Community History

Here is the history of the Northwest Austin communities

Anderson Mill
Anderson’s mill was located west of Austin along Cypress Creek, a stream
that flowed into the Colorado River. The mill was built by Thomas Anderson, a Virginian who came to Texas in the 1850s and settled in the hills west of Austin.  Anderson’s mill ground corn and became a gathering place for nearby farmers.

By 1863, Anderson had converted his gristmill into a gunpowder factory to supply the Confederate army. The numerous bat caves in the area provided a source of bat guano, which was used to make saltpeter, a necessary ingredient of gunpowder.

Anderson’s gunpowder mill was operated by the Texas State Military Board.

Today the original site of the mill is covered by Lake Travis. It was rebuilt on a hill above that site by the Anderson Mill Garden Club, and in 1972 the Anderson Mill Museum opened.

Visit the museum at Volente near Lake Travis on FM 2769 every fourth Sunday of the month, March through October.

John Grey Jolly and Nancy Isabel Eskew married in 1847 in their native state f Tennessee, but soon after they caught Texas Fever, the term for settlers coming to Texas for land. In 1865, when John returned to Austin following is service to the Confederate army, they bought land along the Travis and Williamson county lines. Their first home was a log cabin with the kitchen dded to the back. It wasn’t long before the area became known as Jollyville, and John opened a store and blacksmith shop. In the 1870s and 1880s, Jollyville was one of the stagecoach stops between Austin and Lampasas. chool was important for area children and the Jolly family gave land for the Jollyville School to be built. A one-room wooden schoolhouse was used for first through sixth or seventh grade with 35 students before consolidating with Pond Springs School in 1903.

Pond Springs
In 1839, when Austin was laid out, settlers were anxious to move further west into the area that would become Williamson County.

As settlers left Austin and traveled north up the Balcones Escarpment, one of the first areas settled was known as Pond Springs. Abundant water, trees, grass and wildlife made the area desirable.

Pioneer wagon trails gave way to roads and the area of Pond Springs is now basically the stretch along old US 183 from Spicewood Springs Road north to RM 620.

By 1854, a one-room log building was constructed for a schoolhouse; later a wooden building was erected. A better Pond Springs School was built in 1927 at 13401 Pond Springs Road at the intersection of US 183 and Anderson Mill Road.

For taxing purpose the district was officially Pond Springs Common County Line District. In 1969, after 115 years, Pond Springs School District consolidated with Round Rock Independent School District.

The Hancocks
The Hancock family members overcame uncertainties and obstacles following the end of slavery in 1865 and were among the first freed slaves to own land in Travis County. With the assistance of former slave owner Judge John Hancock, the pioneer couple established their farm just west of the present day intersection of Parmer Lane and MoPac. With hard labor and practical optimism, the Hancocks made a success of their farming venture and passed on to their descendants economic security and hope for the future.

Information on Rubin and Elizabeth Hancock was compiled in the book, “After Slavery: The Rubin Hancock Homestead, 1880-19167 by Marie E. Blake and Teri. Myers after field discoveries of the farm were made by the Texas Department of Transportation in 1987.

Scofield Farms
The Scofield family bred registered Shorthorn cattle for more than six decades.

Dr. John Scofield arrived in the Texas Hill Country in 1849 and e married Mary Houston, a grand niece of Gen. Sam Houston.  In his large ranch he liked the way the Shorthorn bulls were fairly docile, but greatly increased the weight of his calves.

Dr. John’s son, Frank Scofield, took over the ranch operation from his father and set out to improve the registered Shorthorns. 1934, Frank was appointed director of the Texas Division of the Internal Revenue Service and moved his wife Katherine Mayer nd four children to Austin. He directed the IRS until 1954, when he started buying land north and northeast of Austin, just west of Pflugerville. His Shorthorn cattle operation was booming as was his reputation of having one of the finest registered Shorthorn herds in the United States.

Frank’s son Vernon eventually took over management of the ranch and began purchasing any available land adjacent to the Scofield Ranch which soon totaled more than 2,000 acres.

Vernon actively managed the Scofield Ranch from 1946 until they began selling the property in the 1970s. Both Frank and Vernon served as president of the American Shorthorn Cattle Association.