History

How did Rocksprings, Texas get its Name?

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Ever wonder how towns get their names?  Every location needs a handle, but how are they chosen? Take the small town of Rocksprings as an example. Three hours west of Austin, about two hours northwest of San Antonio, you’ll find the quaint town of Rocksprings, Texas. It’s a relatively new town compared to some in the Great State of Texas, and a good place for hunters. Years ago, in 1891, J.R. Sweeten settled in the area of Edwards, Country in what is now known as the Texas Hill Country.

Sweeten named the locale Rock Springs due to a natural spring with nearby rocks. Sensible, right? Sweeten was a far-thinking business man. He considered ways to grow the area and put money in his pocket. Travelers in need of water came to the springs, and Sweeten had an ah-ha moment. He dug a water well to attract newcomers and develop the region. Sweeten sold lots and the town was officially born. Rock Springs was later merged into one word: Rocksprings. Wouldn’t it be a stroke of good luck to receive a land grant of beautiful Texas land?

land-2

Photo: Gay N. Lewis

How did Sweeten obtain tracts of land to sell you ask? Good question. Texas land grants were given in multiple ways back in early days. Before 1836, Spain and Mexico gave them. Later, in 1845, when Texas became a state, the land office established in Austin continued to dispense land grants. The Texas Historical Association gives details. Under the Homestead Act of 1854, homestead grants amounted to 160 acres, and a man had to live on the land for three years. Perhaps Sweeten possessed this criterion. At any rate, he developed a portion of the Texas Hill Country.

Rocksprings Texas

Photo: Rocksprings Texas, Texas Hill Country, Devil’s Sink Hole

What is Rocksprings like today? It’s three hours west of Austin, about two hours from San Antonio, and it’s a popular spot for tourists.  You’ll find the Devil’s Sinkhole nearby, and maybe a few bats. It’s also a popular spot for hunters.

Do you like bats? You’ll find the Mexican free-tailed bat living in this natural area. You’ll also find a number of museums in Rocksprings. Events include the “Top-o-World” festival in May, professional bull riding in July, fish fry in August and the Hunter’s Bar-be-cue in November. In your Texas travels, don’t overlook Rocksprings.

Sources:

Hill Country Portal

Texas State Historical Association

FamilySearch

Wikipedia/Rocksprings, Texas

Wikipedia/Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area