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Robertson County TX
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Robertson County, Central Texas South

3053'52"N 9623'24"W (30.8976902, -96.3899639)

FM 46 and FM 391
11 miles SE of Franklin the county seat
16 miles SE of Owensville
13 miles E of Hearn
15 miles NE of Bryan
Population: 125 (est. 2000)

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Wheelock Tx Road Sign
Entering Wheelock
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

History in a Pecan Shell

Wheelock has a fascinating history for such an out-of-the-way place. In the 1840s in Texas Wheelock was one of the places to see and be seen. It had been nominated to be the Capital of Texas, and it had enough influential people there to make that a reality. It had also been a consideration to be the home for the University of Texas. Had that happened, the place would certainly have a very different appearance today.

Eleazer Louis Ripley Wheelock, was famous for more than just having a long name. His grandfather had founded Dartmouth College. When Eleazer came to the area - about 1826, he was immediately impressed with the beauty of the place - and that hasn't changed. He was a friend to the County's namesake - Sterling Robertson. Mr. Wheelock died in Illinois, while paying a visit to the place of his birth.

Eleazer built a blockhouse for protection from the Indians around the time of Independence. The blockhouse necessitated a name. He had wanted it named after Mirabeau Lamar, Vice-President of the Republic, but others suggested Wheelock. It wasn't named after Eleazer, however, but Wheelock, Vermont (a town that was named after his Grandfather). That seemed to satisfy everyone.

Being on the main mail routes and stagecoach lines seemed to promise great things for Wheelock and it was indeed made county seat in 1850. But three important events reduced its prominence. Firstly, Owensville (another town you don't hear much about anymore) became county seat. Then the town suffered economically as a result of human and economic losses brought about by the Civil War. Thirdly and more importantly, it was bypassed by the railroad after the war was over.

Wheelock Tx Historical Marker
Wheelock Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Historical Marker:


Eleazar Louis Ripley Wheelock (1793-1847) came to Texas from Illinois in 1830. A surveyor for Robertson's colony, he established a town on his land along the Old San Antonio Road. Named Wheelock in 1837, the town boasted twenty businesses by the 1840s, including general stores, land and freight offices, and a cotton gin. By 1845 Wheelock was a transportation hub in Central Texas. A post office was established in 1846, and the town was Robertson County Seat from 1850 to 1856. Bypassed by the railroad in the 1860s, Wheelock declined; many of its citizens moved to Hearne.

Wheelock Tx Historical Marker and closed garage
Wheelock Historical Marker view
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Centennial Marker
Wheelock Centennial Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

1936 Texas Centennial Marker:


Founded in 1833 by Colonel E. L. R. Wheelock, soldier, lawyer and educator. One of the organizers of Robertson's colony. Captain of Texas Rangers. Died in Edwardsville, Ill, in 1846 while visiting the place of his birth.

Wheelock Tx Centennial Marker text
Wheelock Centennial Marker text
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Centennial Marker
Wheelock Centennial Marker
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008
See Texas Centennial

Wheelock Tx House
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Methodist Church
Wheelock Methodist Church
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx New Hope Baptist Church
Wheelock New Hope Baptist Church
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008
More Texas Churches

Wheelock Tx Store
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Closed House
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Cemetery Entry
Wheelock Cemetery Gate
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008

Wheelock Tx Cemetery
Wheelock Cemetery
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2008
More Texas Cemeteries

Water pump in Wheelock Cemetery
The cemetery is worthy of a visit and two inscribed stones (by the side entrance) show that the tidiness of the cemetery is a result of the efforts of three Wheelock citizens.

A scene in the Wheelock Cemetery

TE photo, 2001

Historical Marker:

Old Cavitt House

Republic of Texas homestead established when log cabin was built, 1836. Main house of hand finished lumber, begun in 1842, completed in present form 1854. During 1840s and 1850s was stage stop between Nacogdoches and San Antonio de Bexar. Cavitts were political followers of Sam Houston, friend and frequent guest here, who gave a desk to Volney Cavitt.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964

Wheelock Today, and FM391

Today, Wheelock has a well-kept post office complete with healthy rosebushes and the drive between Wheelock and Hearne on FM 391 is one of the most scenic and peaceful in this part of Texas.

A building behind a hedgerow appears to have been the Wheelock Masonic Lodge.
cows in central Texas

A scene between Wheelock and Hearne

TE photo, 2001

Wheelock, Texas Forum
Subject: Wheelock Texas
For years, my wife and I passed through Wheelock on our way to Franklin and Hwy 79 from Bryan and Benchly as well. Travelling down 391 towards Hearne [was] just as you expressed, the scenery and rolling hills on FM 391 can be very beautiful at certain times of the year. We just admired the drive and wished (dreamed) we could own some land like that someday.

Then one day recently, my wife and I answered an ad for property for sale. As it turned out, it was at Wheelock just North of the cemetery about a mile off FM 391. When the owner gave us a tour of the 100+ acres, we fell in love with it for the sizes of the cedars and other trees. In general the landscape itself, since we do trailriding horseback. This would offer a place to ride nearby without having to travel too far. We made an offer on the entire acerage, it was accepted and we now ride, cookout (over a campfire) and enjoy the peacefulness, the stars at night and the tranquility as we ride through the cedars, yaupon and towering oaks, through the creeks and up and down the creek bank.

It was interesting reading the brief history you gave of Wheelock. We somehow from somewhere already were aware that Wheelock actually narrowly escaped being the capital of Texas, something we are thankful for. We would love to learn more history of Wheelock and some of the earlier families. One day, we plan to live there and hope that progress and rural expansion doesn't overtake the serenity of the town and area before we get there. Thanks for the write up, "John" and Cindy Allen, August 27, 2006

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Central Texas South | Central Texas North

Wheelock, Texas Nearby Towns:
Franklin the county seat
See Robertson County

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