horses, mules, short-horn cattle, sheep and feed crops. The ranch was then known as Meadow View Farm and the terrapin cattle brand, seen on the museum docents’ aprons, was used for the first time.
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