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Austin County, Central Texas S

30 1' 18" N, 96 35' 54" W (30.021667, -96.598333)

FM 1457 & 389
17 miles SW of Brenham via FM 389
8 miles E of Round Top via FM 1457
7 miles NW of Industry via FM 1457
24 miles NW of Bellville the county seat
Population: 175 est (2010, 2000, 1992)

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Shelby TX - Trail Riders

Trail Riders
TE Photo

History in a Pecan Shell

Shelby was a settlement in Austin County that did not undergo a German name-change. A David Shelby was said to have been an original settler, however the founder of the town was one Otto von Roder (complete with umlaut). Otto had a mill for processing grain and the town was also known among the Germans as Rodersmuhl (Roder's Mill).

The mill was bought from Roder by August Vogelsang (Birdsong) and tombstone of the Vogelsang family is visible in the cemetery photo.

The post office was opened in 1846 under the name Shelby and by 1884 the 75 residents had three saloons, three stores, and a variety of essential businesses.

1904 was when Shelby's population peaked, and although the post office closed in 1912, the population remained at about 200 until after WWII. Today Shelby remains one of the more picturesque crossroads in the area and is not to be left out of driving tours.

See Town of Shelby Historical Marker

Shelby TX - Old St. Paul's Lutheran Church

The Old St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Shelby Area Historical Society today

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - St. Paul's Lutheran Church

St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011
More Texas Churches

Shelby TX - Farm Road

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby Historical Marker

Town of Shelby

Named for 1822 settler David Shelby, this town grew up at the mill of German pioneer Otto Von Roeder. The Ohlendorfs, Vogelsangs, Rothermels, and Vanderwerths arrived in 1845; other Germans came in ensuing years. The post office opened 1846 with Shelby as postmaster. A school (1854), an agricultural society, a singing society and a band were started. Mission work, begun in 1876, led to founding of Peace Lutheran and St. Paul Lutheran churches. By 1900 there were at least a dozen businesses here. Decline of farming led residents to live on ancestral land and work in cities.

Shelby TX - Historical Marker

Shelby Historical Marker
Intersection of FM 1457 and FM 389

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX Harmonie Hall

Harmonie Hall, 1875
FM 389

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX -  Harmonie Hall  interior

Harmonie Hall interior
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Shelby Inn Wedding Chapel

Wedding Chapel
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Shelby Inn Wedding Chapel  interior

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Shelby Inn Wedding Chapel  organ

Wedding Chapel organ
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Transcription of Harmonie Hall History photo below:

Harmonie Hall History

The organization of Harmonie Hall actually does not have very much written history except for one treasurer's book that begins n January 2, 1881. Some of the information in this account was from that book and others was obtained by interview. Melvin and Katie Schultz, members of the hall, were able to help with reading the German and translate for me when I compiled this several years ago. Mr. Frank Schramm, who had been a hall member for 73 years when this was written, shared many of his memories and that was very interesting. Mr. Schramm was able to enjoy his 100th birthday celebration at the hall but sadly passed away a couple of years ago.

Our organization dates back to 1875 when it was formed by a group of community members of this area. According to Mr. Schramm, this organization had it's beginning at Skull Creek, which is an area about 2-1\2 miles from the current location. He remembered his father telling him that they first built a raised platform for dancing and other activities and it blew down. Being very determined Germans they used mules and pulled it back up only to have it blown down a second time. It was at that time that they decided to move to Shelby and build a hall. The main part of the hall is of that original structure. We do not know the cost of the building but do know that apparently bonds were sold to members to help pay for the construction. The amount of bonds listed in the book we have totals to $1,383.00 a were repaid at a rate of 10% per year until paid in full.

In 1881 there were 57 members and all were men. Ladies were not permitted in the organization until 1977, but we've come a long way. We now have women for the positions of President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Our membership was 184, when this was written, however we only have a few active members. Not very many for all the activities held here but we are trying to keep it going and if we may so, we're doing quite well.

Mr. Schramm was able to give information about some rules and happenings in those early years. At the beginning it was a rule that if a member died there would be a period of silence or mourning for 30 days. During that time no celebrations or dances could be held. Since people didn't live as long in those days it happened several times that several months went by with no activities. He said that this rule was changed because it wasn't good for the treasury.

In the beginning the hall was lighted with candles, which were purchased for 3 cents each and with oil lamps that were suspended from the ceiling with wire.

The interior of the hall had benches on both sides where the single ladies would sit. Single men would stand behind a fenced (with chicken wire) area called 'the bull pen" and that was across the part of the hall where the double doors are located. There was a hat stand in the corner at which men could check their hats for 5 cents. At one time the Shelby baseball team ran the stand to earn money for their expenses. Many changes have been made to the structure over the years. Some of the more important ones may be electricity, indoor plumbing and air conditioning.

As well as physical changes from those early years I've included a few price comparisons. In 1881 they purchased 300 cigars for $7.50. Eleven kegs of beer (must have been a feast) were purchased for $41.50 and now only one large keg sells for $116.00. Mr. Scramm stated that water sold for 5 cents for a large bottle and beer sold for 5 cents per large mug. He said he worked in the bar dance one night and a man came to the dance with 50 cents, went home drunk and had 20 cents change in his pocket.

Musicians charged $18.50 for music in 1883. Today we pay as much a $2,500 for a band on New Year's Eve. We found an account of paying meal tickets for the musicians at a feast, all for $3.20. fruit for all Christmas bags was $2.00 ad paper and stamps were 50 cents. They purchased 6 chairs for $4.50 and the last chairs purchased were $10.00 for one chair.

In the beginning there was a feast held each year on October 6th no matter what day of the week that happened to be. Those feasts were more on the order of fairs. People would bring samples of crops or produce, it would be judged and small prizes would be given. As it became more difficult for people from other towns to attend, the feast was changed to Labor Day weekend and that continued until 2008.

Our hall and organization has seen many changes over the years and we can proudly say, "changes for the best.". Many people that grew up here or lived in this area have many memories of events held here. The members of Harmonie Hall are proud of the German heritage and this community.

Shelby TX   Harmonie Hall  history

Harmonie Hall history
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Iron Gate

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX Cemetery

Shelby Cemetery
Most of the early headstones are in German
FM 1457 and Voelkel Road
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Tombstone of German Texan
TE photos, 2000

Shelby Cemetery
TE photos, 2000
More Texas Cemeteries

Shelby TX Store

Shelby Store
TE Photo, 2002

Shelby TX Store

Shelby Store
TE Photo, 2002
More Texas Stores

Shelby TX - Nutrena Feed

Nutrena Feed
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Corrugated Tin Building

Corrugated Tin Building
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Pressed  tin building fan

Pressed tin building fan
Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX - Barn

TE Photo, 2002

Shelby TX - Barn

Photo courtesy Gerald Massey, July 2011

Shelby TX Austin County 1870s Postmark
Shelby TX Austin County 1870s Postmark
Cover canceled with Shelby TX 1870s postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

Shelby TX Austin County 1887 Postmark
Cover canceled with Shelby TX 1887 postmark
Courtesy The John J. Germann Collection

TX Austin County 1907 Postal Map
1907 postal map showing Shelby in NE Austin County
near Fayette, Washington & Colorado County lines
From Texas state map #2090
Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Shelby, Texas Forum
I am interested in volunteering at Shelby Cemetery, in Shelby, Texas, Austin County. I need to find out how and whom I need to be in contact with. My relation to the site is several German ancestors are buried there. I visited this past weekend, and noticed that the place needs some TLC and I want to help. - Thanks, Travis Brown, June 21, 2004

This page for Shelby, Texas sponsored by: Robert Castillo9/01

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Shelby, Texas Nearby Towns:
Bellville the county seat
Round Top

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