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RICHLAND, TX (TRAVIS COUNTY)

RICHLAND, TEXAS (Travis County). Richland, east of Pflugerville in northeast Travis County, was established by German immigrant farmers who named their settlement for the quality of its soil. The first known settlers in the area, the Henry Pfluger family, arrived in 1849. The majority of immigrants came as a result of political persecution in Germany. The original settlers harvested corn, wheat, rye, cotton, fruits, vegetables, and sugarcane and also raised cattle that were driven to market on the Chisholm Trail. Eventually cotton became the principal crop of the community. A school was established in 1877 on the Franz Schmidt farm, where Sunday worship services were also conducted. In 1881 residents hired a preacher who also served as a four-month-a-year schoolteacher. In 1882 a public school was established, with Miss Catharine Schlittler serving as the first teacher. In 1888, after an appeal claiming that German pastors were not qualified to teach in the English language, the state furnished enough funds for a full-time teacher and a school term of six months instead of the previous four. In 1878, nineteen German immigrants organized St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church. The earliest date of birth in the cemetery next to the church is that of Christian Prinz, 1809. The Sons of Hermann granted a branch charter to the Richland hall in 1894. Over a period of time the community also had a saloon, a mercantile store, a cotton gin, and a blacksmith shop. The Richland school closed in 1945, and the students were transferred to Pflugerville. In 1987 the city of Austin proposed to take over the Richland area for the new Austin municipal airport, but no action was taken. In 1988 the church, cemetery, hall, and approximately 127 property owners remained in the area. Though Richland was no longer shown on county highway maps in 2000, more than 100 families lived in the area, and St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church still served the community.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Austin American-Statesman, June 12, 1988. Mary Starr Barkley, A History of Central Texas (Austin: Austin Printing, 1970). Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Travis County Superintendent of Public Instruction, Travis County School Annual (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1905–08).

Fredericka Richter-DeBerry and Mel Steger

Citation

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

Fredericka Richter-DeBerry and Mel Steger, "RICHLAND, TX (TRAVIS COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrr52), accessed July 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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