Coupland, Texas History
Population: 308 (2005)
St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, built in 1906. The town of Coupland, surrounded by fertile farming land, was a meeting place for Swedish, German, and Swiss farmers from the area.
Gift of Clara Stearns Scarbrough
Hwy 95 at CR 1466
click thumbnail to enlarge
Latitude 30.459606 Longitude -97.391052
Coupland City, Texas, was an early day real estate venture of the Coupland City Company. C. H. Welch and H. Dickson of Taylor, Texas; Maj. Theodore Van Buren Coupland of Coupland City, Texas; C. C. Coupland and J. D. Coupland of St. Clair County, Alabama incorporated the Coupland City Company in a charter dated January 19, 1887 and filed March 28, 1887 as recorded in Volume 42, page 365, Deed Records, Williamson County, Texas. The purpose as stated in Article 2 of the charter was to purchase, subdivision and sale of land in the town of Coupland, recently established on the line of the Taylor, Bastrop and Houston railway, (which was built 1886-87).
The original acreage was then purchased by the Coupland City Company on February 9, 1887 from T. V. Coupland, James D. Coupland, C. C. Coupland, and the aforementioned as trustees for Ella, Nancy, Ada and Ida McMellion, children of their deceased sister, residing in the St. Clair County, Alabama, the consideration being $2,000 for approximately 200 acres.
The Coupland City Company, with its office in Taylor, proceeded to build a city. Circulars were printed advertising a public auction sale of town lots at the "New Town of Coupland City" to be held Thursday, May 12, 1887 with Capt. J. A. H. Hosack, Auctioneer. Little is known about the results of the auction; however, the advertising was quite convincing. The "New Town of Coupland City" was advertised as being located on the Taylor, Bastrop and Houston railway in the southeastern portion of Williamson County, 81/2 miles south of the thriving city of Taylor and 81/2 miles north of Elgin on the Houston and Texas Central Railway.
The circulars had a map of the proposed city and information as follows: "This new city offers inducements to capitalists who are seeking investments on LARGE, SURE AND INCREASING INCOME for their investments."
"To Merchants, mechanics, and tradespeople an eligible location to make their labor, energy, enterprise and intelligence bear fruit a hundredfold."
"Wood and water in abundance for all necessary purposes."
"Brushy Creek, a constant, clear running stream, is near the north boundary line of the City."
"This section is equally well adapted to grazing or agriculture. Cotton, all the cereals, vegetables and fruits do well."
"No farmer who has cultivated his land well here, but what has made good crops in the most drought seasons."
"The scenery is magnificent, soil rich, climate healthy. A visit in the spring time to this beautiful prairie will repay its costs."
"Williamson County, with her fine farms and fine blooded stock, is rightfully named the BANNER County of the State."
"Lands near Coupland City can be purchased at reasonable low figures, and on easy terms by early applicants."
"Good hotel accommodations are to be had at Taylor, Elgin or Bastrop, from which places, trains will be run on the day of sale."
"Terms of Sale: All sums of $100 or under cash: over $100, one-third cash, balance in one or two years."
We can deduce from the advertising campaign that Coupland City, Texas was a speculative real estate venture, significantly enhanced by its location on the new Taylor, Bastrop and Houston railway.
The land upon which Coupland is situated was originally granted to James Crawford by Maj. Arcinega, Commissioner, Supreme Government of the State of Coahuila and Texas, as a colonist in Austin's and William's County.
"On July 19, 1837, Crawford executed a warranty deed conveying 2,222 acres to James B. Miller. Miller then conveyed the land to Albert P. Burnley in a warranty deed dated August 3, 1848. During the course of these and other transactions of the land, early laws of Texas from 1831 to 1876, Articles Number 2377 and 2848, validating acts of the Legislature of Texas of February 2, 1854 and January 25, 1836, and Hamilton vs. Avery 20th Texas, page 630: "colonists leagues on Brushy Creek held invalid so far as the same was located north of the dividing ridge of the Brazos and Colorado Rivers". Rightful ownership was determined by Patent Number 39, Volume 12, dated August 24, 1859 when the State of Texas by M. R. Runnels, Governor and Francis M. White, Commissioner of General Land Office granted to Morgan C. Hamilton, assignee of Joseph Jordan, 1,009 acres of land, situated and described as follows: in Williamson County on Brushy Creek, a tributary of Little River, about 20 miles S 54 E from Austin known as Survey No. by virtue of Bounty Warranty No. 400 for 1,120 acres issued by Barnard E. Bee, Secretary of War of the Late Republic of Texas, and on the 18th of November 1837, transferred by said Jordon to Hamilton on the 21st day of November 1837. The land was surveyed for Hamilton by Mathias Wilbarger, Dep. Surveyor on October 6, 1842.
In a deed of Gift and Trust dated May 2, 1883, Hamilton left to share, a sizeable inheritance of land, cattle and horses to his deceased sister's (Karen Hamilton Coupland) five children, those being Constantine, Nancy J., James and Theodore V. Coupland and the children of the deceased Harriet L. Coupland McMellion.
In 1884, Nancy J. Coupland Spruill of Alabama then traded her interest in the estate for livestock and approximately 900 acres northwest of the present town of Coupland and thus remained the owners who sold 200 acres to the Coupland City Land Company.
Jesse Barker has been considered the first settler of the Coupland area by many old timers. This, however, is untrue. Jesse Barker never made a home here, but his sons Calvin and E. B. (at age 10) did. In 1845, the Barkers came from Bastrop County and settled on what they thought was their original Austin colonist land grant. But about twenty years later, they learned that they had been confused with rivers and had actually settled on someone else's grant. Since they had already established their roots here, they bought the land from its legal owner and remained in the area. E. B. Barker had nine children: Robert E., Rufus L., J. Euphrates (Frate), J. Tom, Sallie (Darlington), Jack 1., Emzy, Dudley, and Ada (Mrs. Benard Garry). Tom Barker witnessed the last Indian fight in the area.
Maj. T. V. Coupland was the first settler near the present site of Coupland. Coupland was born October 16, 1836 in Alabama. When the Civil War erupted, many young men refused to join the fight. Some went into exile rather than serve in a cause they thought was wrong. Still others escaped from the areas and joined the Union forces to fight against slavery and the Confederacy. One such resister was Coupland. A few years before the Civil War, Coup-land moved to Austin, where he became Deputy Sheriff of Travis County. When the war broke out, he and his Uncle A. J. (Jack) Hamilton and others stole away to Mexico and then made their way north to the Union lines at New Orleans where they offered their services to the North. T. V. Coupland was commissioned Major of the First Texas Calvary.
After the war in 1865, he was mustered out in San Antonio and returned to New Orleans. He served eighteen years in government appointments, first as collector of the port of New Orleans, and then as deputy clerk of the United State Court.
In July 1865, his uncle A. J. (Jack) Hamilton was appointed provisional governor of the State of Texas by Andrew Johnson. Morgan Calvin Hamilton, also an uncle, was appointed the first U.S. Senator from Texas after the Civil War as a reward for his political ties. After he served his term as Senator, Morgan Hamilton moved to New York state where he died. Since he never married, he left his estate to his nieces and nephews (T. V. Coupland being one of them). When Maj. Coupland received word of his uncle's death in 1883, he abandoned his political aspirations and moved with his wife and only child, Frank Hamilton Coupland, to Central Texas land left by his uncle. His first home was a small square frame house on the the south bank of Brushy Creek west of the present site of Coupland. The house still stands (as of the writing of this narrative). Maj. Coupland died on January 3, 1890, and is buried in Taylor.
John Goetz, Sr., a school teacher from Fayette County, was the first to buy lots in the new city of Coupland after moving his family from Germany by way of Illinois. He built a two-story frame dwelling with lumber hauled from Bastrop in an ox-drawn wagon. In this building, his residence, he opened a General Store and became the first postmaster.
Among the early settlers was Diedrich Goetz (1844-1923) and his wife Trintze. Goetz came to America in 1871 by sailboat and settled in Minonk, Illinois. Eighteen years later, after an investigative trip to Texas, Goetz, his wife and eleven children moved to Coupland City, Texas. Their first residence was the house built by Maj. Coupland west of Coupland City. In 1890, he bought a farm south of Coupland and built their homestead. Trintze Goetz (1839-1906) was the first to be buried from St. Peter's church in Coupland.
Harmes Otten Eiben (1838-1919) also from Minonk, Illinois came to Coupland City, Texas in 1890. After a short stay in the Coupland home, lie built his home on a farm southwest of Coupland where a grandson, Otto Eiben, now resides.
August Kriedel (1851-1939) came to Coupland City, Texas in 1890 from Fayette County. He became the first bank president and a partner in the purchase of the Coupland City Land Company.
Coupland City, Texas was platted March 24, 1887 and filed March 28, 1887 by C. H. Welch, President of Coupland City Company. It showed to contain 48 blocks.
The Coupland City Company also donated the streets and a public square which was never developed.
The first post office was opened by John Goetz, Sr. in December 28, 1889 in the two story frame structure used as a residence and general store. Coupland has had continuous local postal service since that time. Walter Weber and John Albers were rural mail carriers.
Although the Coupland City Company was incorporated, the town of Coupland was never incorporated. It did however become a thriving rural community with some continuity.
Emzy Barker was the first constable and the Coupland Fire Department was organized. Early day crime led to the organization of townsmen to share in the enforcement of law and order by forming groups of night watchmen. A jail house was purchased and located next to the railroad north of the sharp highway turn.
Early businesses included the John Goetz Sr. General Store and later Helmuth and Van Rosenberg General Merchantile and J. 0. Ford Grocery and Meat Market. Ford had the first pickup truck in the Coupland area which he used for deliveries. Wernli & Boeneman Bank Saloon and Marburger & Copeland Saloon were early watering holes. John Speckles had the first full line hardware store. Hugo and Ben Franze ran a livery stable and transfer line. A man named Peterson was the first blacksmith. After Peterson, shops were established by Adolph Spiegelhauer, Adolph Knipe and Max Zieger. Other early craftsmen were Herman Hunziker, brick mason; Albert Boeneman, a woodworker; and Albert Speckles, carpenter. The Bank of Coupland was formed near the turn of the century with August Kriedel as the first president. The Coupland State Bank charter was granted January 13, 1911. In the rear of the Bank of Coupland was the printing shop for the Coupland Record.
A drug store was opened by Clarence White, H. L. Copeland and Dr. Hudson. Drs. Sharnberg and Fester also practiced medicine out of the Drug Store which housed a hand powered X-ray machine. Alfred Albers trained in the Drug Store and later opened the Coup-land Drug Company in 1911. A tailor shop was opened by a man named Foster. Early gins were those of John Albers, Pfluger Bros. and W. T. Brown.
A few years later a hotel, light plant, telephone company, automobile dealership, 5Q & 10Q store, movie house and dance hall were established. Kriedel Bros. Saloon housed a cafe, barber shop and bath house.
Shortly after 1890, Lutheran church services were held in the school house at Pear Valley, east of Coupland where Coupland children attended school on a regular basis. In 1894, a wood frame school was built south of the present church site. John Goetz Sr. was one of the early school teachers. Rev. Ernest Rudolf became the first pastor in November 1895. St. Peter's United Church of Christ was erected and dedicated on February 11, 1906. The early conservative German and Swiss were always deeply concerned with religion and church functions since that was one of the motivating factors for immigrating to America. Church council meeting minutes are available from October 21, 1895 to present.
The hard working settlers also enjoyed and needed time for relaxation. Early day social functions were dances and meals at the Pink Hall located on the C. W. Pfluger farm, Sons of Herman lodge functions, summer time swimming and picnics at the public swimming hole on Brushy Creek, a baseball team and later the Coupland Central Band. Also later was a Chautauqua performed annually in Coupland. A German summer school was held by the church pastor until World War I.
The economic base of Coupland has always been agriculture. Prior to the machine age, all farm work was done by hand or with mules or oxen. A great number of families lived off of relatively small tracts of land. Consequently the service industry was attracted. When machines made it possible to increase output, the numbers declined and Coupland was no longer attractive for business development. These facts account for the decline in the population of Coupland over some five decades.
It has remained, however, a community involved with its rural neighbors, ever ready for growth. The reasonable proximity to Austin, a rural water system and continuation of a public school offer attractive dreams of what may come.
Coupland has been the home of early day businessmen and civic leaders like Reiner Ashen (1819-1903), T. V. Coupland (1836-1890), August Kreidel (1851-1939), Alfred Albers (1809-1968), 0. R. Speckles (1877-1912), and many others who left an impact on today's generation. Men like these invested in tomorrow.
One of the most esteemed and sometimes controversial figures to make Coupland home was Julius Wittliff (1881-1973). Wittliff moved into the Coupland area in the early 1900's from Gay Hill, Texas. He was thereafter engaged in agribusiness for the remainder of his long life. Always interested in community development, Wittliff was known far and wide as "Kingfish", Coupland's One Man Chamber of Commerce. One of Wittliff's principal concerns was that of education, i.e. the maintenance and improvement of the Coupland School. No task was too large or too small for him to find time for involvement. Politics was a favorite topic and Wittliff remained politically active until failing health necessitated withdrawal. A first name basis with politicians such as Lyndon Johnson became a trademark of "Kingfish". J. Wittliff left his mark on Coupland through many varied endeavors.
C. W. Pfluger, Sr. (1876-1944) was born in Pflugerville, Texas and later moved to Taylor where he was employed at the City National Bank. In 1905, he moved to Coupland where a private banking house was opened. Mr. Pfluger's father, William Pfluger, although not a resident, had invested in the Coupland City Company and bought acreage around Coupland. The new banking venture and his father's investments were inducements for Pfluger's move to Coupland. Mr. Pfluger's business activities were wide and varied. His community and civic interests were numerous. His involvement in the church was virtually unexcelled. For these qualities and achievements, C. W. Pfluger is remembered and respected as a benevolent gentleman who touched the lives of all those with whom he had contact and many more though his tireless efforts.
Henry Kuehne, M.D. (1874-1944), longtime physician in the Coup-land community, is still a household phrase when referring to philan¬thropic deeds. Dr. Kuehne was a dedicated physician practicing his oath to a finesse. Although his profession occupied seemingly all of his waking hours, Dr. Kuehne found time for civic, educational and social activities. He was keenly aware of Coupland's agricultural base and actively pursued a study of raising livestock and rows of crops as a science. The elements of physical geography necessary for successful agriculture led to his study of meteorology, keeping a daily weather log. Dr. Kuehne was truly an unforgettable character and near legend in his own time.
It is indeed tragic that a more complete list of civic leaders and memorable persons cannot be included in this work but such would become voluminous. Coupland has indeed had its share of active and energetic people always willing to help someone help himself.
It is fitting that we commemorate the community of Coupland as a memorial for those who have gone before, but left for future generations the community we now see, feel and know. It is not in a rhetorical sense that we seek recognition but a sense of dedication to the propagation of community history. Its preservation is necessary for dissemination to those to come and who desire to know. We, of course, hypostatize the future of Coupland as a strong, viable body of people characteristic of its founding father and truly envision it will be such.
Historical Marker text
This congregation was organized in 1894 by German and Swiss immigrants, Originally known as St. Petri Deutsche Evangelische Gemeinde (St. Peters German Evangelical Church), the congregation built this vernacular Gothic Revival sanctuary in 1905-1906. The meeting hall was added in 1925, and the two structures were connected in 1953. By 1955 English Language services, introduced in 1929, had replaced the worship originally conducted in German. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1989
The Coupland Civic Organization
Coupland's Building 2006
Coupland's Railway Museum 2006
United States Senator Morgan C. Hamilton -
Historical Marker text
(1809-93) An outstanding patriot who acted as Secretary of War and Marine in Republic of Texas and later served the state in many roles, Morgan Hamilton in 1837 obtained a 1009-acre land grant in this area. While his brother A. J. Hamilton was governor (1865-66), he retrieved for Texas some bonds sent to Europe during the Civil War. In 1870-77 he served as a United States Senator from Texas. His nephew Theodore Van Buren Coupland (1836-90) settled here and in 1887 founded town of Coupland on land that formerly belonged to Senator Hamilton.
In Post Oak just south east from Coupland
Type Cemetery -
Historical Marker text
The earliest Anglo settlers of this area came to the vicinity in the 1840s. They called their community Post Oak Island for an isolated oak grove between Bastrop and Circleville. Many of these pioneers had moved on by the time Swedish and Danish immigrants arrived in the 1890s. Swedish-born August Smith owned a store which straddled the line between Bastrop and Williamson counties. Smith opened the Type Post Office in that store in 1902, probably naming the community for the printing machine owned by his friend Jonas Sunvision. The Type Cemetery was established on land conveyed by Peder and Christine Nygaard when the Swedish Free Mission Church was founded in May 1908. The tombstones of Anna Amalia Hansen (Hanson) (d. 1910) and Christina Fredrickson (d. 1915) are inscribed in Swedish, merely one indication of the strong cultural identification of the early settlers with their homelands. Burials before 1950 are primarily those of members of the Carlson, Hanson, Nygaard, Nyman, and Swenson families. The small number of Scandinavian burials in the cemetery after 1950 reflects the group's assimilation into American culture and the dispersal of local young people to cities. In 1954 the Swedish Free Mission Church merged with Kimbro's Free Church. Of the 36 graves counted in 1998, eleven were those of Swedish immigrants and fifteen were first or second generation Scandinavian Texans. Several Mexican graves were located on the eastern edge of the cemetery. The Yegua Creek Evangelical Free Church, which relocated to this site in 1987, maintains the Type Cemetery. (1998)
plaque on CR-1466
east of Coupland
Coupland Brushy Creek old bridge
on CR 456 off 1466, built 1912 - 100' long by 45 wide
Coupland ,Texas by The Handbook of Texas Online