Western Trips

Western Trips

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dripping Springs And A Texas Frontier Settlement

There was a time when the western frontier line of Texas reached to just about Austin and San Antonio. The land to the west and northwest of that line was referred to as Comancheria. This was the land of the Comanche Indians and other tribes. Regardless of the fact that Comanches and other Texas tribes raided settlers there were still people who settled west of what would be considered at that time the line where civilization ended. It was an area that not all dared to settle in.

doctor pound home dripping springs texas
Dr. Pound Home, Dripping Springs, TX
During the 1850's Texas was a part of the United States. It joined the Union for the most part to be protected against Mexican aggression leading up to the Mexican American War.

This was also a time before the great Texas ranches simply because there was no market available for Texas cattle during the 1850's save for Louisiana. The Texas cattle drives would come a short time later when routes such as the Chisholm Trail would be the first to take Texas cattle up to the future rail heads in Missouri and Kansas.During the 1850's Texas was primarily agricultural and this is what the new homesteads along the frontier line relied on to survive.

Dripping Springs Texas

Today, the people of Texas as well as the state's tourists can visit a restored settlement that's located in the Texas Hill Country town of Dripping Springs. The town of Dripping Springs is located about 21 miles southwest of Austin along Highway 290.

frontier medical supplies
Desk and frontier medical supplies and equipment
 Dripping Springs Texas was founded by three families from Mississippi who decided to embrace the popular term of the time, "Gone to Texas". The three families were that of Dr. Joseph McKegg Pound, John L. Moss and John Lee Wallace. By 1957 the settlement that these three families had chosen to establish, and also a home to the Tonkawa Indians, needed to have a name. Without a name there could be no post office and a true permanent settlement needed mail service. John Moss' wife came up with a suitable name that actually described the physical area. The town name of Dripping Springs was chosen because it described the "dripping springs" at the Edwards Aquifer which was used often by Native Americans.

frontier log cabin
Original log construction
Visit the Dr. Pound Pioneer Farmstead Museum

Today when you're exploring the Texas Hill Country you can treat yourself to a unique visit to the  Dr. Pound Pioneer Farmstead Museum in Dripping Springs. When you visit this historic farmstead volunteer docents will offer a lot of information about the site's historical details and the settling of Dripping Springs.

After migrating to this area in 1854 Dr. Pound built a home which is just a few blocks north of today's Dripping Springs town center. His original farmstead and one room home comprised 750 acres in an unsettled area of Texas. The Pound wooden structure was the first structure built in Dripping Springs.

In this home Dr. Pound and his wife Sarah raised nine children. Additional rooms were added to the one room structure. One of the additional rooms was reportedly used to treat patients that would not have been able to travel. When you visit the home today you'll see family photos of Dr. Pound's family, some of his medical equipment and desk as well as other furnishings dating back to the 1800's. One of the displays is that of Dr. Pound's dress Confederate uniform.

frontier log cabin interior
Interior of original one room cabin
The Dr. Pound Pioneer Homestead is now on five acres. In addition to the Dr. Pound home you'll see their stone smokehouse, windmill, cistern and blacksmith shop which often times has a blacksmith there with exhibits.

Interestingly enough, the Dr. Pound homestead stayed within the family for 130 years being occupied by descendents until the 1980's. Four generations of the Pound family lived on the farmstead until 1983. Dr. Pound was a medical doctor, is considered to be the first physician of Hays County Texas and was a veteran of Civil War.Interestingly enough, Dr. Pound first came to Texas years earlier to serve in the Mexican American War.

Being a medical doctor most likely helped with Dr. Pounds relations with the local Native Americans which, as any historian of Texas history knows, could be a dicey proposition at best. It was said that Pound did administer care to the local Indians when needed and it's believed that this medical aid is what spared the Pound family from the Indian raids that were very prevalent on the Texas western frontier line. The Pounds used their home and farmstead as a medical clinic and hospital, a schoolhouse and a religious sanctuary.

frontier smokehouse
Pound Family stone smokehouse
See the Western Trips articles below for more unique Texas Hill Country destinations...

Longhorn Caverns State Park

Nimitz National Museum of the Pacific War

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park 

The Texas Hill Country is one of the most scenic areas of Texas and is a popular destination for both Texans and Texas tourists.  The Hill Country of Texas is comprised of twenty five counties in central and south Texas. Geography of the Hill Country includes wooded canyons and spring fed streams. Austin is at the east end of the Hill Country, San Antonio to the south. The remainder spreads over about 200 miles to the west.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 Western Trips)

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