This webpage provides the history of the founding of the Liberty Hill Settlement near Austin Texas in the early 1850's.


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Welcome to Len kubiak's Texas History Series


In the early 1850's, the area that was eventually named Liberty Hill, began to attract settlers from the Carolinas, and Tennessee areas. A poster advertising free land grants to settlers was widely circulated in South Carolina and other adjoining states in an attempt to get settlers into the territory claimed by the Comanche Indians. Some of the early day families that were attracted to the offer of free land included the Bacons, Barnes, Brysons, Chamberlains, Carruthers, Dycus, Forbes, Grants, Hodges, Jacksons, Logans, Matthews, Millers, Myracks, Pooles, Queens, Rays, Russels, Snyders, and the Whites to mention a few.

John Thomas and Amelia Edwards Bryson came to the Liberty Hill region from Greenville, South Carolina by covered wagon. Their older children walked alongside the wagon most of the journey. John and Amelia had six children when they arrived including:
Mahilda Narcissa, born August 10, 1840 in Greenville, S.C.; died May 26, 1928
Joseph Goodson, born September 12, 1841 in Greenville, S.C.; died April 29, 1902
Thomas Noble, born July 5, 1843 in Greenville, S.C.; died February 20, 1920 Mary Naomi, born December 6, 1845; died May 4, 1928
Lenora Ann, born May, 1848; died January 1, 1930
John Henley, born May 25, 1850; died December 25, 1930
Rebecca Texanna, born in Liberty Hill on February 13, 1853; died September 26, 1853
Tandy Brittain, born October 8, 1858 in Liberty Hill; died December 30, 1937

Bryson brothers in early-day Liberty Hill Texas
John and Amelia Bryson's sons, Joseph Goodson, Thomas Noble, John Henley and Tandy Brittain.

Soon after their arrival in old Liberty Hill, the Brysons, with the help of their neighbors, constructed a log house that was to serve as a combination church and school for the Liberty Hill pioneer community.

Liberty Hill Methodist church and school (1853). Built  on the south side of the road across from the Bryson's home
Liberty Hill Methodist church and school (1853). Located on the south side of the road across from the Bryson's home

As was the case with many early day settlers, the Brysons were very much concerned about the proper upbringing of their children from both an educational and a spiritual viewpoint.

Charter members of the Liberty Hill Methodist Church included John and Amelia Bryson, their oldest daughter, Mahulda, and Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Smith.

The Bryson Home- Landmark of Old Liberty Hill

Painting of the Bryson Stage Stop in early-day Liberty Hill

For the first few days in Old Liberty Hill, the Brysons continued to camp out of their covered wagon. Meanwhile, with the help of their two slaves, the Brysons completed a log barn using native cedar timbers from the nearby cedar brakes.

Construction on their permanent home was begun in the summer of 1851, and completed in the fall of 1852. The frame of the Texas classic dog-run home was constructed of native red cedar timbers, notched and fitted without the use of nails. The milled lumber used on the floors, walls and ceilings was hauled by oxen and wagons from the Williams Mill in the Cedar Brake settlement near present-day Bastrop. Each round trip took approximately one month to complete.

A limestone fireplace was installed at each end of the house for heating the home in the winter time. A gallery spanned the entire width of the house and a dogtrot extended through the center of the home. The dogtrot created a funnel effect drawing the cool breezes through the home. In the summertime, the Brysons kept several beds in the open dogtrot which was the coolest location in the house.
The Bryson Home, completed in 1852, served the village of Old Liberty Hill as a Stage Stop until the late 1880's.

The kitchen where the family cooking was done was a separate structure from the main part of the house as added protection against fires. A large fireplace at the east end of the kitchen was used to cook the family meals. The kitchen connected to the main structure through a covered walkway.

A few feet from the back of the house, the Bryson's constructed a cellar which was used as a haven from storms and possible Indian attacks (a major Comanche camp was located only a few miles west of the Bryson homestead. The cellar also provided cool storage canned food and potatoes.

Life in Early-Day Liberty Hill

John Bryson, his older sons and his two slaves spent much of their waking hours raising food and livestock, growing cotton to barter for "store bought" cloth and supplies, building rock fences, digging wells, making soap and other related tasks.

Amelia and her daughters did the cooking for the family using the kitchen fireplace. They also washed clothes using washpots to heat the water and scrubbing the clothes using rub boards or washboards. Amelia also made butter, quilted, mended clothes, and saw to the spiritual and educational upbringing of the children.

Bryson Family Reunion of early day Liberty Hill Texas

The Establishment of the Bryson Stagecoach Stop

Ever so often, the military stage coach line from Austin would stop at the spring in front of the Bryson home to water their horses. As john and the stagecoach driver talked about the need for a stop in Liberty Hill, John Bryson accepted the challenge and a new stage coach stop was born.

To provide the extra water required by the stagecoach relay teams, the Brysons, with the help of their slaves, constructed two additional wells near their log barn.

stagecoach that made a stop at the Bryson place in early day Liberty Hill

Other preparations included laying in extra food supplies and making bedding arrangements for the passengers. Separate sleeping quarters were provided for the men and women. The men bedding down in the enclosed dogtrot area and the women's sleeping quarters were provided in one of the large front rooms. An extra wash stand was installed in the dogtrot for use by the guests.

Each approach of the stagecoach was marked by the sounding of a horn and the subsequent barking of the dogs and honking of the geese.

The coming of the stagecoach was always an exciting event for the Bryson family. The minute the stage pulled up to a halt in the front yard, Goodson would help his dad to unharness the team and feed, water and groom the weary horses who had just completed a 10 mile run under a heavy load.

Meanwhile, Amelia would greet the passengers and driver with a pitcher of cool water from the spring. For the price of one dollar, each passenger would be furnished two meals and a bed for the night.

Passengers who had previously traveled the western route looked forward to their stop in Liberty Hill as Amelia had established a reputation as a charming hostess and excellent cook. Assisted by her older daughter, Mahulda, she would set a dinner table with such delights as corn on the cob, fresh vegetables (or canned vegetables out of season) served with churned butter and oven-hot bread, fresh milk, smoked hams and sausages, fried chicken and gravy, cornbread and a selection of pastries from the oven. How different this was from some of the other frontier stage stops where a cold meal of aging vegetables and tough meat was often the best that could be expected.

After supper, bed rolls were prepared for the passengers and everyone retired to the front porch to exchange tales about their travels and get caught up on the latest news from the east. Often, one of the guests would perform feats of magic or card tricks or some of the men would get a poker game going.

At daybreak the next morning, the passengers would be awakened by the aroma of sizzling sausage and bacon. Breakfast included hot biscuits and churned butter, bacon and sausage, hash brown potatoes, fresh spring chilled milk, hot coffee and jellies and jams.

Soon it would be time to hitch up a fresh team of horses and prepare for the day's long journey. After the last passenger had boarded and the driver and shotgun rider were in place, the stage would take off leaving behind a cloud of dust. Things around the Bryson place would then return to normal until it was time to prepare for the arrival of the next stage.

Liberty Hill Becomes a Town

Liberty Hill was officially recognized as a settlement in 1853 with the Reverend W.O. Spencer as its first postmaster.

photo of Reverand W.O. Spencer, first postmaster of Liberty Hill
Reverend W.O. Spencer helped get post office for Liberty Hill and became its first postmaster in 1853.

Initially, Spencer selected the name "Liberty" after the liberty loving folks that settled the area. However, Rusk informed Spencer that Liberty already existed so the name was changed to Liberty Hill.

A few short years after becoming a town under the state of Texas and the United States, the area inhabitants found themselves on the brink of war. Although Sam Houston strongly opposed it, Texas joined with the southern states that left the union to join the Confederate States of America.

Confederate flag once flew over Liberty Hill in the Civil War years

There were two major battles fought in Texas and both were won by Texas. However, in the Liberty Hill area, most Confederate troops spend their time defending the settlers from Indian Attack, rather than actually skirmishing with the Yankees. However, several of the local boys volunteered to join up with solders of other southern states and served with distinction.

After the war was over and reconstruction completed, the settlers of Liberty Hill turned their attention to the great trail drives that were taking place along the Chisholm trail just a few miles east of Liberty Hill. Some of the Bryson clan saddled up, bought all available livestock in the area and headed north to Dodge City, Kansas.

As the area west of Liberty Hill continued to prosper and the Indian threat dimenished, Fort Croghan was closed. However, towns sprang up west of Liberty Hill along the Comanche Trail (renamed the Military trail and eventually Texas State Highway 29)and the stage coach traffic increased until replaced by passenger trains and the automobile.



On an appointment basis, we conduct living history tours for school children and other history-minded tour groups (we like to limit the size of each tour group to 30, or less). We can take you back into the 1800's with a log cabin filled with primitive tools, tour a dirt-floor museum barm filled with relics of a bygone era. We can also take you back thousands of years and chip and use flint tools, grind grain, make primitive weapons and talk about life in the region before the coming of the Europeans. We also have an abundant collection of native fossils dating back 90 to 120 million years ago when the area was a shallow sea home to mossasarus (swimming dinasaurs), giant sharks, ammonites, and other ancient critters.


You might also keep Fort Tumbleweed in mind for that next birthday party or family reunion. For more information on the history tours, see: Information about Fort Tumbleweed History Tours

Also see our history links near the bottom of this webpage. I spend a great deal of time researching Texas history and adding topics of interest to our website for our internet viewers.

The site is constantly growing. Bookmark us and come back often (and tell your friends about us).

Len Kubiak

Also see our history links near the bottom of this webpage. I spend a great deal of time researching Texas history and adding topics of interest to our website for our internet viewers.

The site is constantly growing. Bookmark us and come back often (and tell your friends about us).

Len Kubiak

For detailed histories of other Texas historic towns, SEE:

Fort Tumbleweed Main Page.

For questions or comments, send me an Email at


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Copyright 1996-2018. All rights reserved by Leonard Kubiak. Fort Tumbleweed™ and forttumbleweed™ are trademarks of Leonard Kubiak. No Part of this Website nor any of it's contents may be reproduced in any manner without written permission.


Liberty Hill Homepage

Prehistoric Liberty Hill

The founding of the Liberty Hill Stagecoach Stop (1852)

Liberty Hill -Then and Now

The Founding of New Liberty Hill (1882)

Historic Liberty Hill Cemetery Listing.

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