In 2017, the Graybeal family moved into the historic Smith home in McKinney, Texas. Dr. Gary Graybeal took steps to preserve and protect the magnificent old trees on his property. Research on the trees revealed a connection to E.W. Kirkpatrick and the rich history of Texas.
In 1870, Pioneer Texas Horticulturalist Elbert W. Kirkpatrick (1844-1924) began growing, experimenting with, and improving trees and plants of all kinds. In 1887, E. W. moved to McKinney and in 1898, he and fellow nurseryman C.C. Mayhew co-founded the Texas Nursery Company in Sherman, Texas. Their business venture became one of the largest production nurseries in Texas. Kirkpatrick’s research, work, and efforts to share information led to his recognition as one of the fathers of Texas horticulture.
As the story of the Smith-Graybeal trees came to light, the Kirkpatrick legacy was discovered, and the Kirkpatrick Historic Tree Program was launched. Through this program, other homeowners who suspect their trees may be connected with Kirkpatrick may submit them to TXHTC for potential historic designation. For more information, contact email@example.com