Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

  Harrell Cemetery
Historical Marker
Round Rock, Texas


Historical Marker is on IH-35 frontage road (northbound) in Round Rock, Texas at Bowman Rd. It's slightly east of the highway, behind a restaurant. The Harrell Cemetery is in a fenced area, behind the marker. There are several markers here, but they're difficult to read

 
  Marker Text:
Jacob M. and Mary McCutcheon Harrell came to Texas from Tennessee with Robertson's Nashville colony in 1833. Jacob's brother and sister-in-law James G. and Catherine Harrell and other family members soon followed. Both brothers served in the Texas Army. In 1838 the Harrell families were among the first to settle in the area later called Waterloo (Austin); Jacob Harrell sold his homestead to state agents for the site of the State Capitol. The Harrells owned two Austin businesses and served the city in several civic and political capacities. Jacob was elected mayor of Austin in 1847. He and his family moved to his headright around this site in 1848. The Harrells were among the first to serve in the new Williamson County government after its formation. In addition to two marked graves believed to be those of James G. and Catherine Harrell, several other family members and one of Jacob and Mary's slaves are believed to have been interred on this site.


 
 

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Latitude: 30.524691, - Longitude: -97.688327


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Harrell Cemetery
Historical Narrative Compiled by: Billy A. Harrell

The Harrell Cemetery is located in Round Rock on Bowman Road where it intersects with the IH 35 frontage road . It lies adjacent to what is now the Sirloin Stockade Restaurant. The cemetery is on land owned by the restaurant and they are making an effort to cooperate with the Harrell family to maintain the cemetery. [1] The cemetery covers about one-fourth acre and is surrounded by a chain link fence. It was named for pioneer settlers of the area, Jacob M. and James G. Harrell. [2]

Although the cemetery i s very small and contains only eight to twelve graves, it is historically significant and located on the original land grant of 25,000,000 square varas (4,428 acres) of Jacob M. Harrell who was important in the early development of Austin and later Williamson County. His brother James also made some significant contributions to Williamson County. This is possibly the only portion of the original land grant of Jacob Harrell that is identified today with the name Harrell.

There are two graves that are identified by stone markers. They are James G. Harrell, born June 27, 1805, died August 12, 1888, and Kizziah (Catherine) Harrell born November 25, 1808, and died August 5, 1877. [3]

Some Harrell family members believe the following persons are also buried in this Cemetery: John Harrell, Jr. (1849-1850), Richmond Hill(son of Jacob), (1838-prior to 1853), Mary H. Harrell (slave of Jacob M. Harrell), Jacob M. Harrell (1804-1853), and his wife Mary McCutcheon Harrell (1802-1865). These burials are not documented, and no legible stones are visible in the cemetery. [4]

According to the Round Rock Historian, C. D. Fulkes, "the Harrell family was important in Round Rock at one time." He remembers playing in the cemetery as a child in the time around 1914. Fulkes says at least a dozen members of the Harrell family are buried at the old cemetery in north Round Rock. An old oak tree Fulkes recalls from his childhood still stands in the center of the cemetery, dominating the scene. [5]

Jacob Harrell reportedly purchased a plot at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin but records do not show any burials at that location. There is a Jacob Harrell buried in the State Cemetery. [6] He was accorded a burial there as the result of being a Confederate Veteran. [7]

Jacob Harrell's family reportedly came to this country from Belfast, Ireland about the year 1791. [8] Jacob Mangrin Harrell (1804-1853) and his wife Mary McCutcheon Harrell (1802-1865). immigrated to Texas from Nashville, Tennessee in October 1833 with their two sons, Anderson James (1822-1874) and John Jacob (1824-1904). Jacob's brother, James G. (1806-1888) and his wife, Catherine (1808-1877) moved to the area later Joab B. Harrell and family were in the group but it is not known what his relationship to Jacob and James was. [9]

When Jacob and his family first came to Texas in 1833 they were evidently members of Robertson's Colony. Robertson's Colony was sometimes called the Nashville Colony and Jacob's family was living in Nashville on the Brazos in September, 1835 and through the winter of 1835-36. [10] Jacob Harrell applied for a land grant in Robertson's Colony in 1838 but it is unknown whether or not he received a grant. [11] This, of course, could be the land grant that he received in Williamson County since Robertson's Colony was located in Milam County. Williamson County was not organized until 1848 and was once a part of Milam County.

The first habitation of the white man in an area that would eventually become Williamson County was a small military post nine miles west of Round Rock on the headwaters of Brushy Creek. A company of "Texas Rangers" built a small "block House" fort near a spring and large oak tree. The Rangers cut steps into another large oak tree to climb and use for a lookout post. [12] McLean reports in his book that Jacob Harrell was a member of the surveying crew that surveyed the site for Tumlinsons Fort Block House. [13] The fort had been named for Captain James Tumlinson, the Ranger Captain whose company of sixty mounted men were charged with the protection of the Colorado River settlements. Most of the land on which the fort was built has been developed into a housing subdivision. [14]

In the fall of 1836, the Harrells left Nashville on the Brazos and traveled the old San Antonio road from Tenoxtitlan to Bastrop, reaching the Colorado to settle at Hornsby Bend. [15]

Barkley tells of the experience of Sarah Hibbins in January, 1836, who was captured by the Indians and escaped from them and their camp near Austin by wading down Shoal Creek to the river, and to the home of Jacob Harrell, who helped her to Hornsby's where Tumlinson's rangers took up the chase and recovered her child. [16] (This date seems to conflict with the Harrell family arriving in Austin)

In 1837, Jacob's family were the first white settlers in the area which would later be named Waterloo by General Edward Burleson. The Harrells lived in a tent until a cabin and stockade were erected in the area where Shoal Creek flows into the Colorado River. [17]

A Historical Marker was erected near the location of Harrell's original cabin by the Austin Kiwanis Club in 1953. The marker reads as follows:

Home of Jacob M. Harrell. Jacob M. Harrell, who served as host to General Mirabeau B. Lamar on a deer hunt in the winter of 1837-38. Was the first white settler at the present site of Austin. The small community which developed at the ford between the present Congress Avenue bridge and Shoal Creek was called Waterloo until 1839, when it was renamed Austin and became Capitol of the Republic of Texas.
( This marker was stolen many years ago from its location and never replaced) [18]

Jacob Harrell, with the help of his brother James, enlarged their business interests to include a livery stable and a butcher pen which Jacob operated with Francis Dietrich on Waller Creek. This slaughter pen was located near the location where 12th Street crosses Waller Creek. The Harrells also ran a blacksmith shop in the area. They were both ambitious, but James preferred hard work to politics and left the spotlight to his older brother, Jacob. [19] In March, 1844 Jacob Harrell was a commissioner to sell shares in the Colorado Navigation Company. [20]

During the winter of 1837-38, General Lamar with his party in search of buffalo saw the cabin of Jacob Harrell and decided to spend the night and resume his hunt the next day. [21]

Early the next morning Harrell's son awakened the general and his party informing them that there was a buffalo herd in the prairie nearby. Lamar killed many buffalo. The general again stayed at Harrell's cabin that night. Lamar liked Austin so much that he resolved to have the capital located there. [22]

Lamar later sent commissioners to locate the capital. On the very night the commissioners visited Austin, a Mrs. Coleman and her son were killed by Indians near Hornsby's prairie. The site selected for the capital extended above and below Montopolis so as to include Harrell's cabin. Lamar's admiration of the grounds near Harrell's cabin had much to do with the report of the commissioners. [23]

On March 7, 1839, the commissioners purchased 7,735 acres of land for approximately $21,000 from Logan Vandever, James Rodgers, G. D. Hancock, Jacob Harrell, and Aaron Burleson. The name of the community was changed to Austin in honor of Stephen F. Austin. [24]

Jacob's surveying skills were used by the city planners when he was called upon to plat the road from Bastrop County to the capitol. He was also responsible for planning the road to San Marcos and was appointed to oversee the streets of Austin. [25]

Barkley reports that even in the era of statehood, transportation was still a problem; on January 6, 1846, J. M. Harrell was appointed overseer of all streets in the city of Austin, since the "corporate authorities of the City of Austin have ceased to exercise their duties and have failed to work on or repair the streets of the city." [26]

Jacob also made many other important contributions to the City of Austin and Travis County. In 1840, a public meeting was held at the capitol for the temporary military organization of the citizens for better protection of the town at night. A vigilance committee of Jacob Harrell, J. M. Fessendon, Thomas Ward, Alexander Russell, Charles Mason, Moses Johnson and J. P. Borden was unanimously elected. This meeting was addressed by Dr. Branch T. Archer, Judge Burnet, Judge Webb and Dr. Moses Johnson. [27]

On Friday evening, November 19, 1841, the friends of General Sam Houston held a meeting in the Hall of the House of Representatives to make suitable arrangements for his arrival to the seat of government. Jacob Harrell was on this committee. [28]

In 1842, when the "Archives War" occurred, many people left Austin. However, Jacob Harrell and his family remained and participated in the archive war. [29] In June of 1843, a convention was called at La Grange to express dissatisfaction with the republic's policy in the west and Jacob Harrell represented Austin at this meeting. [30]

Jacob held other political offices in Austin and Travis County. They included: Grand Jury, 1840; alderman in 1840; County Commissioner in 1845-46 and Mayor of Austin in 1847. He is listed as being Mayor in one source in 1848 and 1849, also. [31] I f this is true, it seems like he must have have resigned when he moved to Round Rock in 1848. The first voting box in Austin was located in Jacob's home. [32]

Jacob is first reported to have first visited the Round Rock area in the spring of the 1830's, looking for suitable land to grow corn. Corn was very important to the early settlers and all of the corn stalk were used by the pioneers. Jacob had a bumper crop the following season. [33]

The hand-operated corn grinder was very hard and tiresome to use, and historian Noah Smithwick in his book The Evolution of a State or Recollections of Old Texas Days Says.

"Captain Jake (Jacob) Harrell said that after a man had hauled water and ground his bread on a steel mill or beat it in a mortar for year he was unfitted for any business requiring energy and perseverance. I got so that I knew to a grain how much corn it would take for a meal, and I couldn't turn another lick till driven to it by the necessity of bread for the next meal." [34]

Smithwick mentions another time when Rueben Hornsby and Jacob Harrell were out on the prairie together, and seeing a band of buffalo, concluded to replenish their stock of meat. They shot a buffalo, which, not being immediately disabled, made toward them. There was a small mesquite tree near, the only tree around there. Hornsby was quite agile in spite of his years and 180 pounds weight.

"Climb, Harrell, climb!" he shouted. Jake was busy loading his gun. Just before the wounded animal reached them it fell, and Jake gave it another shot before it could rise.

"How did you expect me to climb, Hornsby, when the only tree near was bending with you?" "0, by guinie, that was your own lookout," Hornsby replied. The saying became proverbial. [35]

Jacob's business in Austin prospered, but the land to the north kept calling him. He was an avid fisherman and he wanted to move his home to a site that would accommodate his hobby. In 1848, he moved to his headright league of land in the vicinity of where the town of Round Rock would later be established. Both Jacob and James were awarded the rank of captain for their early service in the Texas Army. [36]

Two additional children, Richmond Hill (1838-died as a boy) and Emma (b. 1843) were born to Jacob and Mary while they lived in Austin. Richmond Hill, the youngest son, was in iII health and died prior to 1853. He i s thought to be buried on the northeast side of the Harrell Cemetery in Round Rock between his nephew John Jr. (1849-1853), son of John J. and Elizabeth, and a black slave belonging to Jacob buried on the other side. Emma married John B. Napier on February 24, 1858. Napier operated a business in Round Rock and later moved his family to Austin. [37]

One of the great loves of Jacob was to spend a day fishing. He and T. C. Oatts spent many hours along the banks of Brushy Creek. They were credited with naming the town of Round Rock after a big round rock near their favorite fishing spot. [38]

James G. Harrell was believed to have built the first school near Moss Spring between Round Rock and McNeil. His children were among the first students to attend the school and his brother Jacob's cabin was located on the north side of Brushy Creek several miles away. Also, Jacob has been credited with assisting to build the second school with Dr. D. F. Knight on the north side of the creek near Jacob's cabin. It seems unlikely that Jacob would build two schools in the area in less than a year and not have changed residences. [39]

In 1848 the three Harrells (Jacob, James G., and Joab) signed the petition to create a new county out of the large Milam District. Originally called "Clearwater," the new county was named Williamson in honor of Major Robert McAlpin Williamson. [40]

The Harrells were some of the first citizens to serve in the new county government. Jacob was elected as one of the first five County Commissioners. James G. was appointed one of the first grand jurors, and Joab B. was elected the second Williamson County Sherriff. [41] In 1874, James G. was one of the signers of a petition for a Stock Law in Williamson County.42

Anderson J. Harrell, Jacobs oldest son, was born in Tennessee in 1823. He served in Hay's Texas Rangers and was wounded in the fight on Hondo River. He was with Mark Lewis in the Archive Wars. Harrell was County Clerk of Travis County in 1845, Chief Justice in 1846, and later he was a clerk in the General Land Office. Harrell married Darthulia Mills prior to 1847 when they were listed as members of the Baptist Church in Austin.43 They were also listed on the Williamson County Census for 1850. [45]

Anderson Harrell was also in the cattle business and this venture led to his early demise in 1874. When returning from successful cattle drive, he was murdered. His attackers robbed him and he was found drowned in the Colorado River. [45] The Ladies' Aid and Missionary Society of the First Baptist Church was organized at the home of Mrs. Anderson Harrell about 1875. [46]

Jenkins in his Recollections of Early Texas, tells about two young men by the name of Coleman and Bell who were riding in a buggy just below Waller Creek, and suddenly found themselves surrounded by a band of Indians. The horse became frightened and upset the buggy, and the Indians killed Bell and captured Coleman. Several men among them Joe Hornsby were just starting out of Austin for home when they came upon the Indians driving young Coleman along, who was almost naked, and bleeding from a lance wound in the back. They immediately made a dash and rescued him at the same time giving the Indians a considerable chase. Several shots were exchanged, but nobody else was hurt.

Hornsby was riding a horse that had been loaned to him by Anderson Harrell. The horse had been shot by the Indians through the nose just below the eyes and died from the wound. At dark the chase ended; the little squad of men returned and found two horse saddled and tied, which they carried with them into Austin. Their owners were never discovered, so they were both given to Anderson Harrell to somewhat pay him for the loss of his fine animal. This happened in 1843. [47]

John Harrell, Jacob's other son was born on December 6, 1824. He traveled to the California gold fields in "49" to seek his fortune with four other men. The party was led to the coast through old Mexico by a Tonkawa Indian. John did not remain in California very long as he was back in Williamson County during the summer when the 1850 Census was recorded. John and his wife, Elizabeth J. Robey, lived in Round Rock for several years.

John made a second trip to California in 1853. He returned to Round Rock later the same year after the death of his father and son, John, Jr. During his early years, John was somewhat of an adventurer, but he adopted the life of a recluse after the birth of his second son, William Jacob in 1854. The family lived in Round Rock several years before moving to John's headright league on Cypress Creek in Travis County. [48]

When John left for California in "49," he left with $8.35 in his britches. When he came home again, he had $8.35 and a gold nugget as big as a blackeyed pea. John built the Long Hollow School near Cypress Creek and i t cost 5 cents a square foot for the lumber, hauled a II the way from Bastrop. [49]

John Harrell died on October 17, 1904 at his home place on Cypress Creek seventy one years after he first came to Texas. His obituary in the Austin paper mentions that he was a veteran of the Mexican War and was an active participant in the "Archives War.'

The obituary mentions that John's "creed was honesty and right living now, and God and heaven thereafter."

"He was surrounded in his home with many of the leading newspapers of the country and was always proud of the progress and real advancement of mankind, but condemned its sorrows, believing as he did that all sorrow came from improper living and disrespect of the laws of god." [50]

Jacob Harrell's will is dated August 22, 1853 and he reportedly died on August 23rd and is buried, according to family members, in the Harrell Cemetery in Round Rock. It is obvious that his will was written by someone else and signed by him. The will is on file in the County Courthouse in Georgetown. James G. is buried beside him in the same Cemetery. He died in 1888. [51]


Compiled by: Billy A. Harrell


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