Cedar Chopping in Central Texas
Marker Text: Soon after Texas became a republic in 1836, the government divided land in this area for settlement. Ample timber, fresh water sources and wildlife attracted many to establish communities along Brushy Creek. The Legislature organized these settlements in the creation of Williamson County, carved from Milam County in 1848. During the 1850s, most pioneer area families operated small farms or businesses, and cattle ranching began to grow in the area. In the 1870s and 1880s, following economic hardships of the Civil War, Texas cattle ranchers began to drive stock through this area to markets outside the state. Residents also turned to cotton production, the raising of sheep and goats, and the harvesting of ashe juniper, known locally as cedar.
With four rail lines built through the county by the 1890s, residents utilized the railroad for shipping products, including cedar ties for rail line construction. The wood was also used for fence posts, roofing shingles, foundation piers and telephone poles, as well as the manufacture of cedar charcoal, which had a variety of commercial applications.
The term cedar chopper applied to harvesters and their families, who moved from camp to camp for their work. Cedar chopping was a significant factor in the development of the county and its economy well into the twentieth century. It supported charcoal kilns, timber yards and camps, such as one located at this site, leased from 1905 to 1908 by A.F. Martin & Brother. Site investigations here indicated archeological remains of a temporary camp and dugout structure. Today, the impact of cedar choppers and their work is apparent in the successful communities throughout the area, which developed in part because of their industry. (2005)
Marker No: 13201
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 30.484818, -97.790855
Location: On Staked Plain Drive near intersection with Carolina Lane, Austin