Most Texas historians agree that the city of Dallas was named by founder John Neely Bryan for George Mifflin Dallas, who served as vice president under James Polk. However, they also agree that there is no way to know for certain if this is true, as Bryan left few personal writings following his death in 1877 in the Texas State Lunatic Asylum.
According to the city of Dallas website, Bryan, an attorney, land speculator and farmer, told an early pioneer that he named the town for his "friend Dallas." The pioneer said he believed this friend to be Vice President George Mifflin Dallas. Other possible namesakes for the town include Commodore Alexander James Dallas, brother to George Mifflin Dallas and a naval commander stationed in the Gulf of Mexico, Walter R. Dallas or brother James L. Dallas, whose family owned land near Bryan's, and Joseph Dallas, who lived near Bryan's childhood home in Arkansas.
The Corsicana Daily Sun reports that there is no evidence that Bryan ever met George Mifflin Dallas. There is, however, evidence that Bryan referred to the city as "Dallas" at least two years prior to George Mifflin Dallas being elected to the position of vice president.