THE HISTORY OF JOLLYVILLE TEXAS
Historical Narrative by Karen R. Thompson
The earliest pioneer of the Jollyville area was Henry Rhodes who
took up a headright land grant of 1260 acres, # 1-35, in the
extreme southwestern corner of Williamson County in the 1840's.
 On the 1850 Williamson County United States Census, Henry
Rhodes is shown as age 74 years and living in the household of
his son Elisha Rhodes. Elisha Rhodes is age 55 years, a farmer
worth $1900.00 and his wife Rachel is age 56. Children are Vina
Rhodes, 20; Henry Rhodes, 18, also a farmer; Margaret 16; and
Elisha Jenkins. Henry Rhodes, 74, is also shown as a farmer
worth $100.00  The Rhodes Cemetery located in Jollyville is
named for Henry Rhodes and he and many of his descendants are
Another early settler was Thomas V. Strode. Strode bought the W.
S. Baker survey, # 1-267, in 1845  The Baker survey is next
to the Rhodes survey. Thomas Strode is shown on the 1850
Williamson County U. S. Census as age 46, a farmer, worth
$1,000.00, with wife Emaline, age 35 and 5 children.  Thomas
Strode was the postmaster of Pond Springs in 1857.  Mr.
Strode said "in those days, the oxen gave the first warning of
the approach of the Indians. When the oxen pulling the plow,
suddenly stopped in their tracks, threw their heads high and
began to sniff the air, the early pioneer knew to unhitch them,
go to the house, get his gun and ammunition ready.  Thomas
and Emiline Strode are buried in the Jolly Cemetery.
Elisha Prewitt is the other Jollyville area resident shown on
the 1850 Williamson County U. S. Census. He is 30 years old and
his wife Frances (maiden name Rhodes) is age 29. He is a farmer
worth $900.00 with others in the household listed as Byrum
Jenkins, 12, and Eliazer Jenkins, 10  Elisha Prewitt was a
veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto during the Texas Revolution
serving in Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company. 
In 1866 John Grey Jelly bought 160 acres in northern Travis
County and southwestern Williamson County. Jolly established
the village known as Jollyville. John Jolly was born January 31,
1825 in Tennessee. He married Nancy Isabelle Cuill, born October
14, 1825, on July 29, 1847 in Tennessee. They moved to Travis
County Texas in 1852. Jolly served in the Confederate Army for
four years. On the 6th of July, 1861 the "Travis Mounted Rifles"
was organized at the Little Walnut Schoolhouse, in Travis
County, and belonged to the Mounted Rifle arm of the service.
The muster-roll list J. G. Jolly as a private.  Jolly served
four year in the Southern Army and was badly wounded. It was
after he returned from the Civil War that he purchased the acres
at Jollyville and he died their March 8, 1899  Jolly gave
land for a school, which was also used as a church, and land for
a cemetery. A now Jollyville School was built in 1878. 
In 1882 the Jollyville School #19 had a teacher names Maggie
Jackson and she was appropriated $68.40 that was set aside by
the county.  On June 10, 1895 the Jollyville School
trustees circulated a petition that said "Jollyville, Texas,
June 10, 1095. To our fellow citizens: We, the citizens of
Jollyville, having undertaken to repair our schoolhouse,
respectfully solicit contributions in any form convertible into
money or lumber; and we assure those who feel disposed to assist
us, that any assistance thus rendered will be gratefully and
thankfully received. we appointed as soliciting committee: W. L.
Carter, J: T. Rutledge, William Thompson, A. Thorp and John
Evans." Seventeen people contributed $18.50 and one of those
signing was Travis County Judge John W. Hormsby. 
The one-room Jollyville School hired teacher S. J. Matthews on
August 24, 1896 for the salary of $40.00 per month. The school
trustees hiring Matthews were W. H. Thompson and W. L. Carter.
Matthews held what was known as a Third Grade Certificate.
Jollyville School District No. 63 hired S. J. Matthews again in
1897. In a report to the State of Texas Jollyville School
Trustees Misters' Thompson, Thorp and Carter certified they had
hired Matthews for $40.00 per month. In a Monthly Report of
Public Free Schools, S. J. Matthews reported that in 1897 he had
a total of 88 pupils enrolled in the Jollyville School. 
Besides the school, Jollyville had a store and blacksmith shop
run by John Grey Jolly. The Jolly's had six daughters and were
known as the "patriarchs of the community". Jollyville residents
learned to think of Nancy Jolly as its "vertable Mother" when
"in those far-away pioneer days the skill of physicians failed
and her still greater intuitive skill was of no avail in the
fight for life of a babe, child in the bloom of youth, a life in
full of strength of maturity of body wasted by the weight of
years, hers was the voice that brought peaceful resignation to
the providences of God as she counseled.....and she truly did
live a happy consistiad Christian life". 
Jollyville did not have a post office. The closest one was at
Pond Springs a couple of miles north of Jollyville. In early
times the Stage Coach did stop at Jollyville at the Wm. H.
Thompson place (on the site for this historical marker) where
the Jollyville School was located just across the road about 200
feet from the marker. 
The Jolly Cemetery is located on one acre of land that is in
1/2 Travis County and in Williamson County. Fourteen graves have
nice rock stones giving name and dates of birth and death. Names
of those families buried in the cemetery are: Jolly, Thorp,
Hudson, Venable, Johns, Robinson, Strode and Taylor. 
In 1903 the Jollyville School consolidated with the Pond Springs
School and the students attended the Pond Springs School. 
The Jollyville School was torn down in the 1920's. [20 In 1920
about a dozen families lived in the Jollyville area and they
were: Walden, Millegan, Warren, Glenn, Prewitt, Carter, Sanders,
Thompson, Dearing, Dittrich and Rader. 
Other Jollyville merchants were Mate Walden, J. M. Forbes, N. N.
Turner (saddlery), "Uncle Mack" Hays. Drs. Harrell and Webber
were often called from Round pock for serious medical problems,
but a local phrenologist "Old Doc" Cunningham, an Englishman who
rode a donkey-drawn gig often substituted for the village
Jollyville continued as a small, mostly farming community, from
those early times until the construction of a Texas Instruments
plant there in 1969. In 1966 about twenty-five families lived in
Jollyville. According to the 1980 census at least 10,000 people
live in the area known as Jollyville. Jollyville never
consolidated into a town but it has appeared on Texas official
Highway maps since early times.
Seven former Jollyville School students later became teachers
and they were: Walter Jenkins, Walter Glenn, Green Mays, George
Mays, Pony Prewitt, Frankie Prewitt, Eva and Nannie Thorp. 
Four Jollyville resident: served in the Confederacy during the
Civil war. already mentioned John Grey Jolly was a Confederate
soldier and the other 3 were Elisha Rhodes, Wm. H. Thompson and
Jamb: Bryon Jenkins. 
view footnotes PDF
Jollyville Community and School
Historical narrative by Karen Thompson
John Grey Jolly was born January 31, 1825 in Tennessee. John
married Nancy Isabel Guill, who was born near Nashville, (or
Memphis) Tennessee on October 14, 1825. John and Nancy married
in Tenn. on July 29, 1847. In 1852 they moved to Austin, Texas.
The Jolly's had 7 girls. Martha Ann "Matt" born in 1850,
married Will Lee in about 1870.  Rachel was born in 1852 and
married Byram Jenkins about 1872.  Mary Tennessee "Tennie"
was born May 13, 1854 and married Milton Ashford Thorp.  Emma
was born in 1856 and married James "Jim" Jolly (a cousin) about
1876. Bell Jolly never married, she was born in 1858. Jane Dean
was born in 1860 and married Edward A. Hudson.  Julia John
Jolly (no birth date) married George Milam first and ?????
John and Nancy Jolly lived in Austin from 1852 until 1861 at the
start of the Civil War, when they moved to Fiskville which was
to be their home until the war ended. After the Civil War the
family moved to the area that wasto become known as Jollyville.
The Deed Records of Travis County, Texas Book P 209-210
certifies that the Company known as the "TRAVIS MOUNTED RIFLES"
was organized at Little Walnut Schoolhouse, Travis County, Texas
on the 6th of July 1861 under the provisions of an act approved
February 15, 1858, and belongs to the Mounted Rifle of the
service, and that the same correct Muster-Roll was organized on
the 6th day of July, A. D. 1861. Captain was James A. Thompson,
First Lieut. was Joseph Lee, Second Lieut. was Jas. D. Doxey,
Third Lieut. was P. Nowlin and First Sergt. was R. H. Wilkins.
Of the additional men of 47 Privates, John G. Jolly is listed as
number 39 as a Private in that company. Frank Browns Annals of
Travis county says Jolly served four years in the Southern Army
and was badly wounded (Jolly served about two years in Co. F,
31st Tx. Dismounted Cavalry). In 1901 Mrs. Jolly started
receiving Confederate Veteran Widows pension and received it
until her death in 1921.)In 1866 John G. Jolly moved his family
to a tract of land of 160 acres, located in Travis and
Williamson counties, most of which was in the southwestern
portion of Williamson County in the James D. Goode and Henry
Jolly established and laid out the village and gave land for a
school/church. Here Mr. Jolly became the "village blacksmith",
storekeeper and patriarch of the community. Williamson County
population increased ten percent in the years from 1860 to 1870
with a total of 6,368 persons living in the county in 1870. When
the tax collector made his rounds of the county in the 1870's he
Jolly gave one acre of land for a family and community cemetery.
The cemetery has fourteen graves that display identification.
John (1825-1899) and Nancy Jolly (1825-1921) are both buried in
the cemetery. Other graves are: Jennie Thorp 1848-1881; Sadie
Hudson 1892-1909; Margaret Venable 1807-1883; Joseph Elmer
Venable 1879-1912; Hosea Johns (Masonic Emblem) 1808-1877; Mary
Johns 1827-1899; Margaret E. Robinson 1861-1872; Emaline Strode
1813-1885; T. V. Strode (Masonic Emblem) 1803-1880 also the
Postmaster of Pond Springs in 1857; Missouri Strode 1899-1922;
Virginia Taylor 1840-1921; and Charles Strode 1845-1929.
Additional footstones have "EAKY" and "NJK ". Several unmarked
graves are evident. Today the cemetery is taken care of by Karen
Thompson, and a Jolly Cemetery Fund is at Farmers State Bank in
The Jollyville School was opened by 1878 in a log school house
built on the land given by John Grey Jolly. The old Jollyville
School was located on the old Burnet Highway (now relocated as
old Highway183 in front of the J.F. Thompson farm). The school
building measured forty by sixty feet, was made of heart lumber,
and was sealed inside. It was also used as a community church
building. Benches were used for desk except in the back where
some boards were nailed to the wall for use of the older
children. The younger ones sat astride the benches when writing.
The school was ungraded, taught by teachers with second and
third grade certificates and was held for six months of the
year, eight years was scholastic age. In the very early days,
there was an average attendance of ten to twelve students. Many
of the children had to stop to help with crops. It is said that
Methodist and Presbyterians held church services in the school
As we stated, the Jollyville school was started by 1878.
Throughout the 1880's and 1890's the school averaged about 60 to
80 students. In January 1897 Jollyville School had 82 students
enrolled. In early days the people of the community undertook
the responsibility of school house up-keep. A copy of the
following petition was framed and presented to Pond Springs
School by the David Thompson Family. The petition reads:
"Jollyville, Texas June 10, 1895. To our Fellow Citizens: We,
the citizens of Jollyville having undertaken to repair our
schoolhouse, respectfully solicit contributions in any form
convertible into money or lumber, and we assure those who feel
disposed to assist us, that any assistance thus rendered will be
gratefully and thankfully received. We appointed as soliciting
committee: W. L. Carter, J. T. Rutledge, Wm. Thompson, M. A.
Thorp, and John Evans." The committee received a total of $
18.50 from 17 people. Official petition for Jollyville School
was received in the Williamson County School Superintendents
office in Georgetown on July 19, 1882 and again on July 31,
1883. Jollyville School was #19, and Maggie Jackson was teacher.
Trustees were G. R. Kyle and J. H. Rutledge.
The years of 1896 and 1897 seem to be the largest years for
enrollment in the school. On August 22, 1896 A Teacher's
Certificate from Williamson County School Superintendent J. D.
Hudson issued a "third grade" certificate to S. J. Matthews. On
August 24, 1896 Jollyville School Trustees W. H. Thompson and W.
L. Carter hired S. J. Matthews to teach at the Jollyville Public
School for $ 40.00 per month. Records indicate S. J. Matthews
was also paid $ 40.00 per month in 1897, and during Mr. Matthews
teaching time in 1897 the school had a total enrollment of 82
In 1903 the Jollyville School consolidated with the Pond Springs
School located about two miles north. At the time of
consolidation the schools had 52 students.
Although the school building was only used for community and
church meetings after 1903 the community remained and has been
known as Jollyville since the 1860's. The community never
incorporated but has been on Official Texas Highway maps since
early days. Since John Grey Jolly's first store and blacksmith
days, atleast one store has been open in Jollyville. Families
like the Jollys, John Dittlinger, Dittrich's, Toungates, Waldens,
Forbes, Turner, Hays, Hills, have operated stores in the
community. Jollyville did not have a Post office like Pond
Springs did, but it did have a Stagecoach stop at the W. H,
Thompson place. The west corner of the Thompson home, where the
fire place still stands was the stagecoach stop building in
early times. In 1948 Jollyville had four businesses and a
population of 70. In 1960 about 20 families had homes in the
Jollyville area. In 1970 the small farm community experienced
rapid growth from Austin, and indeed was included in the Austin
ETJ. Now many families live in Jollyville and it strains to keep
any identity alive. The schools in the area have consolidated
with the Round Rock Independent (in 1969)School District.
Austin city limits run up the new four lane highway that runs
through Jollyville, slightly by-passing the old "city" area. At
least 20,000 residents live in what is known as the "greater
Jollyville area". A Jollyville Community School, sponsored by
the RRISD serves over 3,000 area residents a year with classes.
A large plant of Texas Instruments Corp. is located at the
southeastern edge of Jollyville and it employees over 2,000
people from through the Austin area. Many new housing
developments and shopping areas have been built in the last ten
years, indeed the 1970's have seen great changes in Jollyville.
Jollyville Community and School with photos - PDF