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BEHRNS, FRANCIS MARION (1863–1942). Francis Marion Behrns, school founder and civic leader, was born in Llano, Texas, on October 9, 1863, the son of John H. L. Behrns. He took over the management of a small store that his father had purchased in the late 1870s and directed the store for four years before leaving to attend school in Liberty Hill. In the late 1880s, Behrns began teaching in Llano and at Cherokee. He chartered West Texas Normal and Business College at Cherokee in 1889. For many years, while the predominant trend was for urban families to send their children to colleges in small towns, the school enjoyed prominence in the region. Eventually, though, larger institutions in larger cities became popular, and Behrns sold the school to Southwestern University in Georgetown in 1901–02. He was a past master of the Masonic lodge of Llano and a member of the Llano chapter of Royal Arch Masons, Council of Royal and Select Masters, the Llano Commandery of Knights Templars, the Scottish Rite, and the Ben Hur Shrine of Austin. Behrns contributed to the construction of the Masonic Temple at Llano, which he planned and supervised; he designed the interior. Behrns died a bachelor on June 10, 1942, in Austin and was buried in Llano.


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Jill S. Seeber

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Jill S. Seeber, "BEHRNS, FRANCIS MARION," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.