Archive for February, 2011

Travis County History Day 2010

The third annual Travis County History Day was held on October 15, 2010, on the topic of Mexican land grants and the settlement of Travis County. The event featured a special presentation by Dr. Frank de la Teja, Professor and Chairman of the Department of History at Texas State University and former Texas State Historian.

A variety of historical documents and archival records were placed on display, including early maps of Travis County, Mexican land grants and related materials from the Texas General Land Office, early Travis County deed and survey records, and biographies of notable settlers in the Travis County area.

Many thanks to those who helped make the event a great success: Dr. de la Teja for his excellent presentation; Commissioner Margaret Gómez, who served as the Master of Ceremonies; Galen Greaser and the Texas General Land Office Archives for their assistance with exhibits; and the Austin Bar Association and Travis County Historical Commission for their sponsorship of the event.

Below are a few videos from the event.

Commissioner Gómez’s welcome and introduction

Part 1 of Dr. de la Teja’s talk

Part 2 of Dr. de la Teja’s talk

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Origins of Travis County Community, Landmark and Road Names

Have you ever wondered where the community, landmark, and road names you see around Travis County come from?  Many are named after early settlers and individuals who were significant in the history and development of Travis County and of Texas.  Here are just a few:
Anderson Mill Road – Named after a mill and its owner, Thomas Anderson, who lived in the vicinity in the 1850s.
Barton Springs – Named for William Barton, early settler who lived on land near the springs around 1837.
Burleson Road – Named for early area settler Gen. Edward Burleson, a statesman, surveyor, and soldier in the Texas Revolution army.
Burnet Road – Likely named for David G. Burnet, interim President of the Republic of Texas in 1836 and 1841.
Decker Lane – Named for Isaac Decker, early colonist and shoe cobbler who in 1835 was granted one league of land located in what is now south central Travis County.
Del Valle – Named for Santiago Del Valle, a politician who received ten leagues of land south of the Colorado River from the Mexican government in 1832.
Enfield – Named by Elisha M. Pease, Governor of Texas, after the town in Connecticut where he was born.
Garfield – Probably named for President James A. Garfield, who was in office when the community’s post office was established in 1881.
Hamilton Pool – Named for Morgan C. Hamilton, who owned the property in the 1860s.  His brother, Andrew J. Hamilton, was the 10th governor of Texas.
Hornsby Bend – Named for Reuben Hornsby, soldier, surveyor, and one of Stephen F. Austin’s earliest colonists.  Hornsby was granted one labor of land from the Mexican government in 1832.
Hudson Bend – Named for Wiley Hudson, an emigrant from Arkansas who secured a land grant in 1854 near a bend of the Colorado River.
Jollyville Road – Named after John Grey Jolly, a Civil War veteran who farmed, ran a store, and raised a family in the area in the latter part of the 19th century.

Lamar Boulevard – Named for Mirabeau B. Lamar, president of the Republic of Texas from 1838-1841 and key founder of Austin.

Manor – Named after Tennessee native James Manor, who followed Sam Houston to Austin and settled in the region east of Austin.
McKinney Falls State Park – Named for Thomas F. McKinney, trader and stock raiser who purchased part of the Del Valle tract in 1839.  The ruins of McKinney’s homestead are preserved in the park.
Moore’s Crossing – Named for Col. Moore and his family, early area settlers who opened a store there in the late 1800s.  Although its location has been moved slightly, the store is still in existence and in operation today.
Pease Park – Named for Elisha M. Pease, Governor of Texas from 1853-1857 and 1867-1869.
Pflugerville – Named for Henry Pfluger, who brought his family to the area from Germany in 1849.
Slaughter Lane – Named for Stephen F. Slaughter, an early settler from Kentucky who received a land grant for one league of land on Onion Creek in 1835.
Waller Creek – Named for Edwin Waller, surveyor of the city of Austin and its first mayor.
Webberville – Named for John F. Webber, retired physician and one of the earliest settlers in the Travis County area; he was granted land by the Mexican government in 1832.
Wells Branch – Named for Martin Wells, an early settler in Stephen F. Austin’s Little Colony who lived near Webber’s Prairie.
William Cannon Drive – Named for William Cannon, an early colonist from Ireland who was granted one league of land west of the Colorado River from the Mexican government in 1835.
Zilker Park – Named for political figure and philanthropist Andrew Zilker, who came to Austin in 1876.  He was the last private owner of Barton Springs.