Nelsonville

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Nelsonville, at the junction of Highway 159 and FM 2502, is nine miles west of Bellville in west central Austin County. The area was settled in the 1850s; among the first settlers was Edward Daughtry, who moved to the site around 1855.

The town was named for D. D. Nelson, who opened a store just after the Civil War. Around the same time Isaac Lewis established a store and saw and grist mill and later added a cotton gin. Originally settled by Anglo-American plantation owners in the late 1830s, the town also attracted Germans. At the Civil War’s end, plantations were sold as smaller farmsteads to immigrants from Bohemia and Moravia and more from Germany. Nelsonville’s youth were tri-lingual, fluent in English, German and Czech.

A post office opened in 1872 with R. W. Thompson, the first physician, as postmaster. In 1885, the community, which extended northwest through the watershed separating the drainage of the east and west forks of Mill Creek toward Industry, had a church and school, three combination steam mills and gins and a population of 100.

The Czech Moravian Bretheran Church congregation was formed in 1893 and church was built in 1947 under the leadership of Rev. Josef A. Barton; it is now a community landmark.

By 1900, the population was 158. The post office was discontinued in 1909, and by the early 1930s the population had dwindled back to 100. The community reported five businesses as late as 1936, but thereafter most of them closed. In the early 1990s Nelsonville was a farming community with a reported population of 110. The population remained the same in 2000.

Source: “Austin County: Beilage zum Bellville Wochenblatt, den alten Texanern gewidmet und den jungen Texanern zu Nutz’ und Frommen”