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History

History

Before the 19th century, the history of Wimberley was that of the native tribes that roamed the countryside setting up semi-permanent camps along the streams. The area doesn’t boast any cave paintings or cliff art from these early residents, but one can still find evidence of their tenure in the stone tools that they left behind and in the charred limestone of their campfire sites. Fish and game were plentiful, with buffalo and deer in abundance.

As a result of the Texas Revolution in 1836 and the period of the Republic from 1836 to 1845, veterans of Texas’ conflicts received bounties in the form of land in Central Texas. Settlers started moving into the Hill Country after 1845 because the land was available and cheap, and the numerous springs and streams made the area attractive for small farms and ranches.

In 1846, San Marcos was newly incorporated and claimed fewer than 500 inhabitants. Seventeen miles to the northwest was the small community of Glendale. This village of hardy, generally poor settlers would one day become Wimberley.

veteran memorial

William C. Winters, a veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto, moved with his family into the Blanco River valley right after 1850. Winters immediately saw the potential of harnessing the water power of Cypress Creek for mills. He built a saw mill and a grist mill on Cypress Creek, making the newly named town of Winters’ Mill the social—if not the commercial center—for miles around.

With the coming of the Civil War in 1861, many of the male residents of the little community at the junction of Cypress Creek and the Blanco River answered the call and enlisted in the service of the Confederacy. Those who remained at home contributed by making charcoal on the banks of the Blanco and by hauling tons of bat guano (used in the manufacture of gunpowder) from local caves and packing it, along with charcoal, on mules to Confederate contractors in San Marcos and Austin.

When Winters died in 1864, ownership of his mills was passed on to his son-in-law, John Cude. Cude rebuilt the saw mill, which had been damaged in a flood, and the settlement became known as Cude’s Mill.

Pleasant Wimberley moved to Cude’s Mill from Blanco County in the 1870s, bringing with him his large family. Wimberley bought the mill complex from John Cude, changing the community’s name once again. This time, it was Wimberley’s Mill.

In 1880, the town applied for a post office and submitted the name “Wimberleyville” to the Post Office Department, which quickly dropped the “ville” from the name, and the town became Wimberley. At that time Wimberley was home to four mills and a cotton gin. The mills were passed down through the Wimberley family and sold to John Will Pyland in 1907. By 1912, there was not enough water flow in Cypress Creek to support the mills and a gasoline engine was installed. The mill, located on the site of the present Ozona National Bank, operated until 1925.

Besides its mills, the industry of the Wimberley Valley has over the years included cotton, goats, sheep and cattle. With the rise of the livestock industry, cedar became the scourge of the valley and gave rise to a new industry—cedar chopping.

In the period during and immediately after World War II, Texans began discovering Wimberley as the perfect spot for summer homes or weekend “camps.” They built camp houses of native stone and cedar with large screened porches to take advantage of the cool breezes coming off of the creeks and the river. As Wimberley turned 100 years old, tourism became the primary industry of the area.

For the past half century, Wimberley has continued to welcome visitors who find the cool waters and green cypress shade as alluring as did native Americans who once occupied the banks of Cypress Creek and the Blanco. d

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