Towns & Small Communities
of Burnet County



BERTRAM.

Bertram is at the junction of Farm roads 243 and 1174 and State Highway 29, ten miles west of Burnet in eastern Burnet County. The town was established in 1882, when the community of San Gabriel in Williamson County was moved two miles northwest to the newly constructed Austin and Northwestern Railroad.

The new community was named for Austin merchant Rudolph Bertram, the largest stockholder in the Austin and Northwestern. A post office opened in 1882, and by 1891 the town had an estimated population of 150, a cotton gin-gristmill, three general stores, a grocer, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, and two wagonmakers. After 1900 Bertram was a shipping point for cotton, cattle, and wool.

In 1928 a record 11,624 bales of cotton were ginned in the town. In the early 1930s plummeting cotton prices and the Great Depression caused the town's population to decline from a high of 1,000 in 1929 to 550 by 1931. It was 600 in 1949 and by 1966 stood at 1,205. In 1989 the town had a population of 1,002 and nineteen businesses. At that time Bertram's principal industries included the manufacture of ceramic floor tiles, paving tiles, marble fixtures, and vacuum-formed and molded plastic products. In 1990 the population was 849.

From The Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas:Eakin, 1979).

Tommye Dorbandt Potts

BETHEL

Bethel is on Farm Road 963 eight miles northeast of Burnet in north central Burnet County. A school was established there in 1869. The settlement was closely linked with nearby Sage, which had a post office and a store but used the Bethel school. The school had one teacher and twenty-five students in the mid-1890s; it closed in 1941, when the area was consolidated with the Burnet Independent School District. Several houses and a cemetery marked the community on county highway maps in the late 1940s. Bethel had a community center and a few scattered houses in 1990.

From the Texas Handbook Online

Bibliography: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl  

BRIGGS.

Briggs is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and Farm Road 2657 in northeastern Burnet County. The site is part of the Aaron F. Boyce survey patented to Boyce's heirs on September 30, 1850. The Boyce land is on the headwaters of Berry Creek, where a number of permanent springs provided constant water. Settlers first called the area Springs, then Gum Springs. The land on which Briggs stands was purchased by Stephen Taylor from W. T. (Bill) Gann, who came to Texas from Missouri in 1855. Taylor arrived from Tennessee around 1880. Between 1870 and 1890 many new settlers arrived from Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Alabama, and other states to establish homes and farms in this blackland section of Burnet County. Taylor built a cotton gin and sold it in 1882; he then erected the first general store in the area that became known as Taylors Gin.

In 1888 a petition was circulated among the citizens and sent to Washington, D.C., requesting a post office for Taylor's Gin; the request was granted on March 27, 1888. William Hazelwood, a physician who set up practice in the community, passed a petition to get the name changed to Briggs, in honor of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Henry D. Briggs. The community was renamed onJune 21, 1898. By 1900 a site had been platted into lots and blocks, land had been donated for a new school, and the population had reached 100. Businesses thrived, cotton was king, and two gins operated in Briggs; the town had doctors, a drugstore, and two general stores. Telephones and electricity came in the early 1900s. A bank was chartered in 1909. From 1906 to 1928 business prospered. On April 12, 1906, a tornado demolished the school. A new building was built, and in 1915 a high school was organized. The population reached about 300 in the 1920s.

In 1928 devastating fires took their toll of homes and businesses, most of which were never rebuilt. The Great Depression brought on a farming decline; the remaining gin and businesses closed. With the arrival of U.S. Highway 183 many citizens began commuting to shop and to work in nearby communities, including Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Camp Hood (now Fort Hood). Briggs's population reached its height of 520, served by twenty business, in 1936. The population subsequently fluctuated between 250 and 300 until the late 1960s, when it declined to ninety-six. In 1969 the Briggs school was consolidated with the Burnet district. In the late 1980s Briggs had two churches, a post office, two service stations, and scattered residences. The population was ninety-two in 1990.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas:Eakin, 1979). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Estelle Bryson



BURNET

Burnet, the county seat of Burnet County, is one mile west of the divide between the Brazos and Colorado river watersheds near the center of the county, forty-eight miles northwest of Austin. In 1849 people on the frontier sought protection from the Indians at nearby Fort Croghan. The area was commonly called Hamilton or Hamilton Valley for John Hamilton, who had a league and labor of land there. A creek flowing through the league was also named for him. The town was founded as Hamilton in 1852, when Burnet County was established. In August of that year a post office in Hamilton was named Burnet Courthouse. In 1857 thirty-five residents of the town petitioned the state legislature to change the name of the town to Burnet since there was another town in Texas named Hamilton. The name was changed in 1858.

A major spurt in growth occurred with the arrival of the Austin and Northwestern Railroad in April 1882. Burnet then became the railhead for the area to the west, including the Llano, Mason, and San Saba vicinities. On June 3, 1885, Southern Produce Company shipped 157,000 pounds of wool from Burnet, reportedly the third largest wool shipment made up to that time in Texas. In 1885 Gustav Wilke, subcontractor building the Capitol in Austin, constructed a narrow-gauge railroad from Granite Mountain, fourteen miles south of Burnet, to Burnet. At a point just south of the town and within its city limits, Wilke constructed a yard to shape, finish, and fit the granite for placement in the Capitol building. Here some 1,802 railroad carloads, 31,000 tons, of granite were finished and shipped by the Austin and Northwestern to Austin. After the railroad was extended to Llano in 1892, Burnet declined as a supply point and became a farming and livestock center.

In April 1931 the contract was let for the construction of what was then named Hamilton Dam on the Colorado River ten miles west of Burnet. While this construction was under way as many as 800 men were employed, and Burnet was home for many of them and supply base for nearly all of them. Due to the Great Depression the Insull-owned corporations, including the one owning Hamilton Dam, failed financially, and work ceased. In 1934 the state legislature established the Lower Colorado River Authority, which, financed by the federal Public Works Administration, acquired and completed the dam and changed the name to Buchanan Dam. Other dams along the Colorado River soon followed, and Burnet was on a sound economic path from that time forward.

In 1989 the town had a population of 3,794 and in 1990, 3,423. The community was incorporated in 1933 and in 1990 had a city manager form of government. Burnet produces stone and various milled products from stone; mining, milling, shipping of graphite, agribusiness, hunting leases, tourism, and recreation contribute to the economy. Many retirees live in Burnet.

From: "BURNET, TX." The Handbook of Texas Online. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). Robert C. Cotner, The Texas State Capitol (Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979). W. P. Fry, Council Creek Calling (Burnet County Heritage), comp. Juanita Fry Ragsdale (San Antonio: Naylor, 1976). Joseph Carroll McConnell, West Texas Frontier (Vol. 1, Jacksboro, Texas, 1933; Vol. 2, Palo Pinto, Texas, 1939).

Thomas C. Ferguson

CEDAR MILL.

Cedar Mill was on the old road from Austin to Hamilton Valley (now Burnet) near the intersection of Farm Road 243 and Ranch Road 1174 in Burnet County. The first settler came in 1854. Alexander Barton, a miller, ran a sawmill, gristmill, and flour mill on the south fork of Oatmeal Creek. There were also merchants and a saddletree maker. The early settlers came from South Carolina, Missouri, and Illinois. During the 1860s an Austin-Burnet road was charted on more favorable terrain. This caused the citizens of Cedar Mill to move in the 1870s to a site north of the South San Gabriel River, where they called their new settlement South Gabriel.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Maxine B. Glimp

COUNCIL CREEK.

Council Creek was an early settlement on Council Creek and what is now Farm Road 2341, ten miles northwest of Burnet in western Burnet County. Local tradition has it that the creek and the community were named for a meeting of local residents trying to settle a difficulty. The meeting was called a "council of war," but the dispute was settled peacefully. The Council Creek area was settled about 1856 by several families from Illinois.

By the early 1860s the community had a grist and saw mill, a turning lathe, and a leather shop; cedar shingles, hardwood lumber, and furniture were among the earliest commodities produced by area residents. The first schoolhouse in the vicinity, often referred to as Cedar College for the material from which it was made, also doubled as a church building. In 1896 the Council Creek school had one teacher and forty students. The school burned before 1912, and a new building had to be built. After being moved to several different locations, the school was finally consolidated with the Burnet Independent School District in 1951.

The school and a few houses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1940s, but by the 1980s the only evidence of the old settlement was Fry Cemetery. A subdivision called Council Creek Village was established to the west of the old Council Creek community site in the early 1960s. Most residents of Council Creek Village were newcomers to the area, attracted by the resort facilities offered by Lake Buchanan.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

DOBYVILLE.

Dobyville was near U.S. Highway 281 twelve miles north of Burnet in northern Burnet County. Jacob and Adaline Wolf and Silas and Rebecca Shelburn were among the first settlers in the 1850s, soon after Burnet County was established. Mail was delivered to the community as early as 1858 through a post office called O'Hair's Hill; when that office was discontinued, the mail was routed through Naruna or Lampasas.

The Dobyville post office was established in 1874 with Thomas S. Wolf as postmaster. It closed in 1884 but reopened under the name Pomona in 1889 and operated until 1900. Afterward, mail for the community was again sent to Naruna.

Lone Star School at Dobyville was established in 1878. By the mid-1880s the community had steam grist and syrup mills, a cotton gin, and thirty residents; cotton, livestock, and grain were the principal products shipped by area farmers. In the mid-1890s the school at Dobyville had one teacher and fifty-six students. The school building also served as a community center until 1911, when the structure burned. Lone Star School was consolidated with Lake Victor School in 1921.

Dobyville's big annual entertainment was the spring rabbit drive, which took place on a Saturday in late March or early April; families would gather for a day of hunting and picnicking. A few scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1940s; only a cemetery remained by the 1980s.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

DOUBLE HORN.

Double Horn was at the headspring of Double Horn Creek, south of the Colorado River in Burnet County and fifty to sixty miles northwest of Austin. The town was formed in 1855 by Jesse Burnam (or Burnham), Levi Fowler, and others. The creek and town were reportedly named after an incident in which a pioneer found the remains of two bucks with interlocked antlers.

The Francis Chapel or Frog Pond school, with William H. Holland as its first teacher, was located on the Colorado River; in 1855 among its students were the children of Noah Smithwick. The school, later known as the Double Horn School, was moved near Grid Iron Creek and then to Double Horn Creek. A post office was established for the community in October 1857, with Holland as the first postmaster.

In 1884 Double Horn had a population of fifty along with the school, a cotton gin, and two churches. By 1896 its population had dropped to twenty-five, and a physician named Yett practiced there. The Double Horn post office was discontinued in 1911. The cotton gin and gristmill on Grid Iron Creek was later moved to the junction of Grid Iron and Double Horn creeks. A blacksmith shop and store were also nearby. The Double Horn school was still shown on the 1936 county highway map, but all traces of the community and school were gone by the second half of the twentieth century.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).

Madolyn Frasier and Cyrus Tilloson



FAIRLAND.

Fairland is on Farm Road 1855 six miles north of Marble Falls in Burnet County. In the early 1850s a group of families from the eastern states settled on a strip of level land between Backbone Ridge and the Slaughter range, which they called "fair land." Early settlers were the R. S. Cates family in 1852 and the Lewis Thomas family. Others included John Harvey, a surveyor, Jefferson Barton, and the Atwoods, Grahams, Slaughters, Joys, Reeds, Alexanders, B. E. Fergusons, and Chessers.

In 1859 Mrs. Senia Barton Harvey deeded land for a Methodist church and a school. The settlers soon began work on a stone building but were stopped by the Civil War, when many of the men left to fight. The building was not completed until 1870. Rev. Arter Crownover, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, held the first service, and a school was begun. On July 13, 1872, the third quarterly Methodist conference for Lampasas, Bear Creek Circuit, named the house and lot Crownover Chapel. When the church was finished, the community had a picnic. An extra wooden room was subsequently added to the rock building and used for the school for many years.

In 1875 a Christian Church was built in Fairland. In 1887 a Church of Christ was built. The congregation eventually ceased to meet and in 1937 began to meet in homes. Eventually the members joined with a group in Marble Falls.

The first local post office was opened in 1874 and called Backbone Valley. The post office named Fairland opened in 1890 and was discontinued in 1951, when a Marble Falls rural route served the community. In 1925 Fairland had an estimated population of 200. By 1939 the number of residents had dropped to fifty. The population was consistently estimated at fifty through the mid-1960s. The Fairland and Tobey schools were consolidated in 1937, and they joined the Marble Falls schools after 1943. The old rock church building was still maintained by the Fairland community and interested friends and used for community purposes in the late 1980s. The Fairland Cemetery located on the seven-acre plot with the building was also still in use. The earliest grave is dated 1857. Fairland was still listed as a community in 1990, but without population statistics.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Estelle Bryson

GRANITE SHOALS.

Granite Shoals is on Lake Lyndon B. Johnson seven miles west of Marble Falls in southwestern Burnet County. It takes its name from the granite shoals that were evident on the Colorado River before the construction of Wirtz Dam and Lake Granite Shoals (later Lake Lyndon B. Johnson). Granite Shoals was developed as a lake resort but became an incorporated community in the 1960s. Its population doubled from 300 in the late 1960s to 634 in the early 1980s and again by 1990 to 1,378.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

HOOVER'S VALLEY.

Hoover's Valley was a mile east of the Colorado River and ten miles southwest of Burnet in western Burnet County. Settlement of the area began in the early 1850s. The community was named for the Hoover family, who bought a 640-acre homestead there in 1854. Isaac Hoover, a Methodist minister, held services in an oak grove near the local cemetery; when the meetinghouse was completed it doubled as a school building until land for a new school was donated in 1872. A post office was established at Hoover's Valley in 1879 with John J. Mabry as postmaster, but it was discontinued in 1881. The Hoover's Valley common school district had fifty-eight students in 1896 and fifty-six in 1904. It was consolidated with the Burnet Independent School District in the 1940s. The Buckner Baptist Children's Home began operating a ranch in the valley in the late 1940s. A school, a few scattered houses, and a cemetery marked the community on the county highway map in 1948, but by 1989 these were no longer shown at the site.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas:Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

JOPPA.

Joppa, on Farm Road 210 and the North Fork of the San Gabriel River, seven miles northeast of Bertram in Burnet County, was first called Pool Branch, after a nearby pool formed by a waterfall. At that pool in the 1880s were a cotton gin and a mill; just southeast of the gin were a store and a blacksmith shop.

On August 31, 1881, J. S. and Jane Danford of Delaware County, Iowa, gave two acres of land on the north bank of the North Gabriel to be held in trust for a school and a church. The school building was constructed at once and used for classes and church services. Worship was held in the schoolhouse until 1913, when a church building was erected. The local school, the church, and the locality were called Pool Branch until 1891, when the community secured a post office, and the people agreed on the Biblical name Joppa. On May 19, 1904, a telephone line was installed in Joppa. An iron bridge was built across the San Gabriel River in 1907 and was still in use in 1989. The area received electricity in 1939 from the Pedernales Electric Cooperative. The school was consolidated with the Bertram district in 1942. Friday and Saturday night socials and Sunday night singings culminated in an annual picnic as late as the 1930s. The church and school buildings were still used in the 1980s for church and community activities.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Estelle Bryson

LAKE VICTOR.

Lake Victor is on Farm Road 2340 ten miles north of Burnet in north central Burnet County. It began as a railroad camp in 1901 or 1902, when the tracks for the Burnet-Lampasas section of the Houston and Texas Central Railway were laid. The community was named for a nearby intermittent artificial lake that was formed by the removal of dirt for the railroad; the lake was named for Victor Kellogg, who served as foreman of the railroad crew. In 1903 the townsite was surveyed, lots were offered for sale, a school was established, and a post office was opened with Frank A. Ramsey as postmaster. For the next twenty-five years or so Lake Victor was a prosperous community and shipping point for area farmers and ranchers. It had three churches, several businesses, and a population reported at 200 in 1914. The population was 250 in 1925. Growth did not resume after the Great Depression and World War II. Although the number of residents remained stable through the mid-1960s, several key elements of the community's economic and social focus disappeared. The school at Lake Victor was consolidated with the Burnet Independent School District in 1947. The Texas and New Orleans Railroad abandoned the section of track between Burnet and Lampasas in 1951, thereby depriving Lake Victor of rail service. The Lake Victor post office was discontinued in 1957, and mail for the community was sent to Lampasas. The population was reported at 350 in 1966, but estimates fell to 300 in 1968 and to 200 in 1972. Lake Victor reported a population of 215 in the 1980s and 1990.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Malvin George Bowden, History of Burnet County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Maurice C. Shelby, The Lake Victor Story (1971).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

MAHOMET.

The name Mahomet has been associated with two sites in eastern Burnet County. The first was two miles northeast of the site of Bertram, near the source of Bear Creek. George Ater, who settled in the area in 1853, named the site for Mahomet, Illinois. A stage route from Austin to Lampasas was established in 1855 and passed near Ater's home. Ater's post office application was granted in 1857, and the office was located in his home for twenty-five years. In 1882 the Austin and Northwestern Railroad bypassed Mahomet, and Bertram was established on the railroad two miles southeast. The Mahomet post office was then moved to the home of Alex M. Ramsey in the Sycamore Springs community, ten miles northeast of Bertram on Farm Road 243 near the Williamson county line; Sycamore Springs became known as Mahomet. In 1884 Mahomet had a steam cotton gin and corn mill, a school, a church, and fifty residents. Cotton and wool were the principal shipments made by area farmers.

Population estimates for the community rose to sixty by 1890, but fell to ten by 1896. The post office was discontinued in 1916, and mail for the community was sent to Bertram. Forty residents and two businesses were reported at Mahomet in the late 1930s. Its population rose to seventy-five in the 1960s but fell to forty-seven by 1974. A church, a community center, and a cemetery marked the community on county highway maps in the late 1980s, and the population estimate remained unchanged at forty-seven in 1990.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

MORMON MILL COLONY.

The abandoned site of Mormon Mill is on Mormon Mills Road five miles north of Marble Falls and ten miles south of Burnet in south central Burnet County. A group of twenty Mormon families led by Lyman Wight founded the colony in 1851. Wight's band broke away from the rest of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in protest against Brigham Young's leadership after founder Joseph Smith died. Wight, who had been a prominent leader in the church, took his followers to Texas in search of a new Zion. The Mormons established a colony they called Zodiac near Fredericksburg on the Pedernales River, but after a flood and heavy debts drove them out, Wight led the group to a picturesque site on Hamilton Creek, where they established Mormon Mill Colony.

Many of the Mormons were highly skilled artisans; they built a wooden dam and a three-story mill building with a twenty-six-foot waterwheel, using materials from the surrounding countryside. Hamilton Creek flowed year-round, providing power for the grain and sawmills, which served the Burnet, Marble Falls, and Austin areas. The colonists farmed and hunted, made willow baskets, spun and wove cloth, and raised gourds for storage of lard and dried fruit. Mormon Mill, with its population of about 250, also supported several blacksmiths and skilled furniture craftsmen.

The colony remained apart from the civic affairs of the county; Wight and a board of elders were the sole governing body. Despite the Mormons' industry and ingenuity, the colony once again incurred heavy debts. Plagued by financial problems, mounting resentment of their unconventional theology by local citizens, and frequent Indian raids, the Mormons decided to move on. In December 1853 Wight led most of the group to Bandera County. They sold the Mormon Mill property to Noah Smithwick.

Smithwick quickly opened a store and built a school for the remaining Mormons who worked at the mill. He also modified the mill so that only breadstuffs could be processed, thus prompting local farmers to raise more wheat. A post office opened in 1856; Smithwick's partner and nephew, John R. Hubbard, was postmaster.

Smithwick eventually sold out to Hubbard; thereafter, the mill passed through several other owners, including Samuel E. Holland, Joshua T. Moore, and Price Kinser. The mill continued operation, but as new mills opened in the area business gradually declined. The population dwindled until the post office closed in 1875.

In 1901 the mill closed down, and one year later the flume and several surrounding buildings burned. Local farmers tore down the remaining mill buildings and used some of the materials for construction of a nearby barn. Finally in 1915 the remaining abandoned residences burned. In 1936 the state erected a historical marker at the mill site. The only traces of Mormon Mill left in the 1980s were a few building foundations and the Mormon cemetery.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ida Babcock-Hall, "Memories of Mormon Mill," Frontier Times, July 1941. T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986). J. Marvin Hunter, ed., The Lyman Wight Colony in Texas (Bandera, Texas: Frontier Times Museum, 1952). Heman H. Smith, The Lyman Wight Colony in Texas (MS, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983). Levi Lamoni Wight, Reminiscences (MS, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin).

Lea Anne Morrell

NARUNA.

Naruna is on Farm Road 1478 eighteen miles northwest of Burnet and three miles south of the Lampasas county line in northwestern Burnet County. A post office was established there in 1878 with William M. Spitler as postmaster. The name Naruna was suggested by Spitler in honor of the ship that had brought him to Texas. In 1884 Naruna had three churches, a school, and 150 residents; cotton and livestock were the principal products shipped by area farmers.

The initial growth of the community was stunted in the later 1880s, however; population estimates fell to twenty-five by 1890. It is possible that the completion in 1885 of the Lampasas-Brownwood section of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, which bypassed Naruna to the north, prompted residents to move to towns on the railroad. The population in Naruna rose to seventy-five by 1892, but the community did not recover its earlier prosperity. The post office was discontinued in 1906, and mail for Naruna was sent to Lampasas. The population was ten in 1933, forty-five in the mid-1940s, and seventy-five in the mid-1960s; it was reported at forty-five from the 1970s to 1990. The Naruna school was consolidated with the Lampasas schools in 1944.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

OAKALLA.

Oakalla is at the confluence of Rocky Creek and the Lampasas River, off U.S. Highway 183 in far northeastern Burnet County. The first settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s. Oakalla officially came into being on May 19, 1879, when its post office was opened. By 1881 the community had a cotton gin, a drugstore, a blacksmith shop, a general store, and a doctor; by 1890 it included Baptist and Methodist congregations, a cotton gin, a gristmill, eight other businesses, and a population of 100.

The settlement supported fourteen businesses by 1896, and its population had risen to 175. Schools in the area were private until a cooperative was built with classrooms on the second floor. The two-acre school site was deeded in 1890. The school also functioned as a place of worship until 1908, when the Oakalla Baptist Church erected a meetinghouse. Methodists met in the schoolhouse until March 1923, when C. W. Tedder and his mother, Mary, deeded land for a Methodist church; it was constructed in 1925. Both churches were still active in 1990. 

In 1920 the wooden school building was torn down, and a two-room structure was built of stones from the old Rock School on Gregory Branch. In 1929 two more rooms were added. The Oakalla post office was discontinued sometime after 1930. In 1946 Oakalla high school students were transferred to Briggs, and in 1956 the elementary students followed. The local district was consolidated with that of Lampasas in 1958. 

Oakalla's population was estimated at 180 in 1925 and at 250 in 1931, when ten local businesses were in operation. From 1940 to 1970 the population level hovered around 100, then decreased to forty-five by the late 1980s. In 1990 Oakalla had a general store and a population of forty-five, and the 1920 school building was in use as a community center and county library branch.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Juanita Parsons

OATMEAL.

Oatmeal, Burnet County's second-oldest town, is on Farm Road 243 eight miles southeast of Burnet in southeast Burnet County. A German family reportedly named Habermill came into the area in 1849 and spent a season or two in the vicinity of the headspring of the stream now known as Oatmeal Creek. The town name is either an alteration of the name of a Mr. Othneil, who owned the first gristmill in the area, or a supposed translation of the name Habermill (Haber is a German dialect word for Hafer, "oats").

An Oatmeal post office was established in 1853, and the first schoolhouse was built in 1858. A second school, marked by a state historical marker and still used as a church in 1990, was erected in 1869. The first orchard in the county was located in the community, and the first and only cheese press in the county operated there. A gin built by George Naguler in the 1870s served as a local landmark until 1907, and the community at one time had a general store. A cemetery plot was deeded in 1871, though burials had occurred there as early as 1854.

After the Civil War a colony of former slaves settled in the eastern part of Oatmeal. They built homes along a straight lane, constructed a building for use as a church and school, and established the only all-black cemetery in the county. The settlement, known as Stringtown (among other names), ceased to exist by the 1920s.

In 1936 state highway maps showed a school, two churches, and scattered dwellings at the townsite. In 1990 Oatmeal had ten farming and ranching families, a church, a community center, and a cemetery and celebrated an annual Oatmeal Festival with neighboring Bertram. The population was recorded as twenty.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Burnet County Historical Commission and Burnet County Heritage Society, Burnet County Cemetery Records, 1852-1982 (Austin: Eakin Press, 1988). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Maxine B. Glimp

PLEASANT VALLEY.

Pleasant Valley was a small rural community located in southern Burnet County three miles east of Marble Falls on Farm Road 1431. It was settled after the Civil War. Andrew Jackson Kinser operated a gin at Pleasant Valley, but the local school was the focal point of the community. The Pleasant Valley school district was consolidated with the Marble Falls Independent School District in 1948. The school and several scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps in the late 1940s, but a cemetery was all that remained by the late 1970s.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

PRAIRIE POINT.

Prairie Point was four miles east of Bertram in eastern Burnet County, near the Williamson county line. A school, established in 1882, and a Baptist church, organized the following year,shared a building at Prairie Point and served as the primary focus of the community. The school closed in 1921, and area children began attending school in Bertram; the church continued in operation until 1957, at which time the building was sold. The church and a few scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1940s, but by the 1980s nothing remained.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

PROVIDENCE.

Providence was a small rural community located in central Burnet County between Burnet and Bertram. According to local sources, Providence was named for a community in Alabama, which had been named for Providence, Rhode Island.

The focus of the community was a one-room schoolhouse which was built in the mid-1870s on the south bank of the Russell Fork of the San Gabriel River. In the 1890s the school had one teacher and forty-five students. A new school was built in 1923, and a room was added in 1929. The school was consolidated with the Bertram Independent School District in 1939.

County highway maps showed a few scattered houses in the area in the 1940s, but the community was not labeled, and no population estimates were available. No evidence of the community appeared on county highway maps in the 1980s.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SAGE.

Sage was on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River at the intersection of the old Burnet-Lampasas road and the old Austin-San Saba road, eight miles northeast of Burnet in north central Burnet County. It may have taken its name from the sage grass in the area. Families from South Carolina, Mississippi, and Kentucky settled there before 1860.

A Sage post office was established in 1874 with Jesse G. W. Howard as postmaster. Sage had no school of its own, but it was close enough to Pleasant Hill and Bethel that children from Sage could attend school in one of those communities. In 1884 Sage had three churches, a general store, a steam corn mill and cotton gin, and seventy-five residents; cotton, pecans, wool, and hides were the principal shipments made by area farmers. The post office was discontinued from 1884 to 1898, during which time mail for the community was sent to Sunny Lane. By 1900 Sage had 242 residents. Shortly thereafter, however, the community began to decline, possibly because the Houston and Texas Central Railway bypassed Sage in 1903.

The store remained open until about 1918, and the gin operated until 1929; only a few scattered houses marked the community's location on county highway maps by the 1940s, and no evidence of Sage appeared on maps in the 1980s.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SHADY GROVE.

Shady Grove is a rural community on Farm Road 1174 nine miles northeast of Burnet in east central Burnet County. The site, where the old Austin-Lampasas and Burnet-Belton roads crossed the Middle San Gabriel River, was settled first in the 1850s and 1860s. The settlement was known as Russell Gabriel in the 1850s, then Middle Fork of the Gabriel, and finally Shady Grove, for the grove of live oak trees where the school and cemetery were located.

During the 1870s the community had a store and a blacksmith shop. At an early date a cotton gin and corn mill were established on the creek in Alex Barton's pasture. In 1896 the J. H. Kleen family moved from Williamson County and built a gin near the crossroads. Kleen also helped build the two church buildings in the community. Robert E. Lee Masonic Lodge was chartered in 1875 and met upstairs in the Norton Moses home until 1878, when it was moved into the floor above the school. The lodge continued until 1920.

Early-day settlers were William Wilkinson (1852), Alexander Russell (1860), Norton Moses, Robert Lastley, Orange P. Prentess, Taylor Stanley, and A. C. Null (1860s). The post office for Shady Grove was called Tamega. In 1877 A. M. Barton deeded to the Russell Gabriel community land for a school, church, and cemetery.

The Strickling Baptist Church became the Shady Grove Baptist Church in 1907 and met until 1958. The Cumberlain Presbyterian Church was organized in 1878 and continued active until 1966, when the membership transferred to the Bertram Presbyterian Church. Strickling School opened in 1869 two miles north on the North San Gabriel; it changed its name to Shady Grove School in 1877 and operated until it was consolidated with the Bertram school in 1942.

In 1958 a homecoming was planned, and a cemetery association was formed. In 1968 the association secured title to the land and buildings at the community center, which is used for group meetings as well as a homecoming each year.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Estelle Bryson

SHOVEL MOUNTAIN.

Shovel Mountain is six miles south of Marble Falls and three miles west of U.S. Highway 281 in southern Burnet County. The site was settled in the mid-1850s and supposedly received its name shortly after the Civil War when an early settler found a shovel at the summit of a nearby hill.

A post office was established at Shovel Mountain in 1869 with Mrs. Ottilie Giesecke as postmistress. The population was estimated at forty in 1884, at sixty in 1890, and at seventy-five in 1892; sheep ranching was the primary occupation of area residents, and wool and cotton were the principal shipments. Around 1900 the community began to decline. The post office was discontinued in 1905, and mail for area residents was sent to Marble Falls.

When the school was consolidated with the Marble Falls Independent School District in 1949, the Shovel Mountain community lost its primary focus. The school and a few scattered houses marked the location on county highway maps in the 1940s, but by the 1980s these no longer appeared.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas:Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SMITHWICK.

Smithwick is on Farm Road 1431 eight miles east of Marble Falls in southeastern Burnet County. It was formed by the merging of three smaller communities-Hickory Creek, Elm Grove, and Smithwick Mills. The Hickory Creek community, which had a church and a school, was established in the early 1850s. Elm Grove was a school community near Post Oak Creek, just west of Hickory Creek. Smithwick Mills, so named for the mill built by Noah Smithwick in the 1850s, was two miles west of Hickory Creek.

A post office was established at Smithwick Mills in 1871 with Thomas A. Stinnett as postmaster.

The name was changed to Smithwick in 1882, although the school district was known as Hickory Creek until at least the mid-1920s. Smithwick reached its peak in the mid-1880s, when it had a water-powered gristmill, a church, a school, and 150 residents; cotton was the principal shipment made by area farmers.

The number of residents declined rapidly after the completion in 1889 of the Marble Falls extension of the Austin and Northwestern Railroad a few miles to the west. The population fell to fifty by 1890 and to twenty-five by 1892. The post office was discontinued in 1926, and mail for the community was sent to Marble Falls. The number of residents remained at thirty through the 1930s and 1940s. A school, a church, and several scattered houses marked the community's location on county highway maps. The Smithwick school was consolidated with the Marble Falls Independent School District in 1951. In the 1980s Smithwick had a church, a community center, and a cemetery.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Malvin George Bowden, History of Burnet County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SOUTH GABRIEL.

South Gabriel, two miles southeast of Bertram in eastern Burnet County, was first called Lewiston, for Thomas Lewiston, local store owner and later postmaster. When the post office was granted in 1871, however, the name South Gabriel was chosen because of the community's location on the South Fork of the San Gabriel River. In 1880 South Gabriel had thirty-nine residents, served by a church and a school as well as two stores, a hotel, a saloon, a cotton gin, and several other businesses. When the Austin and Northwestern Railroad Company was planning its Austin-to-Burnet route, residents of South Gabriel offered a $3,000 incentive to build through their town; the company declined the offer, however, and bypassed South Gabriel by about two miles. Many residents moved their homes and businesses to the new town of Bertram on the railroad, and in 1882 the South Gabriel post office was moved to Bertram. The South Gabriel School was maintained for several years, but most local children began attending classes in Bertram; enrollment at the South Gabriel School fell from sixty in 1896 to thirteen in 1904. In 1907 the school was moved farther south and its name was changed to Midway School. A few houses were shown on 1940s county highway maps of the area, but in the 1980s only a cemetery marked the townsite.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mary Starr Barkley, A History of Central Texas (Austin: Austin Printing, 1970). Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SPICEWOOD.

Spicewood is a mile north of State Highway 71 and nine miles southeast of Marble Falls in southeastern Burnet County. It was probably named for the spicewood timber on nearby Little Cypress Creek. A post office opened at Spicewood in 1899 with James B. Pangle as postmaster.

Nearby communities, such as Corwin, Clover, and Rockvale in southern Burnet County and Haynie Flat in western Travis County, began using the Spicewood post office; as these small communities declined in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many of their residents turned to Spicewood as the focus of community life.

In 1919 Spicewood replaced Rockvale as the official name of the local school district. By the mid-1920s the community had about 100 residents; that number had risen to 125 by 1933. Spicewood businesses prospered when Farm Road 93 (later State Highway 71) was built through the area in the 1940s; several businesses and scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps at that time. In 1949 the school at Haynie Flat was consolidated with the Spicewood district; Spicewood in turn was consolidated with the Marble Falls Independent School District in 1952. The population of Spicewood fell to 100 by 1970. It was reported as 110 from 1974 to 1990.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

SPRING CREEK.

Spring Creek was five miles west of Burnet in western Burnet County. A few settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s, but the threat of Indian raids delayed community development until the late 1860s; once the Indians were driven farther west, settlement proceeded more rapidly. A school was established in the 1870s; by the mid-1890s the Spring Creek district had fifty-two students and one teacher. Church services were held in the school building, and summertime camp meetings took place in brush arbors.

The school burned in 1919 and again in 1924; the district was consolidated with the Burnet Independent School District in 1941. Without the school to serve as a community focus, the population gradually dispersed, and the land was given over to ranching. The Spring Creek community was not marked on county highway maps in the 1980s.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

STRICKLING.

Strickling was on the North Fork of the San Gabriel River on Farm Road 1174 eight miles northwest of Bertram in northeast central Burnet County. John Webster received a land grant on the Charles Cavenah survey, but when his party arrived in the area in 1839, they were attacked by Comanches. The men in Webster's group were killed, and his wife and two children were captured and held for several months. 

In 1852, Webster's daughter Martha claimed his land as his sole heir, and the next year she married Marmaduke Strickling (sometimes spelled Strickland or Stricklinge). The developing settlement took that name. The community became a regular stage stop on the Austin to Lampasas route, and a post office was established in 1857. A school, a church, and several businesses prospered during the years that the town was on a major transportation route, but in the 1880s a decline began. 

The Austin and Northwestern Railroad bypassed Strickling in 1882, and when the stage line was discontinued later that decade, the town lost much of its vitality. Its population was reported as sixty in 1884 and in 1890, but by the mid-1890s its post office had been discontinued, and most of its residents had moved away. By 1900 the last store had closed. A cemetery was all that marked the site on county highway maps in the 1980s.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas:Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

TOBEY.

Tobey was off Farm Road 1431 near the Southern Pacific line and six miles from Marble Falls in southwestern Burnet County. It began in the early 1870s and was named for two brothers, Samuel J. and Avery Tobey. On March 26, 1875, the Tobeys and James Boyles deeded land to John M. Wood, John Climer, and N. J. Smith, trustees for the Christian Church, to build a church and school. On October 8, 1887, the Tobeys deeded the land to trustees of the Tobey schoolhouse, with the stipulation that it be used by the Church of Christ for religious services and for education.

By 1937 the Tobey congregation had stopped meeting, though possibly some of its members had changed their place of worship to nearby Fairland. That congregation by 1944 had moved to Marble Falls; eventually the Tobey building was torn down and moved there. The Tobey school was in Burnet County school district no. 17; its building was near the Tobey Cemetery. The school district was consolidated with neighboring Fairland district #18 in 1937, and in 1944 with Marble Falls. All that remains of the old Tobey community is the cemetery, which bears a Texas Historical Commission marker. The cemetery was begun in March 1872, when N. W. Tobey, son of Samuel J. and Martha E. Tobey, was buried there. In the 1980s it was still in use. A cemetery association was established in 1964 for its preservation.

from the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979). Darrell Debo

WATSON

Watson, sometimes called Watson's Store, is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 183 and Farm Road 963 eighteen miles northeast of Burnet in northeastern Burnet County. It was named for Ed Watson, a local storeowner. A school was established near Watson in 1879; the Pleasant Hill, or Red Bud School, was built in the area in 1908. It was consolidated with the Briggs district in the 1930s. A church, a cemetery, and a few scattered houses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1940s and the 1980s.

From the Texas Handbook Online

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Darrell Debo, Burnet County History (2 vols., Burnet, Texas: Eakin, 1979).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl




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