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ROSS PRAIRIE, TX

ROSS PRAIRIE, TEXAS. Ross Prairie is a scattered farming community on the northern edge of Ross Prairie, two miles south of Fayetteville in east central Fayette County. Originally settled in the 1820s by James J. Ross, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, it soon became a center for German and Bohemian immigrants who came in the 1840s. Rev. P. F. Zizelman, a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Texas who visited the area in 1851, reported that there was a large Christian German settlement on the prairie; in 1861 a church was built there with him as minister.

The land in Ross Prairie is flat to gently sloping and surfaced with a sandy loam toplayer with a firm clay subsoil. William P. Smith, one of the original trustees of Rutersville College, wrote in 1851 that Ross Prairie served "to show the vast superiority of Southern States and particularly Texas, over the frozen regions of the North." From 1850 to 1950 Ross Prairie produced excellent yields of cotton and grain, particularly corn. Since the 1950s the cotton has been replaced by improved pasture for cattle and horses, although grain is still produced in lesser amounts.

Due to its close proximity to Fayetteville, Ross Prairie never developed as a business center. The church served as the focal point for socializing. The church and cemetery remained in existence as of 1988.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Rudolph L. Biesele, The History of the German Settlements in Texas, 1831–1861 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1930; rpt. 1964). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

Jeff Carroll

Citation

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

Jeff Carroll, "ROSS PRAIRIE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrr50), accessed August 21, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.