Old Settlers Association of Williamson County

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Old Settlers Association of Williamson County

The Old Settlers Association of Williamson County is a group that celebrates the lives and sacrifices of our area's pioneer families. It grew out of annual meetings of Civil War Veterans, as former Confederate and Union soldiers and their families would camp out for several days in the summer, enjoying the camaraderie, food, and speeches. These gatherings along the San Gabriel River were so successful it was decided to organize a countywide reunion for the older families of Williamson County. The Old Settlers Association was chartered in 1904, open to people whose families had arrived in the county prior to 1871. The first "Annual Re-Union of the Old Settlers Association" was held in Georgetown in September 1904, with Colonel W.K. Makemson elected the first president. Colonel Makemson was a strong advocate of historic preservation, and one of the major draws of the early reunions was the display of artifacts and documents relating to early area history.

The OSA continued to meet every August and the San Gabriel in Georgetown until 1921 when a major flood washed away the meeting grounds.

After one year in Liberty Hill, the OSA made its way to Round Rock, at Nelson Park (along the east side of Georgetown Avenue north of Main Street). The OSA decided to make Round Rock its permanent headquarters in 1931 when Dr. and Mrs. T.M. Harrell of Corpus Christi (and part of an old Round Rock family) donated the land that is now the southwest corner of IH-35 and FM 620. Harrell Park contained a large tabernacle for meetings, and some 1850s log cabins, examples of early area architecture. That same year, the OSA inherited Round Rock's original downtown gazebo and moved it to the park. Harrell Park served the OSA for more than 50 years when the group sought a bigger space with room to grow. The Old Settlers Park at Palm Valley now hosts the summer reunions, plus many other events throughout the year. In 1991 the Historic Preservation Commission named the Old Settlers Association one of Round Rock's Local Legends.