Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

  Elm Grove
Williamson County, Texas

Also known as Matsler and Oak Grove community

 
  Matsler, Matsler Heights, Oak Grove, Elm Grove, Berry Grove, Wesley Chapel, Conaway (school) nicknamed "Plough Handle"----various names for the same locality south of Florence. George and Rebecca Matsler moved there in 1852, Mrs. Matsler starting a Sunday School class under a large shade tree at her home. Church services were held that year by Reverend Rennick and in 1858 Reverend Lewis Gordon Tucker and his wife came there. Tucker called his farm Oak Grove or Berry's Grove and preached in the Matsler and other homes of the community. Reverend Collin Forbes formally founded the Elm Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church on October 14, 1865. The congregation is still active in 1973. The first church building also served as Matsler School until another was built. The school through the years was in several different locations and was known as Matsler until 1888 when it apparently was changed to Conaway and built on land given by the Alex Conaway family on his farm called Wesley Chapel. Conaway was nicknamed "Plough Handle" School. Wesley Chapel was the site of another church and cemetery. Before the rural school was closed in 1949, it was again called Matsler. It consolidated with Florence. Four miles south of the heart of Florence beginning at Highway 195 is a seven-mile stretch of straight county road leading west, known as Sunset Lane. It was built in the late 1880s at a time when such a long, straight road was unique. When Bill and "Snap" Ratliff laid it out and graded it with county equipment drawn by eight oxen, they stopped at the Lee Suttles home nearby and asked Mrs. Suttles to name the road: - Call it Sunset Lane because it will take 'til sunset to reach the end of it, she said. And so the road has been called since that time.

Ratliff, community southeast of Florence for family of that name, near another settlement called Rocky Point. Bill and "Snap" Ratliff laid out the seven-mile road called Sunset Lane. (See Matsler).


a special thanks to Clara Stearns Scarbrough for this slice of history
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Clara Stearns Scarbrough, Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (Georgetown, Texas: Williamson County Sun Publishers, 1973).

 

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