Rock House Histroical Marker Rock House , Texas - est. 1878

Historical Marker

Rock House School, the 1910s – 1920s. The school was one of the larger rural schools in the county in the early twentieth century. The Rock House community was also known as “Draco,” the name for the village that occupied the site before Anglo settlement (also known as Hunt Crossing).

Courtesy of Ralph D. Love

Rock House Community - Historical Marker Text

A pioneer agricultural community of Williamson County, this site was first settled in the late 1840s by Uriah H. Anderson, a native of Tennessee who received a land grant here from the state of Texas. By 1875 a rural school was in operation and classes were held in the Bethel Church sanctuary. The settlement was named for the stone structure, which was known as the Rock House. Another church, Macedonia, which later became a Missionary Baptist congregation, was organized in 1873. Early services and camp meetings were conducted in a tabernacle. The settlement also included a general store started about 1885 by T. C. Sowell, The village was later the site of a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, an active farmers' union, and a string band. A post office was opened in 1890 under the name of Draco, an Indian word for the area meaning "favorite place." It closed two years later. The school continued until the 1940s when it was consolidated with Liberty Hill (5 mi. SW). The general store, later owned by other residents of the area, was in operation until 1960. All that remains of the original townsite is the Rock House Cemetery and the evidence of early buildings.

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GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 30.704826 - Longitude: -97.872042
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds --30°42'17.4"N 97°52'19.4"W

Address:  7081-7199 FM 3405 - (0.8 mi. on 3405 just off 183)

Rock House Community

Historical Narrative by Clara Stearns Scarbrough

Known by the name Rock House at least since the 1870s, this rural settlement and village were located on the north bank of the North San Gabriel River, about 1 mile northeast of present State Highway 183, on County Road 257, Williamson County. In 1980, the remaining visible landmarks for the early village are the old frame general store which faces east on County Road 257, and the Rock House Cemetery, approximately 1 mile east of the store, and 1 mile south of the county road. [1]

The village site was an Indian settlement of the Tawakoni/ Tuacano tribe, who called the place Draco, meaning "favorite place" or "preferred camp." This semi-agricultural, hunting tribe generally is associated with the Brazos River area, but a group of the tribe must have had somewhat permanent headquarters at Draco, on the spring-fed San Gabriel River. Texas Rangers encouraged them to leave in about 1836 by providing the Tonkawas with guns and ammunition, who was to drive the Tawakoni out. The tribe moved on to the Llano area, then known as Baby Head. [2]

Rock House developed on the Greenup Christian survey.

Uriah H. Anderson was granted 320 acres from the State of Texas out of this tract on April 21, 1846, for which the Williamson County deed record is dated May 7, 1852. [3] Anderson and his family moved from Bastrop to his property on the North Gabriel (he had also purchased adjoining land from the Bartholemew Manlove and Winslow Turner surveys about the same time) either late in 1847 or early 1848. [4] According to the 1850 census, the Andersons had $1,500 worth of taxable property, two children, and he was listed as a farmer, age 38, born in Tennessee. His wife, Elizabeth E., was born in Alabama and was 26 in 1850. [5]

The Andersons stopped en route to their new property when a "blue norther" hit as they were crossing the dividing ridge north of Brushy Creek Valley. Anderson was walking beside the ox-drawn wagon in the roaring wind. When they reached the crest of the ridge, he spotted smoke coming from a chimney and remarked, "Wife, that looks like friendly smoke." They found this to be the home of the Greenleaf Fisk family, who hospitably offered to keep the small children while the Andersons built their house. Fisk was the first County Judge of Williamson County, elected in 1848 when the county was formed. the home was probably built south of the North San Gabriel, as an "old residence" is mentioned in 1880 deeds designating the homestead of U. H. Anderson. By 1880, his home was north of the river, and a short distance to the east of the sites of the store, school, and tabernacle. [7]

The name Rock House has not been found in the 1850s and 1860s, and sketchy records of that period seem to indicate that it was still simply a rural settlement.

There was apparently some casual school­ing offered for a handful of children at least by 1857. The Bethel Church, mentioned in 1870 records, had apparently been there for at least a few years. The earliest proof of a school came in January 1858 when U. H. Anderson served on the Grand Jury, at which time he asked to be reimbursed by the Commissioners Court for 756 school days taught (number of pupils times each attended = "school days") at 5 cents a day for each pupil. [8]

The name Rock House was suggested by a stone building in the village, which is first referred to in an available document on March 18, 1870, also the time when a church was first mentioned in known records. This was a deed executed by U. H. Anderson on that date, selling to E. T. Cashen, president; T. H. Anderson, secretary: John H. Williams, treasurer; and T. L. Dycus, Wood and J. W. Mitchell, trustees of the school, "the stone school hours known as the Bethel church house, and two acres of land on which it stands" for $300. [9] The stone church was to be used as the community school, or, in the parlance of that time, the "schoolhouse." The phrase "rock schoolhouse" followed rather naturally, and by 1875, official records use that name, capitalized: John Williams was the presiding officer at Rock School House elections Jan. 27, 1875. From then on, frequent references are made to Rock School House and/or Rock House. [11]

No records (except in the deed just mentioned) of the Bethel church have been found, but tradition has it that this early church was Baptist.

On May 24, 1873, the Macedonia (Baptist) Church was organized and a book of records from that date through Dec. 14, 1884, is extant. The church existed long after 1884, becoming in time the Missionary Baptist Church which met before the turn of the century in a tabernacle, partially open at the sides for ventilation in the hot summer; or they met in the schoolhouse during inclement weather. By the 1890s, at least, both these buildings were frame. The rock house, for which the community was named, had disappeared and old-timers knew it only by tradition. In 1880, the Missionary Baptist Church listed about 194 members, indicating a relatively dense population for the rural settlement. [11]

No gin was ever built at Rock House proper, but in the 1870s or 1880s, two were built nearby. S. P. Stubblefield and R. A. Renick of Liberty Hill bought a tract of land just west of Rock House where Stubblefield built a home and also a gin. U. H. Anderson sold this property to the two men on Feb. 27, 1877. The home, gin, and a good river crossing were about a mile upriver from Rock House. [12] The other gin was put up by Hayden Hunt about 2i miles to the east of Rock House in another community settled in the early 1850s by the Hunt family. [13]

T. C. Sowell bought 12 acres of land east of the Stubblefield-Renick tract and just west of the lots for the school and church from U. H. Anderson on Sept. 5, 1885, for $150. He probably built a small store there, for in three years, June 25, 1888, he sold the same track back to Anderson for $1200. Anderson then sold the plot, now des­cribed as about 10 acres, to J. W. Perry, on Feb. 18, 1890. on Feb. 6, that same year, a request went to the Postal Department in Washington, D. C., for a post office at Rock House, located "between Austin and Marble Falls." The place was listed as 8 miles from Gabriel Mills, 10 miles from Georgetown, 10 miles from Florence, and 5 miles from Liberty Hill. The name Rock House was not acceptable to the Postal officials.

The name Draco was then submitted and was approved, the office to open April 11, 1890, with Olio O. Perry, post­master. The Indian name had not disappeared from the memory of people in the community Dore than 50 years after the Indians had lived there. The post office was closed on August 15, 1892, by postal authorities, and mail was then delivered to Rock House out of Liberty Hill. [14]

The general store continued to operate, however, in the building which was probably built by T. C. Sowell and was surely used as the Post office-store by the Perry family. On Dec. 6, 1897, J. W. Perry sold the tract and improvements to W. L. Booth, who operated the store.

On Nov. 20, 1914, he bought the 251/2 acre tract, which encompassed the old Anderson homestead and the cemetery.

From Anderson heirs. Booth, generally called Charlie Booth, had come to Rock House from Connecticut, married Sephronie Williams and by her had a daughter Margie. The mother died and in 1904 he married Mollie Forbes, a widow who ran a millinery shop in the back of the store. [15]

Charlie Cole, the blacksmith at Rock House, married Margie Booth in 1915. In 1926 and 1927, they purchased the store and 10 acres, plus 251/2 acres to the east from heirs to the Booth estate. They had run the store upon their parents' retirement, Charlie Cole moving his blacksmith shop beside the store. In 1927, Cole added a garage and grist mill to the village business section. The couple's son and daughter, Johnny Cole of Georgetown and Mrs. T. R. Stiles of Florence, and other heirs now own the property where Rock House stood--in the Greenup Christian survey: the store, the sites of the community schools, churches and tabernacle, and the acreage nearby. [16]

Besides school, church, and business activity at Rock House, the community had an active Farmers Union which met at the "Rock Schoolhouse" at least by 1878, which, urged in public print that other rural places like Circleville, Brushy, and Post Oak Island get out and vote. "If we live we will be at the polls," a spokesman from Rock House said. The group continued to be active well into the present century. Around 1900, Rock House residents formed a string band with Jim Seward, fiddler, Booten Joseph, an organist, and one or two other musicians, who played frequently at school functions and on other programs at Rock House and in other nearby communities. [17]

The population remained stable for several decades after 1900.

Rock House voting box listed 77 poll taxes paid in 1904. In 1922, a new two-classroom and storage room Rock House School was built. Seventy-four students were enrolled that fall. It remained a rural school, however, and by the 1940s, all rural schools in the county were phased out. Rock House consolidated with Liberty Hill on July 26, 1947. Charlie Cuie continued to operate his store and garage until early in the 1960s when his ill health caused his retirement. The store closed for good. [18]

When U. H. Anderson sold the land to the school board in March 1870, he also set aside in that deed "the graveyard on the lower end of the valley" near the river bank for a public "burying ground." It is called Rock House or Anderson Cemetery. When the burials were re­corded in 1969, 18 were listed, the earliest in 1871. There are likely others whose graves are unmarked or lost. Family names found in the cemetery are Anderson, Bond, Canady, Cannady, Carter, Dycus, Scott, Tumlinson, Williams, Williamson, and Wood. All are associated with the early community, for in more recent years, the Liberty Hill Cemetery, about six miles away, is now used. [19]

A tiny family plot near the Anderson homestead contained three known burials--U. H. Anderson (1810-1893), Mrs. T. L. (Kiddie) Dycus (n. d.), and Gus Dycus (n. D.). The body of Anderson has been moved to Liberty Hill Cemetery by grandsons because of flooding in the family plot by a small creek nearby. [20]

Pioneer settlers came to this area because of the good water and wood available.

Locations such as that of Rock House were espec­ially popular because of the North San Gabriel and its good springs.

Uriah H. Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth E. Anderson, were the first known settlers. In addition to his occupation as a farmer, he raised some cattle, for a cattle brand is listed in county records. He and his wife had 7 children mentioned in records: George W., Thomas Hardy, Giles Green, Bessie, Rufie, Maggie, and James. In March 1871, Elizabeth E. Anderson was granted a divorce, and she and the three younger children, Rufie, Maggie, and James, moved to Tehuanna in Limestone County. Uriah's second wife was Elizabeth "Bettie" M. Renick, who died in 1918, and is believed to be buried at Hopewell near the Renick plot. U. H. Anderson and his won G. G. Anderson were charter members of the Liberty Hill Masonic Lodge, organized in 1875. The G. G. Anderson farm was east of the U. H. Anderson place, and Thomas H. Anderson's farm was to the north of Rock House.21

The economic base of the Rock House area was agricultural from the time it was settled.

Farming and cattle raising were generally combined on each farm. With improved roads and methods of transpor­tation in the 1930s and 1940s in such rural areas, the need for rural schools disappeared. As a rule, by this time, churches had also consolidated with larger congregations in the nearby towns. With the closing of the general store, all activity as a community unit ceased. The area remains essentially rural, although the location of Rock House about eight miles above the new Lake Georgetown has enhanced it for some real estate development. Several homes are now located near the village site.

Persons who had a significant impact on the community included the Uriah Anderson family and descendants: T. C. and M. Ho Sowell, who added sufficient improvements to the store site from 1885 to 1888 to raise the price of the property from 1150 to 112001 J. W. and Olia Perry, who had the store-post office property from 1890 to 18971 and W. L. "Charlie" Booth and his son-in-law, Charley Cole, who ran the general store and later the blacksmith shop, garage, and mill from 1897 to 1960.


Additional historical items from more research by Myreta Matthews

Brief biological sketches of some early influential settlers.

J.W. Perry was born in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, on January 11, 1840, and came with his parents to Bastrop County, Texas when he was ten years of age. At the opening of the Civil War, he enlisted in Company D, Twelfth Texas Cav­alry, and served first in Texas. He went thence to Arkansas, took part in the battles of Searcy's Lane, Cotton Plant, and Langee River, and then in the following battles in Louisiana: Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and Yellow Bayou. At the latter place, he was wounded in the right knee. He was hospitalized, then furloughed, and later rejoined his company. The company disbanded in Falls County, Texas. After the close of hostilities, Mr. Perry followed the pursuits of agriculture in Bastrop County for five years and then came to Williamson County. He settled on Bears Creek where he remained for three years. He then bought his present farm, of 585 acres,9n the North Gabriel, seventeen miles northwest of Georgetown.

Mr. Perry married Margaret Copeland (1841-1926) in 1861. They had six children: Olia 0., a merchant. (in 1893) of Liberty Hill; Jefferson; James W.; and Louna at home; Dora deceased; and Louida at home. Mr. Perry votes with the Peoples Party; is a member of the Masonic Order and the Farmers' Alliance. Mr. and Mrs. Perry were members of the Missionary Baptist Church. He died in 1907 and she died in 1926. They are buried in the Perry Cemetery on the land.

S.P. Stubblefield(1824-1902) was born in Dallas County, Alabama, and was reared to manhood in Yazoo County, Mississippi. In June 1846 he enlisted for service in the Mexican War, entering Company A, Jeff Davis Regiment. He par­ticipated in the battles of Monterey and Buena Vista and was wounded in the right hand in the last-named battle. In 1870 he moved to Liberty Hill,(Williamson Co.; Texas and had a general store in a two-storied stone building, until 1881. (The building was restored and received an Official Texas Historical Marker in 1976.)

In 1883 he moved to his farm of 170 acres located on the north fork of the San Gabriel River, sixteen miles northwest of Georgetown in the Rock House area. Williamson County Rock House Ninety acres of the land was under cultivation, the rest was timberland and used for grazing. He also maintained a good gin on the place.

S.P. Stubblefield married Sarah Russell (1837-1906) in 1852, before coming to Texas. They had eleven children, some of whom remained in Yazoo County, Mississippi. They were members of the Methodist Church and Mr. Stubblefield was a member of the Liberty Hill Masonic Lodge. They are buried in the family plot in the Liberty Hill Cemetery.

J.H. Williams (1833-1902) a farmer and stock-raiser of Williamson County was born in Orange County, Indiana, and accompanied his parents on various moves throughout several States. In 1857 he located in Williamson County on a 945-acre farm, where he also engaged in stock raising. The place is in the Rock House Community near the North San Gabriel River.

While living in Titus County, Texas in 1855 J.H. Williams married Sarah E. McCorvey (1837-1891). They had six children who lived with them in the "very beautiful and commodious residence" erected in 1878. (This large 21 story house stood near SH 183 about 35 miles northwest of Austin for 100 years. It was vacant and in a sad state of neglect for many years. It burned in 1979.)

In 1862, J.H. Williams enlisted in Company A, Thirteenth Texas Cavalry, and served for three years in the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy, engaging principally in scouting duty. He always took an active part in politics and in 1880 was elected commissioner of his district, serving one term of two years. In 1884 he was again elected to that position and served two terms. During his administration, the jail question was agitated and resulted in the erection of the safe and commodious building, Mr. Williams has been a prominent worker in its favor. He was a Democrat of the old school, a member of the Mt. Horeb Masonic Lodge at Gabriel Mills, and a Deacon in the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are buried in the Liberty Hill Cemetery.

  1. Lewis Publishing Co.,Chicago,1893        p 531
  2. Ibid p 762
  3. Ibid p 495