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J. C. Mueller Family - Part 6: First Home In Travis County

Part 6 of "The J. C. Mueller Family"

The J. C. Mueller Family

V. First Home In Travis County

There is very little information available about the J. C. Mueller family when they first arrived in Travis County. Aunt Pina, the first child born, was born on Aug. 28, 1875, in the Cedar Valley-Oak Hill area, according to family tradition. There are only a few legal records that establish where they were during the early years in Texas.

From the following transactions, their residence in the Oak Hill-Cedar Valley area for approximately ten years can be definitely established. On Nov. 1, 1875, "Charles Miller" bought 104 acres on Slaughter Creek in the C(orbett) Stephens Survey No. 63, for $700 from George Heissner (Vol.31, pp. 238-39, Travis County records, filed Jan. 5, 1876).

Almost ten years later, property in the City of Austin was purchased, and soon after their names appear in the city directory. The property on 23rd Street, 2.5 acres, was purchased on March 4, 1885, according to Travis County records.

On Jan. 30, 1886, "J. Charles Mueller" and "wife Louis" sold the Slaughter Creek property for $2000 to Thomas Nolen (Vol. 66, pp. 42-3, filed Feb.[?] 1, 1886, Travis County records).

The location of the J. C. Mueller home when they first came to Texas was in the Oak Hill-Cedar Valley section of Travis County. Aunt Tillie sometimes said that the land was poor for farming, and that if they had settled north of Austin, in the Pflugerville area (where there were other German farmers), they would have been much better off.

Apparently, part of the Slaughter Creek property was owned by the Young family in 1976. I had no idea of the actual location of the farm until 1976, when Mrs. Verna Young Covington (Mrs. Weldon Covington), mentioned that her mother had owned a farm that included a hill known as "Miller Hill." She said that they had always referred to the hill as "Miller Hill," but that she had never connected the name to the Mueller family. The farm was still owned in 1976 by Mrs. Covington's sister. That summer I drove out to the described area with sons Harold and Robert. Mrs. Covington had said that the remains of a stone house or foundation and a cistern could be found on the hill, but we were able to find only the remains of a stone fence. The hill was rather dense with cedar and other growth. The location of the farm and hill may be seen by driving nine miles south of Austin on US 290, turning left at FM 1826 (Camp Ben McCullough road or Driftwood), driving 2.6 miles, crossing Slaughter Creek, and driving up the hill to pass what seemed to be the apparent location of the farm on the right.

Ten years later, in February, 1986, my brother, Robert, and I drove out to the area again, this time with a topographical map. We found the area on the city side of Slaughter Creek to be under development, as "McKownville." Much had been cleared and hard top roads had been put in. The hill overlooking Slaughter Creek was still undeveloped, however. We found two old mailboxes on the highway, marked "Young" and "Paschal."

Nearby was a cattle guard for an unimproved road that seemed to follow the creek line. We followed the road and found a few houses and cattle pens. The road appears on the map.

Two days later I returned to the area and met O. B. McKown, Sr. and Jr., who are developing part of the area. The younger McKown seemed to think the Mueller tract had been east of the highway, in what he called the Hilscher tract. He seemed to think the road we had taken led to the Trautwein cemetery. He said that Paschal married a Young. He also said that Nolen had married a Trautwein. (See above; J. C. Mueller sold the property to a Nolen.)

In 1934, for Leo Mueller's 50th birthday party, a picture, supposedly of the Mueller farmhouse in Cedar Valley, was used for the invitation. The picture was used in a "now and then" comparison with the 1934 residence. However, it is not certain that this was actually the original house. [See note, below.] According to a lettered note on the picture, the house was built in the spring of 1877. This sounds reasonable, assuming that the property was bought in 1875. The folder states that Leo was born in "that section of Travis County that lies between Oak Hill and Cedar Valley." Six months later, the family "moved to Austin and established a home in the then prominent part of the town near the French Embassy but now known as Robertson Hill." This is similar to one of Aunt Tillie's comments, that they lived near Bickler School for three to six months while the house on 23rd Street was being built. (Bickler School formerly stood on the block bordered by Eleventh Street and East Avenue.)

Leo Mueller, Jr. ("Fritzi") said at one time that he thought the farm was sold in 1888, when the Muellers moved to the city, two years after Leo, Sr. was born. But 1888 would actually be four years after Leo, Sr. was born.

Since the Muellers' name first appears in Austin City Directories in the 1885-86 directory, it would seem that the 1888 date is incorrect, but that they actually did move "two" years after Leo's birth in 1884. This would make the date 1885 or 1886, which is confirmed by the city directory of 1885-86, when they are first listed as having a residence on "East Avenue north near city limits."

The obituary of Pina M. Bock states that the "family moved when she was nine years old." Since she was born Aug. 28, 1875, this would indicate 1884 as the year of the move. However, the obituary of Leo Mueller, Sr. reinforces the date of the move as 1885, in stating: "Born in Cedar Valley, Mueller was a life-long resident of Austin. His family moved here before he was a year old." (Saturday Statesman, June 9, 1962)

The obituary that appeared the next day, in the Sunday American, June 10, 1962, perpetuates the wrong year for Leo's birth. It states that he was born Aug. 23, 1894, but further states he had been an Austin resident for "77 years," an obvious impossibility if he had been born in 1894!

* * * * * *

Notes on census searches:

The 1880 Census for Travis County was checked by means of the Soundex code in the National Archives in 1984, and J. C. Mueller was not located. All "J" entries under M460, the code for Mueller, were checked in 1984, and all C's, J's, and L's were checked in 1985. (K's were not checked.)

In 1985, at the National Archives, I scanned the 1880 Census rolls, in particular, Precinct 3, but I found no Muellers. There are at least six precincts and the Austin wards listed in the roll. There may be some discrepancy between the County Precincts and what the census used as precinct designations in the city of Austin. County Precincts were, and are, Northeast Quadrant, Prec. 1; Northwest Quadrant, Prec. 2; Southwest Quadrant, Prec. 3; Southeast Quadrant, Prec. 4. The Slaughter Creek property would have been in Precinct 3. It is possible, of course, that they were missed by the census takers.

Carl Mayer [the elder] presumably was an Austin resident in 1880, and I have not located his name in the census rolls.

The 1880 Travis County Census is on Microfilm Roll 1329 (MR 1329) in the National Archives.

The 1890 census, for all intents and purposes, is lost, since it lists only a limited area and a limited number of people.

The Muellers are listed in the 1900 census (see Chapter VI, below).

An Additional Note on the "Original" Mueller House

In a telephone conversation on March 9, 1989, Fritzi stated that he thinks the picture used in the 1934 invitation is not the original house, and that his father used it for lack of any other. He thought it might have been a shack that stood on the lot where Leo built his home, 503 E. 16th Street. The picture may have also served as a family joke; Uncle Leo liked to tease Aunt Tillie about the picture being the original Mueller home, according to Fritzi.

As of APR. 3, 1989


Owner/SourceHarold Mueller
Date3 April 1989
Latitude30.2097015
Longitude-97.6982272
Linked toJohn Charles MUELLER; Louisa Friederike Wilhelmine SCHIRMER

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