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ROCKWALL, TX (ROCKWALL COUNTY)

ROCKWALL, TEXAS (Rockwall County). Rockwall, the county seat of Rockwall County, is at the intersection of State highways 66 and 205, near the shores of Lake Ray Hubbard. In the late 1840s members of the Boydstun family of Illinois settled on a 572-acre tract of land near the East Fork of the Trinity River; they were the first Anglo-Americans to arrive in the area, which at that time was part of Kaufman County. The number of settlers arriving in the area increased dramatically in the next few years, and in 1852 a Baptist church was established to serve the local population. Two years later Elijah Elgin donated forty acres on a hill above the East Fork of the Trinity River to establish a town. The community was established on April 17, 1854, and named Rockwall; that same year a post office branch was opened. Residents chose the town name because of their discovery in 1851 of a stone wall that lay beneath the surface of the proposed townsite. During the next twenty years Rockwall served as a business and community center for Kaufman County farmers. In 1873 the state legislature established Rockwall County from part of Kaufman County, and Rockwall became the county seat. The town was incorporated in 1874. Soon thereafter, many residents of nearby Blackland and Heath moved to the new county seat, increasing the Rockwall population to close to 1,000 by 1890. Residents were served by three churches, a school, and about a dozen businesses, including a weekly newspaper, the Rockwall Success. In 1886 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line reached Rockwall, and it became a shipping point for cotton, wheat, and corn. In 1893 Wells College opened in Rockwall. Until the Great Depression the population of the community grew steadily, reaching 1,388 in 1926. The 1930s saw a slight decline in the number of residents and businesses. After World War II, however, the population resumed its steady increase. In 1950 it was 1,500, by 1960 it was 2,000, and in 1970 it was more than 3,000. In the 1970s and 1980s population growth was faster, influenced by business opportunities in nearby Dallas and the construction of Lake Ray Hubbard. By 1988 Rockwall had 5,939 residents, and by the early 1990s it reported 10,486 residents and 257 businesses. At this time the town included plants that produced aluminum, leather goods, and steel products. Also, in recent years Rockwall has become known as a marriage mecca, because of the ease with which a marriage license can be obtained there. By 2000 the population reached 17,976 with 1,263 businesses.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James L. Glenn, Centennial Reminiscence, June 8–13, 1954: A History of Rockwall, Texas and Surrounding Communities (Rockwall: Centennial Historical Committee, 1954). Rockwall County Historical Foundation, Rockwall County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

David Minor

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

David Minor, "ROCKWALL, TX (ROCKWALL COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hfr09), accessed September 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.