Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

Texas Independence Trail Region

Map of Bastrop County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Bastrop County | Bastrop County Courthouse | Early Bastrop County Fort, Site of | Bastrop County Historical Museum | Felipe Enrique Neri Baron de Bastrop | Baron de Bastrop Monument | Early History of the City of Bastrop | Captain James Burleson | Jonathan Burleson | John Socrates Darling | Nicholas W. Eastland | Gotier Trace | McDade | McDade Historical Museum | Rock Front Saloon | Rockne Museum | Stephen Scallorn | Smithville | Smithville Heritage Society Museum | Smithville Railroad Historical Park and Museum | Samuel Wolfenberger
Uncommemorated Sites (click on a topic to jump to that section).
Amos R. Alexander | Colorado Depredations-Story Two | Conrad Rohrer | Fort Wilbarger | Harris, Blakely and Another | John Edwards | Joseph and Braman Reed | Matthew Duty | Menefee and Marlin | Thomas Thompson

Bastrop County

Marker Title: Bastrop County
Address: SH 21 and Loop 150, on island between the two roads
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Intersection of Loop 150 and SH 21 - island between the two roads, near entrance to Bastrop State Park, Bastrop
Marker Text: A part of Austin's grant in 1821; created the municipality of Mina, 1834; became the County of Mina in the Republic of Texas, 1836. Name changed to "Bastrop," December 18, 1837, in honor of Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, 1770-1829, land commissioner of Austin's Colony. Member of the Congress of Coahuila and Texas. Bastrop, the County Seat

Bastrop County Courthouse

Marker Title: Bastrop County Courthouse
Address: Courthouse square, Pecan St. side
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1964
Marker Location: Courthouse Square, Pine/Walnut/Pecan/Water streets, Bastrop
Marker Text: Bastrop County Courthouse - 1883

Early Bastrop County Fort, Site of

Marker Title: Early Bastrop County Fort, Site of
Address: 8 mi. E on US 71 in roadside park
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1984
Marker Location: 8 miles east of Bastrop on US 71 in roadside park
Marker Text: In the late 1820s a group of families settled in this area as a part of Stephen F. Austin's second colony. Included in this group were the Winslow Turner, Stephan Cottle, and Ahijah M. Highsmith families, who came to Texas from Lincoln County, Missouri. They were later joined by other families, including the Whites, Crafts, Grimeses, Ridgeways, and Parkers. For defense purposes, they built a log fort at the juncture of the Colorado River and Alum Creek (south of this site) and placed their cabins near the fort. During the 1830s, settlers established churches, schools, and communities around the fort and in neighboring areas on land given to them in return for their colonization efforts. Alum Creek, Craft's Prairie, Yeupon, Cottletown, Antioch, and Mount Pleasant were some of the names given to these settlements. A post office was established, and a number of early sawmills in Bastrop County were located near the fort site. It is not certain when the fort was razed. Though no physical evidence remains, the site is important as a reminder of early Bastrop County settlement and of the harshness of life during the early years of colonization in Texas. (1984)

Bastrop County Historical Museum

Museum Name: Bastrop County Historical Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 279
City: Bastrop
Zip Code: 78602
Street Address: 702 Main Street
Area Code: 512
Phone: 321-6177
County: Bastrop

Felipe Enrique Neri Baron de Bastrop

Marker Title: Felipe Enrique Neri Baron de Bastrop
Address: Bastrop State Park in front of refectory, 2 mi. E on Loop 150
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Bastrop State Park - Park Rd. 1A in front of Refectory, 2 mi. east of Bastrop on Loop 150.
Marker Text: (1770-1829) Erected in recognition of the distinguished service to Texas Pioneer Red River empresario. Land commissioner of Austin's colony. Member of the Congress of Coahuila and Texas. In his honor this county and county seat have been named.

Baron de Bastrop Monument

Marker Title: Baron de Bastrop Monument
Address: Courthouse Grounds
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Courthouse grounds, Bastrop
Marker Text: Erected in recognition of the distinguished service to Texas of Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop, 1770-1829. Pioneer Red River empresario, land commissioner of Austin's colony, member of the Congress of Coahuila and Texas. Through his aid, Moses Austin secured from the Spanish government in 1821, the first contract for the Anglo-American colonization of Texas. In his honor, the name of this town and that of this county, a part of Austin's 1821 grant, known as the municipality of Mina in 1834 and the County of Mina after March 17, 1836, was changed on December 18, 1837 to Bastrop. Let this name bring to mind the friend and advocate of the pioneer in a foreign land.

Early History of the City of Bastrop

Marker Title: Early History of the City of Bastrop
Address: Loop 150 and SH 21, entrance to Bastrop State Park
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: Loop 150 and SH 21, entrance to Bastrop State Park.
Marker Text: Long before white men arrived, this region was inhabited by Tonkawa and Comanche Indians. In 1691 the first Spanish explorers crossed this territory en route to east Texas. From their route, parts of "El Camino Real" (the King's Highway) were blazed, thus placing Bastrop on a major early travel artery. Because El Camino Real crossed the Colorado River here, this was a strategic spot. In 1805 the Fort "Puesta del Colorado" and accompanying community were founded here to protect commerce on the road. In 1825 this area became "Mina," one of the first settlements in the colony of Stephen F. Austin. It was named for revolutionary leader Xavier Mina. In the years that followed, many members of its first 100 families served in the Texas Revolution (1836), the Mexican War (1846-1848), and were active in political life in the Republic and State of Texas. In 1837 when the town incorporated, the name was changed to "Bastrop" to honor the Baron de Bastrop, influential early land agent and statesman. The city was also designated county seat in 1837. (1968) From 1851-1870, this was seat of Bastrop Military Academy, an important Texas school. First courthouse was built in 1853; present one in 1883 on the same spot. (1968)

Bastrop Indian Attack

May 14th, 1836, a band of ten to fifteen Comanches carrying a white flag approached men working in the Hornsby's field. John Williams and Howell Haggard were speared and shot down. The other men took cover and the Indians eventually decided against another attack and departed with a hundred head of cattle from the neighborhood.

Ranger Van R. Palmer reported to Lamar that on Saturday night in November 17, 1838, two citizens, Weaver and Hart, were killed in an Indian attack.

Captain James Burleson

Marker Title: Captain James Burleson
Address: Courthouse Square, 804 Pecan
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 804 Pecan in front of County Commissioners Court
Marker Text: Chosen commissary by General Andrew Jackson, War of 1812. Edward Burleson, his son, accompanied him as bookkeeper. Participated in the Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815. Served under his son, Edward, Army of Texas in the Grass Fight, 1835. Born May 4, 1758; died January 3, 1836.

Jonathan Burleson

Marker Title: Jonathan Burleson
Address: Blakey Family Cemetery, 2.5 mi. W off SH 171
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: 2.5 miles west of Bastrop off SH 71, in the Blakey Family Cemetery.
Marker Text: Star and Wreath Soldier in the Texas War for Independence at Velasco, Gonzales, Bexar, San Jacinto.

John Socrates Darling

Marker Title: John Socrates Darling
Address: 4 mi. S on FM 304, 6.1 mi. SE on CR 292, 1.4 mi. to CR 297, approx. .2 mi. to cemetery.
City: Rosanky
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: From Rosanky FM 304 approx. 4 mi. south, CR 292, southeast for 6.1 mi. to FM 713, east for 1.4 mi. to CR 297, approx. .2 mi. to cemetery
Marker Text: Born April 24, 1806; came to Texas in 1835. A soldier in the Texas War for Independence before and during the Siege of Bexar, 1835, and participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, 1836. Died April 6, 1870. His wife, Louranie Darling, born June 10, 1810; died June 8, 1870. Erected by the State of Texas 1962.

Nicholas W. Eastland

Marker Title: Nicholas W. Eastland
Address: Eastland Cemetery, 3 mi. E off FM 535, 0.5 mi. N on Waterson Rd. - 1st gravel road to right to end of road approx. 2.5 mi.
City: Rockne
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1957
Marker Location: 4 mi. from Rockne on FM 535, Waterson Rd. - 1st gravel road to right to end of road approx. 2.5 mi.
Marker Text: Star and Wreath Born 1804; came to Texas in 1834. A volunteer soldier in Captain Horton's company, in Colonel Fannin's command, in the spring of 1836. He escaped capture in the Battle of Coleto. Died 1891. Erected by the State of Texas 1957.

Gotier Trace

Marker Title: The Gotier Trace
Address: Entrance to Bastrop State Park, SH 21 at Loop 150
City: Bastrop
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1967
Marker Location: Entrance to Bastrop State Park, Loop 150 & SH 21
Marker Text: Originated in 1820s. Crossed the present counties of Austin, Washington, Fayette, Lee, Bastrop; joined San Felipe, capital of Stephen F. Austin's colony, with Bastrop. Marked by James Gotier, a settler who (with several in his family) died in an Indian massacre near this trace in 1837. Like most early Texas roads, this was only a marked route which travelers could follow-- dusty in droughts, boggy in rains. From such traces, wagon roads and cattle trails, Texas has developed over 67,000 miles of fine paved highways-- a system recognized as nation's finest. (1967)


Picture of McDade Historical Marker

Marker Title: McDade
Address: US 290 and Loop 223
City: McDade
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1968
Marker Location: US 290 and Loop 223, McDade
Marker Text: Laid out 1871; named for Jas. McDade, Brenham lawyer. Became a thriving town, important freight center and early-day stage stop. School-church was built 1872; vigilantes (organized 1883) lynched three men on Christmas Eve, causing a shoot-out next day at the Rock Saloon (now a museum). (1968) Incise in base: McDade was settled in 1869. McDade Web Site

McDade Historical Museum

Museum Name: McDade Historical Museum
Mailing Address: Main Street
City: McDade
Zip Code: 78650
Street Address: Main Street
County: Bastrop

Rock Front Saloon

Marker Title: Rock Front Saloon, 1870
Address: Main Street and Loop 223
City: McDade
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1963
Marker Location: In McDade, intersection of Loop 323 and US 290 on Main St. - in McDade Historical Museum.
Marker Text: Stagecoach stand, U. S. Post Office, early business house. Scene of revenge gunfight, 1883. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1963

Rockne Museum

Museum Name: Rockne Museum
Mailing Address: RR 1 Box 120 A
City: Bastrop
Zip Code: 78602
Street Address: FM 535 1/4 mi SE of intersect FM 20
Area Code: 512
Phone: 303-3179
County: Bastrop

Stephen Scallorn

Marker Title: Stephen Scallorn
Address: 7 mi. W on FM 2571 right-of-way
City: Smithville
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1981
Marker Location: 7 mi. west of Smithville on FM 2571 right-of-way near Upton
Marker Text: Maryland native Stephen Scallorn (1787-1887) lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, where he practiced medicine and was active in the Primitive Baptist Church, before moving to Texas. He was attracted to the Republic by the favorable accounts of his oldest son John Wesley Scallorn, who had served with the Texas Army at the Battle of San Jacinto. Stephen Scallorn and his brother William came to Texas with their families in 1837-38 and settled in the vicinity of Plum Creek in Fayette County. There they were instrumental in the formation of the Hopewell Baptist church, an important early church in Texas. Later divided by doctrinal disagreements, the brothers helped form separate fellowships. Two of Scallorn's sons, John Wesley and Elam, died in defense of the Republic. Members of Capt. Nicholas Dawson's outfit, they were attacked by Mexican forces near San Antonio in 1842 and killed. Scallorn remained active in church organization and helped establish an Upton congregation at the age of 98. Twice married and the father of 14 children, he lived in Bastrop County with his son Francis. Stephen Scallorn died at the age of 100 and was buried in the nearby Scallorn Family Cemetery. (1981)


Marker Title: Smithville
Address: 316 Main St.
City: Smithville
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1979
Marker Location: 316 Main St. (in front of City Hall), Smithville
Marker Text: In 1691 missionaries on the expedition of Don Domingo Teran de Los Rios sighted a lagoon which the Indians called Nenocadda. The lagoon, known today as Shipp's Lake, is on the southern edge of present Smithville. Frederick W. Grasmeyer operated a ferry here on the Colorado River in 1836. Steamboats plied the river from 1845 to about 1865. The village of "Old Smithville" was laid out on 640 acres of land granted to Thomas J. Gazley and Lewis Lomas. The town was located along the Colorado River in the northeast section of present Smithville. There were mercantile stores, dry good shops, and a Masonic lodge. In 1876 the first post office was established with John Pride Jones as postmaster. The Taylor, Bastrop & Houston Railroad, later a part of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas system, arrived in 1887, and the town relocated along the tracks. The legend is that a coin was tossed to decide if the name would be changed to Burlesonville for Murray Burleson, who gave land for the railroad depot. The coin toss resulted in "Smithville" being retained as the name, apparently in honor of pioneer settler William Smith. The town was incorporated in 1895 and T. C. Collins served as the first mayor. (1979) Incise in base: Marker Sponsor: Smithville Chamber of Commerce 1977-78

Smithville Heritage Society Museum

Museum Name: Smithville Heritage Society Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 332
City: Smithville
Zip Code: 78957
Street Address: 602 Main
Area Code: 512
Phone: 237-4545
County: Bastrop

Smithville Railroad Historical Park and Museum

Museum Name: Smithville Railroad Historical Park and Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 449
City: Smithville
Zip Code: 78957
Street Address: 1st and Main
County: Bastrop

Samuel Wolfenberger

Marker Title: Samuel Wolfenberger
Address: 2 mi. SW on FM 20
City: Rockne
County: Bastrop
Year Marker Erected: 1972
Marker Location: 2 mi. southwest of Rockne on FM 20
Marker Text: (1804 - 1860) Early land grantee in this area. Of Dutch descent, he was born in Virginia. Came to Texas (then part of Mexico) in 1831 as a colonist of Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas." Received a Spanish league of land (4,444 acres) here. Active in Texas Revolution, he took part in storming of Bexar in 1835; served with Robert Coleman's Rangers in 1836. Lived in Bastrop many years, joining effort to promote town as capital of the Republic in 1839. Was collector same year; alderman 1845-47. Married Caroline Fliesart; had 7 children. Grave located 1 mi. E. (1972)

Amos R. Alexander

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

From the Falls of the Brazos, the townspeople selected Samuel McFall to run ahead and warn the Bastrop citizens. Bastrop was the uppermost white settlement of any size on the Colorado River in 1835. The local residents had been forced to band together to protect themselves from neighboring Waco, Tawakoni, Kichai, and Comanche raids. Consequently, a strong log stockade or fort was erected in the center of the little town. In the event of a serious Indian attack, the townspeople could take shelter inside.

McFall, a lean and quick man of six feet, three inches, ran the distance on foot and is fabled to have been a faster runner than most saddle horses of the time. Before he could arrive, a party of eight Indians made a vicious attack on June 1. On the road from San Felipe to Bastrop, they attacked the wagon of Amos R. Alexander near Cummins Creek.

Alexander, a Pennsylvania native, had brought his wife and two sons to Texas in the spring of 1833. They settled in Bastrop and eventually opened a store and hotel. In April 1835 Amos and son Amos Jr. went to the coast to get a supply of goods they had ordered. They hired two other men to serve as teamsters to haul their goods. The Alexanders were attacked by Indians on June 1 at Pin Oak Creek about thirty-five miles from Bastrop.

Amos Alexander was killed outright. His son was on horseback and was shot through the body. The younger Alexander rode full speed from the scene of the attack toward Moore's Fort at La Grange, the last town they had passed. He met the second wagon being hauled by the two brothers his father had hired as teamsters. The three started for Moore's Fort, but the young Alexander died from his wounds. His body was laid under a tree and covered with leaves and moss.

Colorado Depredations-Story Two

February 1837, James Gotcher and his two sons were away from the house and cutting wood on the river bottom when Indians attacked their house, killing and scalping a young boy and capturing a little girl. Inside the house were two ladies, Nancy Gotcher and Mrs. Crawford, and several children. The Indians rushed the house, killed Mrs. Gotcher and took Mrs. Crawford and the children captive. The men, hearing the commotion, ran to the house and attempted to fight but were cut down though one of the sons managed to rip open the throat of one of the warriors with his teeth. Mrs. Crawford and the children suffered horribly for two years in captivity before being ransomed by a trader named Spalding at Holland Coffee's station. Spalding married the widow, took the children then settled in Bastrop County.

Conrad Rohrer

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

On June 7 Indians plundered the house of Nathaniel Moore, and on the next day, June 8, attacked the house of Thomas Moore. Veteran ranger Conrad Rohrer was outside Moore's house at this moment attempting to saddle his horse. Rohrer had served Sam Houston's army as a special wagon master and had been among Captain John Tumlinson's early rangers during the revolution. He was shot down dead in the yard.

Fort Wilbarger

Josiah had joined Stephen F. Austin's colony in 1828 and received a Mexican land grant in present-day Bastrop County where he settled in the community of Utley near the Colorado River. The Wilbarger's home consisted of a cabin and a stockade that may have been a family fort. He also prepared a cave in the banks of the Colorado River for shelter in case of Indian attack. Little else is known about the fort. At one time there was a commemorative marker at the site of Wilbarger Bend in the Colorado. If the marker still exists, it is now on private property.

Harris, Blakely and Another

Also at this place, Harris, Blakely and another man came down the river to slaughter a cow when they were attacked in a ravine. Blakely escaped but Harris and the other man were shot and dismembered and their entrails were strewn around the bushes. They cut off their arms and removed their hearts, which were apparently eaten by the Indians.

John Edwards

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

Also during the summer of 1836, Indians killed Texas pioneer John Edwards, who had been traveling in company with Bartholomew Manlove from Bastrop to Washington. Manlove rode for his life,but the Indians killed Edwards. He was repeatedly speared and then scalped. The Indians took his horse and rifle.

Joseph and Braman Reed

Joseph was attacked by forty or more Indians, reaching his own house before he died. His wife drug him to safety before he could be mutilated or scalped. His brother attacked the camp with some volunteers and managed to kill the chief before being killed. The others in his party were wounded which may explain why they scalped the Indian.

Matthew Duty

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

In another depredation, Bastrop area citizen Matthew Duty was killed while riding out alone one night to look over his crops. He had barely gotten out of sight of town when shots were heard. His horse returned on the run, its saddle splattered with blood. When an armed party rode out to look for Duty, he was found murdered and scalped.

Menefee and Marlin

Laban and Jarrett Menefee and John Marlin fought four Indians near the Colorado River. One Indian was killed and all three men claimed credit. They examined the body and found two bullet holes no more than two inches apart. They went a little further and were attacked by more Indians in which they managed to kill two. They chased the remainder into a timber thicket, killing one more in the process.

Thomas Thompson

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

The balance of 1827 and 1828 found Austin Colony settlers and the native Indians on somewhat better relations. In July 1829, however, a battle was fought against Indians who had taken control of Thomas Thompson's small farm near present Bastrop on the Colorado River. Thompson led then men in a fight against the Indians, killing four and chasing away the others. Colonel Austin ordered two volunteer companies of fifty men raised. The companies were under Captains Oliver Jones and Bartlett Sims and under the supervision of Colonel Abner Kuykendall. Captain Harvey S. Brown raised another volunteer company during this time due to murders and depredations committed by Indians around the Gonzales area. Although Captain Sims and his company scouted extensively in pursuit of the Indians, these combined forces only managed to kill one Indian while on their offensive.

Bastrop Blood Trail
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