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photo: country road Just Outside Austin: Rural Travis County Communities

Travis County | North Travis County | Pflugerville
Northeast Travis County | Manor | East Travis County | Sprinkle | Hunters Bend
Manchaca | West Travis County | Northwest Travis County | Wheatville
Photograph of Manor, Texas in 1889
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Located twelve miles northeast of Austin in one of the earliest areas of Travis County to be settled, Manor's first residents, primarily farmers attracted to the rich fertile soil of the blackland prairies, began arriving in the 1830s. Webberville, a stagecoach stop located to the south of Manor, was its major rival. During Reconstruction, when the path of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad was being determined, both communities vied for the privilege of having the railroad pass through them. James Manor's offer of land helped turn the decision in Manor's favor, and the growing trade center for the surrounding agricultural area was officially named in honor of its benefactor. With almost 500 households in 1901, it was the second largest city in Travis County.
Photograph of James Manor James Manor first came to Texas in 1832 with Sam Houston, who had been commissioned by U.S. President Andrew Jackson to negotiate treaties with Texas Indian tribes. Manor's family had moved from North Carolina to Tennessee shortly after Manor's birth in 1804, and it was there that Manor first became acquainted with Houston. The two remained lifelong friends, and Houston frequently visited the Manor home. In 1836 Manor returned to Texas with his family and settled an area on Gilleland Creek approximately one half mile from what was eventually to become the city of Manor.
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Photograph of John Augustus Hill William Hickman Hill, Sr. settled three miles northwest of Manor in 1852. The move from Tennessee to Texas was prompted by the ill health of his son, William Hickman Hill, Jr. Although the elder Hill died in 1853, William Hickman Hill, Jr. continued to live in the Manor area for another 45 years. Hill family descendants include former Austin City Council member Lowell Lebermann, developer Walter Carrington, and Tracor founder Frank McBee, Jr. Pictured here is John Augustus Hill, a son of William Hickman Hill, Jr. on his farm near Manor.
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Photograph of children sitting on steps of residence Pictured here are Francis and John McBee, and Gus and Jane Hill, all great-grandchildren of William Hickman Hill, Sr.
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"I looked at a number of places and finally made a purchase of 738 acres of good prairie land with 50 acres in cultivation, a comfortable framed dwelling and outhouses, a creek running through the tract with a sufficiency of fine wood and some rail timber, and a never failing spring...the whole cost me $4,500 which is something less than $6 per acre…I have been in 12 counties in Texas and I believe the lands I have seen are generally equally as rich as the best lands in middle Tennessee--the soil is deep, black and coarse-grained with very small white specks which they say is lime, for one or two days after a rain it is rather unpleasant walking as the mud is very sticky. I have seen wagon wheels become almost solid like a truck wheel, but the ground soon becomes settled and the roads are fine except at the crossing of water--there is one advantage in this waxy land (as some call it) it never becomes dusty even in the driest times…"

William Hickman Hill to his Cousin Joel, March 26, 1853
Photograph of John Gill Wheeler residence John Gill Wheeler and his brother Thomas Benton Wheeler arrived in Texas with their parents in 1854. After the Civil War, Thomas married James Manor's daughter, Kitty, and pursued a political career, first as a mayor of the City of Austin and later as a lieutenant governor for the State of Texas. John Gill Wheeler settled near Manor and erected a store there. The post office was located in the store, and, for a brief period, the area became known as "Wheeler's Store." In this photo, Wheeler and his family pose in front of their Victorian home.
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Photograph of students standing Parsons Seminary building Parsons Seminary was organized in 1857 by civic-minded Manorites interested in providing for the education of their children. James Manor was one of the first board of trustee members. Although it was initially a school for girls only, it became a coed institution. Included in the regulations for 1889-90 was the admonition for pupils to avoid "bringing or using tobacco on the grounds." In 1890 the building and its grounds were deeded to the Manor Public School.
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"Manor is beautifully and healthfully situated, surrounded by considerable material wealth. It is remarkably free from evil influences; no bad places of resort, no vicious element. These advantages cannot be overestimated."

Manor Parsons Seminary Report for 1888-1889
Photograph of man exercising horse on a lead The Depression and the post-war trend of shifting economic trade from smaller markets to larger nearby markets ended Manor's prosperity as an agricultural trade center. Today Manor's future is more closely tied to and dependent upon the actions of its larger nearby neighbor. Manor Downs, once the location of Willie Nelson's Farm Aid Concert, is the closest venue for pari-mutuel racing in Travis County.
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