Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

  Education in Round Rock
Historical Maker - Round Rock, Texas


intersection of Lake Creek Drive and FM-620 in Round Rock -
1/2 block west on FM-620.


 
     
  Marker Text:
Soon after Williamson County was founded in 1848, pioneer settler Jacob M. Harrell, a blacksmith, built a log schoolhouse for use by his neighbors. Believed to be the first school in the county, it was located at Moss' Spring on Lake Creek (2 mi. SW). Later, another log cabin school was opened north of Brushy Creek by Samuel L. Makemson and Dr. D. F. Knight. As the area developed, efforts were made to provide a complete community educational program. Early college training was offered by the Greenwood Masonic Institute, which was established in 1867. The school was later operated by local Presbyterian churches and by the city as Round Rock Institute. The first publicly-supported school for Round Rock students opened in 1878. A second college, Trinity Lutheran, was in operation from 1904 to 1929. In 1913 residents of the area voted to incorporate Williamson County Common School District No. 19 as the Round Rock Independent School District. M. G. York, an area school administrator, was chosen as the first Superintendent of the new school system. Under the direction of such superintendents as O. F. Perry, 1939-57, and Noel Grisham, 1957-79, the district has been noted for rapid growth and quality education.
 
 
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GPS Coordinates:
Latitude:30.511717, Longitude: -97.696933
 
 
 


EDUCATION IN ROUND ROCK

By Karen Thompson

 

From the beginning, SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION have been a major concern in ROUND ROCK. Jacob H Harrell, the first blacksmith in Austin, moved his shop and home to the north bank of Brushy Creek in the spring of 1888, becoming one of the first settlers at Round Rock. The Harrell home stood in a grove of trees near Brushy Creek. In the summer of 1848, a log cabin school, believed the first in Williamson County, was built at Moss's Spring, located on Lake Creek. (About two miles southwest of here.) Soon after another log cabin school was built north of Brushy Creek near Round Rock by Samuel L. Makemson and Dr. D. F. Knight, with George N. Taymon serving as teacher. Jacob Harrell employed a Mr. Allen, probably Hudson Allen, (Williamson County 1850 Census) as teacher. The first students were Henry Bretton, V. M. Harrell, Azalee Harrell, and several of the Moss children. The early log schools had dirt floors, no windows, and were not yet state supported. Families in the area were ambitious for their children to be educated and provided facilities, a teacher, and administered school affairs. Teachers were expected to be strict disciplinarians. Students sat on log benches, studied the "three R's" and learned to write with goose quills, carefully sharpened and frequently mended. Common School laws enacted by the State in 1854 and 1856 had little local effect because only sixty-two cents per student for an entire year was made available. On March 20, 1854 Williamson County named fourteen school districts and the name of Round Rock district was James Boyce. [1]

 

The first public school opened on September 1, 1878. [2] One of the early educational endeavors in Round Rock was the Greenwood Masonic Institute, opened in 1867, and located in the Masonic Hall in "old town" Round Rock. In 1881 operation of the school was transferred to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and became the Round Rock Institute (also called the Round Rock College). [3]  The school burned in 1883 and a new building was built "with the aid of the town of New Round Rock”. [4] In 1887 the Cumberland Church transferred its interest to the Southern Presbyterian Church. [5] "In 1883 Round Rock was famous for its educational facilities. Many of the students were 25 or 30 years of age and some wore full beards." When the college closed, the building was turned back to the people of the town who had furnished the money for the building. May 28, 1888 the State of Texas and local school officials took complete responsibility of the college as Southern Presbyterian Church turned the school back to the town. [6]

 

The Round Rock Institute Catalogue in 1899 states Round Rock has had for a number of years a High School that ranked second to none in this section of the state, giving their children a liberal education at home without the expense of sending elsewhere for it. [7]

 

The first graduating class of the Round Rock Public High School in 1894 were Elmer Rowe, Lura Halley, Blanche less, May Hope, John Hall, Grace Crutcher, Joe Walker, Hilda Engstrand, Sam Kemp, Jeff Palm, Hallie Holloway, Susie McDonald, and Henry Palm. Also pictured is Prof. Hale.

 

The Trinity Lutheran College operated from 1904 to 1929. [8]

 

The old Round Rock Institute building burned in 1913. [9] A beautiful new three story Round Rock School was built in 1914 and born down in 1959. About 1940 an additional building was built east of the three story school. Round Rock Elementary School, presently known was Claude Berkman Elem. School was built in 1959. Trustees in 1959 were: L. 0. Ramsey, President; Moody Mayfield, Vice-president; Neysa Callison, Secretary, 0. T. Bergstrom, Emmett Prinz, Iva Robertson and Ray Woytek. Noel Grisham was Superintendent of schools. A Round Rock Junior High was built in 1961 and the trustees were: Moody Hayfield, President; Ray Woytek, Vice-President; Mrs. Keysa Callison, Secretary, 0. T. Bergstrom, Joe Henna, Emmitt Prinz, Iva Poe Robertson. Noel Grisham was Superintendent. In 1964 the   h School addition was built. Trustees were: Moody Mayfield, President; Ray Woytek, Vice President, E. 0. Beck Secretary, Joe Henna, Dr. Werner Riesling, Marvin Olson, and Conrad Zimmerman. Noel Grisham was Superintendent. In 1969 Pond Springs School District consolidated with RRISD and in 1971 a new Pond Springs School was addict onto the old building. Trustees in 1971 were: Vic Robertson Jr. Pres., Mervin Olson Vice-President, Isaac Lopez Jr. Secretary, Bertil (Buck) Telander, 'E. 0. Beck, Bill Cotton, Joan Baker. Noel Grisham, Superintendent. The Round Rock High School was built in 1972.

 

In 1974 Spicewood Elem. School was built. Trustees were: Vic Robertson President, 0.• Beck Vice-President, Isagc Lopez Secretary, Ray Sanders, Bill Cotton, James Carothers, and Joan Baker.

 

In 1975 Xenia Voigt Elem. school was built. Trustees were: Vic Robertson President, Eugene 0. Beck Vice-President, Isasc Lopez Jr. Secretary, Bill Cotton, James Carothers, Joan Baker, Ray Sanders, Lynda Abernathy, Dr. S. Wade McLeod, and Noel Grisham Superintendent.

1976 was the date Noel Grisham Middle School was built. Trustees were:

Vic Robertson Jr. President, Eugene Beck Vice-President, Isaac Lopez Jr. Secretary, Bill Cotton, James Carothers, Joan Baker, Ray Sanders, Lynda Abernathy, Dr. Wade

 

In 1977 Anderson Mill Elem., Deep Wood Elem, and Forest North Elem. schools were built. Trustees were: Vic Robertson Jr. Pres., Isa c Lopez Jr., Vice-President, Lynda Abernathy Secretary, Karl Harmer,  Wade McLeod, John Reynolds, Barbara Tee:, and E. O. Beck 1976 and Bill Cotton 1976. Superintendent was Noel Grisham.

 

In 1978 North Oaks Elem. 7s built. Trustee were: Vic Robertson Jr. President, Isac Lopez Jr. Vice-President, Lynda Abernathy Secretary Karl Hanner, John Reynolds, Sheridan Wingrove, Barbara Tew, and Dr.       Wade McLeod. Superintendent was Noel Grisham.

 

In 1979 Vic Robertson Elem. School was built. Trustees were: Vic Robertson Jr. President (1967-1979), Isaac Lopez, Lynda Abernathy, Barbara Tew, Karl Hanner, John Reynolds, Sheridan Wingrove, Jim Robinson, Dr. Rodney Lloyd. Superintendents Noel Grisham 1957-79, Dr. Norman Hall 1979-present.

 

In 1981 four new schools will open; Westwood High School, Chisholm Trail Middle School, Brushy Creek Elem. and Purple Sage Elem.

 

On the 17th of May, 1913 an election was held in Round Rock for incorporating Common School District # 19, Williamson County, Texas into a Independent School District. The vote resulted in the Round Rock Independent School District being formed by a vote of 55 "for" and 2 “no".

 

The Round Rock Independent School District Board of Trustees meet on May 20, 1913 and elected the following officers: A. K. Anderson, President; Secretary E. M. Black, Secretary; W. A. Gantt, W. G. Weber, and J. A. Nelson were appointed to consult architect about having a school building plan draw up. Other board members present were J. N. Wright, W. G. Weber, G. W. Johns, S. L. Landrum and W. A. Gantt.

 

In the same elections seven men were elected to the position of trustee and they were, A. K. Anderson, E. M. Black, W. A. Gantt, G. W. Johns, S. L. Landrum, Dr. W. G. Weber, and J. N. Wright.

 

At the regular meeting of the board on May 30, 1913 a motion passed to raise the school grade from 10 to 11. Professor M. G. York was re-elected Superintendent.

 

The Round Rock PTA was founded in January 1918. Early Presidents were: Mrs. 0. M. Bloom 1918-21; Mrs. Jack Jordon 1921-22; Mrs. S. B. Bergstrom 1922-23; Mrs. W. J. Walsh 1923-24; Mrs. L. W. Ross 1924-25; Mrs. WC A. Gantt 1925-26; Mrs. J. T. Hutto 1926-32; Mrs. L. WC Ross 1932-36; Mrs. J. Lambert 1936-38; Mrs. J. W. Ledbetter 1938-39; Mrs. H. N. Grimm 1939-40 Mrs. Eugene Quick 1940-43; Mrs. T. G. Wray 1943-45; Mrs. H. J. Adair 1945-46; Mrs. Leon Behrens 19464448; Mrs. Fred Coffey 1948-50.

 

In 1938 the Trustees were: Rev. Theo Kreinke, President; G. R. Lundelius, D. B. Gregg, Hamer Johnson, G. B. Peterson, A. H. Kaufman, W. J. Walsh, and Dick Mayfield.

 

Student growth has been very rapid since 1950. Enrollment has been: 1950- 654 pupils, 1960 - 1,052; 1970 - 1,817; and 1981 10,000.

 

Footnotes PDF

Additional Research and Updates by Myreta Matthews PDF

 

 
 
 
 

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