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      The History of Denton, TX and the Price Family Legacy

Many African Americans in Texas remained in slavery until after the Civil War ended. While in many states slaves were convinced to run away, this did not occur in Texas. On June 19, 1865, authorities announced slavery had been officially abolished. The celebration of this historic day in Texas is called Juneteenth.

Ten years later in 1875, twenty-seven families of sons and daughters of freed slaves moved from Dallas and settled in what is currently called Denton. They called the area “Freedman Town”, which is 2 1/2 miles from the Courthouse close to what is currently the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center.  These newly freed slaves purchased land in Freedman Town and started raising families. As the population grew, the next generation began to spread northward, eventually forming Quakertown, an all black neighborhood named for the Pennsylvania Quakers abolitionists that helped their parents a generation before.  Two of the early churches in the area were Mt. Pilgrim CME and St. James AME.

By the early 1900s, Quakertown extended from the recently established College of Industrial Arts (CIA), known today as Texas Woman's University, south to McKinney Street and from Bell Avenue to Oakland Avenue in the center of Denton. The neighborhood was a thriving community of black families, business, churches, and a school.

By 1913, Quakertown would boast more than 60 families. The community was self-sufficient with its own doctor, grocery store, and social clubs including the Masons and The Odd Fellows. Though the school burned down under mysterious circumstances in 1913, by 1915 it had been rebuilt and was once again attracting black students. The community supported two churches; St. Emmanuel Missionary Baptist church and St. James African Methodist church. Businesses in the neighborhood included a drug store, a boarding house, and several retail stores. These qualities, along with city services that came with being in such close proximity to the town’s center, would make the community attractive to other black families in the surrounding areas.

Mama Pearl and Frank Price were a part of that early renaissance in the Denton area.
 



Betty Clark shares history regarding Pearl and Frank Price.
The late Frank Price (on left in vest) and his brother.
The late Frank Price (on left in vest) and his brother.


The Price Family Legacy

The late Frank Price was born March 7, 1881 in Denton County, Texas to the parents of the late Bob Price of Georgia and Eliza Miller of Texas (according to his death certificate). He was the eldest of nine children born to the couple. His siblings were: Greta Price, Emma Price, Addie Price, Tuck Price, General Price, Willie Price, Camie Price, and Madeline Price. Although most of the census and other historical records list his race as Negro, there are some census reports that also list him as Mulatto.
The late Mama Pearl Foster Price
The late Mama Pearl Foster Price

The late "Mama Pearl" Foster was born in Texas on August 1, 1887 to the parents of the late P.M. and Virgina Foster of Texas. Mama Pearl's mother died at an early age. Mama Pearl and her sister, Lenny, were then raised by their aunt, Kitty Clark. Mama Pearl was said to have a sweet and gentle spirit. As an adult, she enjoyed cooking and primarily made a pot of beans for her husband's dinner most nights. She also dipped snuff and would sit on her back porch talking with family as the children played.

Marriage license of Frank and Pearl Price (July 31, 1904)
Marriage license of Frank and Pearl Price (July 31, 1904)
Frank Price and Pearl Foster were united in marriage on July 31, 1904 in Bolivar, Texas in Denton County. That union produced 10 children: Gracie Lou (1907), Bessie Orene (1910), Alvin Walker (A.W. - 1913), Mary Catherine (1914), Elmer Don (1916), Frankie Lee (1918), L.E. (1920), Clarence (1922), Willie Leo (1924), and Gladine (1929). They were a proud couple and worked together to make a home for themselves and their family. Frank worked as a laborer/farm operator and Pearl worked as a laundress. The family was built on a strong foundation of love, faith, and family and was members of Mt. Pilgrim CME church.
The 1918 Army registration card for Frank Price
The 1918 Army registration card for Frank Price


According to U.S. WWI draft records, Frank enlisted into the Army on Sept. 12, 1918. His missions and duty stations have not been obtained.
 
On March 23, 1936, Frank was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in Denton, Texas.  Mama Pearl was preceded in death by five of her 10 children: A.W. on July 3, 1936; Mary Katherine on February 8, 1953; Willie Leo on August 3, 1963; Gracie Lou on March 23, 1967, and Bessie Orene on January 13, 1972.
Mama Pearl
Mama Pearl

Mama Pearl was a strong and spiritual woman who remained the rock of the family and kept them together despite challenges. On June 20, 1974, she died and was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in Denton, Texas.