Heritage, Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 1989 Page: 30
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HISTORIC <\ TOUR
FOCUSES ON ROUND TOP
Adapted by Louise Anzalone
he town of Round Top, Texas is older
than its name. It was first known as
Townsend because five families by that
name settled in the area. It was also known
as Jones Post Office after the first postmaster
for the Republic of Texas, who was
stationed here. As Alwin Soergel's octagonal
structure became a widely visible landmark
in the late 1840s, known as "the
house with the round top," the town underwent
a gradual name change.
The arriving white settlers considered
themselves rightful possessors of the land
by Mexican, and later, Texas law. Located
within the boundaries of Stephen F.
Austin's colony, the first enduring occupants
were largely Anglo-Americans who
contributed to the Texan protest and subsequent
rebellion against Mexico during
the years of 1832-36. Memorable among
many events of those times is that Joel W.
Robinson was the only one of Santa
Anna's captors (after the Battle of San
Jacinto April 21, 1836) to treat him with
any semblance of kindness; for this he was
presented with a small chest of the general's
personal belongings, including a braided
vest with gold buttons. It became customary
for the young men of Round Top to
wear that vest on their wedding days.
In the late 1840s, the Round Top area
began to assume the resilient German
character which remains to this day. In
1843 the Adelsverein, an association of
German aristocrats promoting large-scale
colonization in Texas, purchased a league
of land (4,428 acres) from James Winn, the
original grantee. This was to become
known as the Nassau Plantation, located
near today's Winedale Historical Center.
TOP: Texas Pioneer Arts Foundation's Henkel
Square, an authentic restoration of an AngloAmerican/German-American
culture from the
BOTTOM: The Festival Hill Concert Hall features
concerts by pianist James Dick.
The Texas-Germans were yeomen
farmers and largely alien to the institution
of slavery. They tilled their land, practiced
subsistence farming, and were keenly
aware of the only crop-cotton-which
could always be sold for ready money. They
were also law-abiding. They acknowledged
the overwhelming statewide referendum
favoring secession and went to war for the
southern cause. A considerable number
saw service in Waul's Legion and the 5th
After the Civil War, Round Top was
bypassed by railways and major roads; it
became increasingly isolated and German.
Lawlessness prompted citizens of Round
Top to organize a community militia and to
Photography by William Anzalone.
30 HERITAGE * SPRING 1080
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 1989, periodical, Spring 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45432/m1/30/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.