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 Texas : Towns / Central Texas South : Nelsonville

NELSONVILLE, TEXAS

Austin County, Central Texas S
Highway 159 and FM 2502
9 Miles W of Bellville
SW of Brenham
NW of Sealy
Population: 110 (2000)

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Nelsonville TX Country Road
Nelsonville country road
TE photo
History in a Pecan Shell

First settled in the 1850s, the town was named to honor D.D. Nelson, local storekeeper in the mid 1860s. Nelson soon had competition in the form of Isaac Lewis who opened his own store and raised the stakes by building a gin.

The first sizable population was provided by Bohemian settlers in the late 1860s and early 1870s. A post office was granted in 1872 with the town’s doctor also serving as postmaster.

The population reached 100 in the mid 1880s and by the turn of the century it had increased to around 150. After the closing of the post office in 1909, it returned to 100.

Nelsonville maintained five businesses into the middle of the Great Depression, but they disappeared over time and the proximity of Bellville discouraged new businesses from opening.

Today, the town is a tranquil farming community with the church being the town’s centerpiece. The population remains around 100 – the number given for both the 1990 and 200 census.

See Historical Marker: First Czech Immigrants in Texas
Nelsonville TX Czech Moravian Bretheren Church

Czech Moravian Bretheren Church. More Texas Churches
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson

Nelsonville TX schoolhouse
Nelsonville Schoolhouse. More Texas Schoolhouses
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Nelsonville TX - Susen Cemetery
Susen Cemetery. More Texas Cemeteries
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Nelsonville TX - Barn and Tree
A barn. TE photo
Nelsonville TX barn
TE photo
Nelsonville TX - Czech Immigrants Marker
"First Czech Immigrants in Texas" Marker. More People
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson
Historical Marker Text

First Czech Immigrants in Texas

People from Czechy began to come to America for liberty as early as 1633. First known Czech in Texas was Jiri Rybar (George Fisher), customs officer in Galveston in 1829. Others arrived individually for years before letters sent home by the Rev. Josef Arnost Bergman, an 1849 Czech settler at Cat Spring (9 mi. S), inspired immigrants in large numbers.

Josef Lidumil Lesikar (1806-1887) was instrumental in forming the first two large migrations, 1851 and 1853, with names of family parties listed on ship logs as Silar (Shiller), 69; Lesikar (Leshikar), 16; Mares (Maresh), 10; Pecacek (Pechacek), 9; Rypl (Ripple), 7; Coufal, 6; Rosler (Roesler), 6; Motl, 5; Jezek, 4; Cermak, 3; Janecek, 3; Jirasek, 3; Kroulik, 2; Tauber, 2; Marek, 1; Pavlicek, 1.

With Pastor Bergman's counsel, many of the Czechs began to farm in Austin county. Other immigrations occurred in the 1850s, and became even heavier in the 1870s. Czechs eventually spread throughout the state, gaining recognition for industry, thrift, and cultural attainments. To preserve their heritage they succeeded in having a chair of Slavic Languages established (1915) at the University of Texas, and later at other schools. Their ethnic festivals have been held in various cities for many years.
Nelsonville TX - cows
TE photo
Nelsonville, Texas
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