MANDA, TEXAS. Manda was four miles north of U.S. Highway 290 and two miles east of Farm Road 973 in northeastern Travis County. The first settlers to arrive at the site were J. V. (Victor) Morell in 1885, John Sanders and Aaron Johnson in 1887, and Otto Bengston in 1888. Morell built a steam engine cotton gin in the area in 1886 and then moved his blacksmith shop there from New Sweden. In 1892 the Manda Methodist Church was organized. Subsequently, the New Sweden Lutheran Church also built a small chapel in the community. In 1893 Bengston built a large general store with a residence in the rear. The post office was established in the front part of the store building and named for his sister Amanda. By 1899 telephone lines were extended to Decker, Manda, and New Sweden. Manda later became a switch on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. By 1900 its population had reached forty. In 1909 the Manda Methodist Church built a frame building with stained-glass windows and a tall bell tower. A forty-two-inch bell was ordered from the C. B. Bell Company of Hillsboro, Ohio, and was given to the church by the Walter Tips Hardware Company of Austin. The population declined by the 1930s to twenty. The church served the community until June 1962, when it was discontinued. The historic church bell is now on the grounds of the First Methodist Church in Elgin. The church cornerstone is in the Manda cemetery. The children at Manda went to school at New Sweden, Carlson, and Willow Ranch. In 1947 the small surrounding school districts were consolidated, and the Manda Common School District was founded. It remained a school district until 1963, when the last record of Manda's population was still twenty. The school building still stood in Manda in 1989.
Mary Starr Barkley, History of Travis County and Austin, 1839–1899 (Waco: Texian Press, 1963). Helge Nelson, Swedes and the Swedish Settlements in North America (New York: Bonnier, 1943; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1979).