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  Texas : Towns A-Z / Hill Country :

RICHLAND, TEXAS

Travis County, Texas Hill Country
Somewhere North of Manor
East of Pflugerville and West of Elgin
Not shown on TxDoT's Travis County Map

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St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church, Richland, Texas
The St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006
History in a Pecan Shell

Henry Pfluger, namesake of nearby Pflugerville arrived with his family around 1849. The name was not hyperbole or wishful thinking, since the soil was indeed rich.

Cattle raising produced an income - the animals being sold and then set up the Chisolm trail. Corn, wheat, and rye were grown as crops and each homestead had their vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. In addition - sugarcane was grown before cotton became the principal commercial crop.

Religious persecution and military inscription were two factors for the majority of immigrants to make the long arduous journey to Texas. A school was established in 1877 on a local farm and on Sundays it served as the community's first church. In 1882 a public school was established.

School had been taught by German preachers, but this was challenged in 1888 by the state. The state's argument was that German pastors were not qualified to teach in English and so a compromise was reached - the state furnished the salary for a full-time teacher. The school term was extended from only four months to a full six.
St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church sanctuary , Richland, Texas
The St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church Sanctuary
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, January 2006
St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church cornerstone
The church's German cornerstone.

Photo by John Troesser, 2005
The St. John German Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed by its tiny congregation of nineteen in 1878. The Sons of Hermann gave a charter for a hall in Richland in 1894. In time, a store, cotton gin and blacksmith opened - but Richland was far from the railroad and never quite developed into a community with a defined center. The school was consolidated with Pflugerville schools in 1945.

Richland had a scare in the late 1980s when the city of Austin was eyeing it as a site for a new airport. When Bergstrom AFB was decommissioned and given to Austin - Richland was left in peace - just the way the residents prefer it. Although Richland has no discernible center - over one hundred families still live in the area.
Richland residents Waylon and Hildegarde Gerber

Richland residents and church members Waylon and Hildegarde Gebert on their way to a church social.

The editor expresses his thanks for their kind invitation and efforts to show the church interior.

Photo by John Troesser, 2005

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Anyone wishing to share history, travel or photos of early Richland, Texas, please contact us.
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