Home on the Range

We’ve been camping at Loyd Park for more than five years, but we only started to get acquainted with it this weekend. A postponement from earlier in the summer forced us outside our comfort zone, so we found ourselves at the opposite end of the park for the first time. While we were out walking, we came upon the homestead of Marion Loyd (pictured here), a “significant landmark,” designated by a Texas Historical Marker.

Francis “Marion” Loyd was born in Decatur, Illinois, in 1835. That’s the same place where Jon spent his first two years of college, at Millikin University. When Marion Loyd was just a toddler and his brother James was an infant, their parents, John and Ann Loyd, left Illinois in a covered wagon train headed southwest, settling in Arkansas. John and Ann had seven more children there, but Ann died shortly after giving birth to her ninth child. As soon as the infant could travel, in 1856, John again joined a wagon train and moved his family southwest, settling on the south side of the Trinity River just a few miles west of Dallas. By 1859, Marion and James felt the area around Dallas was becoming too crowded for farming and ranching, so they purchased 78 acres of land in southeast Tarrant County. Much of it was without timber–a grassy, open range that was ideal for running cattle and horses. The brothers built a two-bedroom home, and eventually added a carriage house, a brick-lined cellar, a corral, and several barns. Although James would move his family back to Dallas, Marion remained at the homestead, dying there in 1927 at the age of 92.

Today, visitors to Loyd Park can stay in Marion Loyd’s refurbished homestead for around $200 per night. We were satisfied with looking at the homestead from the road and paying $20 per night to stay in Cloud 9, a short walk away.

We arrived on Friday evening with the nation’s attention fixed on President Trump’s condition after testing positive for COVID-19 and being flown by helicopter to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment. Our site, near the water’s edge, was ideal for enjoying mild breezes over the lake under tall trees.

On Saturday and Sunday, in addition to our regular routines, we spent some time cleaning Cloud 9’s exterior, replacing a leaky water inlet, watching boaters on the lake, and familiarizing ourselves with this side of Loyd Park. If it was good enough for Marion Loyd to build his home and spend his life there, it’s certainly good enough for us to return to for future camp-outs.