Library Round Rock History Resources
Originally, Round Rock was not named Round Rock nor was it located where it is currently. Coincidence and fate combined to determine the location of Round Rock. The initial settlement of Brushy (as the town was originally called) was located near the banks of Brushy Creek at the natural fording area by the round rock.
The Brushy Creek Post Office was established in a section of Thomas C. Oatts' store on May 27, 1851. However in 1854, postal authorities asked Mr. Oatts to provide another name for the settlement (being that there was already a town in the State that called itself Brushy). Mr. Oatts decided to rename the town Round Rock in recognition of the large rock in the middle of Brushy Creek where he and Jacob Harrell spent much time sitting and fishing; thus on August 24, 1854, the name of Round Rock was officially given to the community (Scarbrough 310).
The coming of the International and Great Northern Railroad in 1876 forced the commercial area of Round Rock to move to the east, leaving the original settlement to be referred to as Old Town forever more. Today, the area has special historical interest and several businesses have restored and then located their shops in these buildings. The restoration of this area can be seen as being an attempt to emphasize the historic past of the City of Round Rock.
Part of the history and lore of Round Rock involves the Chisholm Trail, one of the famed routes for transporting cattle to distribution points in the Midwest in the mid-nineteenth century. Jesse Chisholm laid out his trail in 1865: starting on the Canadian River near present day Yukon, Oklahoma, the trail proceeded north to Wichita, Kansas. The original purpose of the trail was to provide a way to freight goods north in order to trade with the Indians. In 1866, Jesse took a wagon train of goods plus 250 head of cattle over the same trail and the Chisholm Trail was born (Scarbrough 198).
Since the actual Chisholm Trail began north of Round Rock and Williamson County, the branch of the trail that went through Round Rock was not actually part of the Chisholm Trail but merely a feeder. However, over the years, by common practice, all trails that fed into the Chisholm Trail came to be called the Chisholm Trail and had as their objective the same purpose, the transportation of cattle from the grazing lands in the Southwest to the markets in the Midwest.