a Pecan Shell
A settlement originally
known as Phillips Ranch (after the founding O. C. J. Phillips family
was established nearby in the 1850s.
In 1860 a Phillips son (W.O.) built a cotton gin and sawmill at the
site. Locals started referring to the town as “Whistleville”
after the mill’s summoning work whistle.
Less than a mile from Whistleville, one Davie Owen opened a competing
mill and gin. Locals referred to this would-be community as “Bugscuffle.”
Indeed, Bugscuffle became the recipient of a post office in
1878, which demanded a more dignified name. Valley Spring was submitted
– and accepted.
Four years later the stage route between Llano
to Brady was altered
and Davie Owen wasted no time opening a store along the route. This
would evolve into what we now know as Valley Spring. First population
figures date from the 30s and 40s when an estimated 100 people lived
here. By the late 1960s this figure had declined to around 50 – the
same figure that was given for the 2000 census.
SH 71, Valley Spring
of Valley Spring
O. C. J. Phillips,
first settler, arrived in 1853. Whistleville combined with Bugscuffle
to form Valley Spring, with post office established 1878. This was
birthplace of James Field Smathers (1888-1967), inventor of electric
from Valley Spring take US 71 SE 3 miles to CR 407, then N on CR 407
Primitive Baptist Church
August 1882, this congregation elected one of its eleven charter members,
Elder S. R. Woods, as its first pastor. The membership met monthly
in the Valley Springs schoolhouse until 1886 when it moved to the
Shiloh Community School building on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. S.
S. Redford. Over the years, the Valley Springs Primitive Baptist Church
has continued to meet here, serving a widespread rural area of Llano
CR 409, 0.2 miles N of SH 71, Valley Spring
This hilltop cemetery
has served the local community since 1867 when Martha Epperson Eaker
and Hattie Phillips, daughters of pioneer settlers in the area, were
buried here. Burials continued, and in 1877 the Epperson family donated
land for the "benefit and convenience of San Fernando Valley." Cemetery
trustees acquired another acre in 1889, the deed referring to the
"old graveyard west of the Valley Springs." Renowned pioneer physician
Dr. W. Y. Fowler (1860-1935), who began his 46-year Llano
County practice at Valley Spring in 1889, acquired the surrounding
ranch in 1897 and provided additional land for the cemetery.
More than 100 graves in this cemetery are marked only with a rock
or unlettered stone; many are believed to be those of young children.
Forty headstones record a birthdate prior to Texas statehood in 1846.
Veterans of the Civil War, World
War I, and World
War II also are buried here. Cemetery maintenance, dependent on
volunteers, resumed with the formal organization of the Valley Spring
Cemetery Association in 1994. Improvements include water piped to
the site, and many trees and plants added for beautification. The
"old graveyard" continues to serve the families of Valley Spring.
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share Valley Spring history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact