By MILTON POGUE
Special Contributor to The Independent
The rural public schools of Texas contributed immeasurably to the development of our state and nation. We are concerned in this article about the development and growth of the city of Liberty Hill. Apparently, we now have one of the best small town schools in the state of Texas. We are looking back some 50 to more than 100 years at some rural schools that became part of the Liberty Hill school district and deserve credit for part of its growth and charting a path toward success.
We begin with the Concord school that was located about five miles north of Liberty Hill on County Road 200, and on the banks of Bear Creek. The Concord school was the one your writer attended, therefore he knows more about it than the other schools to be considered. The location of the Concord school on County Road 200 began sometime between 1883 and 1888. It was preceded by the Clear Creek, Gabriel Mills, Loafer’s Glory, and North Gabriel schools. The Concord school was the community center. There were no retail stores or business enterprises of any sort located there. It began as a one teacher school and grew to be a three teacher school with a three-room building. The attendance peaked in the 1932-1933 school year. There were over 100 scholastics in the district, but not all of these young people attended school. The Concord school consolidated with the Liberty Hill school in 1947.
The Rock House community, six or seven miles east of Liberty Hill, was settled by Uriah Anderson in the 1840’s. There is mention of a school there in 1857 that met in the Bethel Church sanctuary. Later, an 1870 deed to some property there made note of a “stone school house,” hence, the name “Rock House” for the school and community. At one time, Rock House had a post office, some stores, businesses and a cotton gin.
The post office was named “Draco.” Draco was an Indian name meaning “favorite place,” or “preferred camp.” The post office was in operation about two years in 1890 and 1891. The location of the school house was on County Road 256 south and east of the intersection of County Road 257 and Ranch Road 3405. The Rock House school closed in the 1940’s and was consolidated with the Liberty Hill school.
The Union Hall school was located about four miles east of Liberty Hill on what is now County Road 259. A man by the name of J. G. Matthews founded a private school in the community in 1873. The following year, 1874, a public school began operating there. The Union Hall school consolidated with the Liberty Hill school in 1949. My information is that the Union Hall Missionary Baptist Church meets in buildings that are on or near the site of the Union Hall school.
The people of the Hopewell Community and school were among the very earliest settlers in the southwestern part of Williamson County. The Hopewell community was, and is, located some six or seven miles west of Liberty Hill. The Hopewell Cemetery is located on County Road 258. The Hopewell Schoolhouse, which is no longer there, was located a mile or two south of the cemetery. Hopewell was a thriving little community in the 1870’s and 1880’s with a general store, church, Masonic Lodge, and other businesses. The Cumberland Presbyterians built a church house there and school was taught in that building beginning in 1878. A building for the school was constructed at a later date. The Hopewell school consolidated with the Liberty Hill school in 1945.
The Miller School, a black school in the Jenks Branch area a few miles south of Liberty Hill, consolidated with the Liberty Hill school on July 6, 1949.
Milton Pogue is a lifelong resident of the Liberty Hill area. He is a regular contributor to The Independent, author of articles and guest columns on life and cultrure of the early residents of Liberty Hill and the Shin Oak Ridge.