Nolanville, Texas

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Nolanville is a city in Bell County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,150 at the 2000 census. It is part of the KilleenTempleFort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Back in the 1840s, the valley along Nolan Creek was a fertile spot where native grass grew four to six feet high with only a few settlers. On a clear day, the pioneers could see forever, if they were facing west. There was an unbroken view as far as the eye range reached. When facing east, their view was cut off by the sheer Nolan bluff where Indians had once lived and where a few Red Faces still appeared from time to time.

The valley provided the settlers with plenty of spring water from the mountains, and plenty of timber. The settlers would cut and hew the native timber with their axes to build their houses and barns, and then chink the cracks between the logs with clay. The timber was also used for fencing. The timber also helped the settlers avoid the Indians who were making raids on white settlers in the area.

The settlers grew their own crops, furnishing plenty for their families. They raised livestock on the grass of the valley and on the acorns and pecans that grew native to the area. To provide meat for the table, "hog killings" were held and sometimes a fat beef was slaughtered. Each family took home the meat from the animals bearing the family's brand. There were also plenty of wild deer and smaller game as well as lots of fish. Honey could be found in many hollow or "bee" trees and small patches of sorghum cane grew in the area.

Home remedies were a necessity to the early settlers because the nearest doctor might be many miles away, and the only means of transportation was by ox wagon or horseback. Pioneer women also did their own spinning and weaving. Candles, made from rendering the tallow of butchered cattle, provided light. The fireplace not only furnished heat, but often used for cooking as well.

After a few more families moved in, a one-room log school house was built just west of where the Pleasant Hill Cemetery is located. The teacher was paid from the subscriptions collected from the parents. The school term was during the three months of summer.

The Civil War took some of the men away, but those who did return began to build and improve the community. The last Indian raid took place about 1875 when a group of 25 or so Indians came through stealing horses. A posse chased them, but lost the trail.

One of the first stores was located three or four miles east of Nolanville. It was call Peeler Store. Prior to that all groceries and other supplies were bought at Belton. A few years later a grocery store opened named Grange.

That was Nolanville without a name . . . or with its earliest names of Warren Station and McDowell.

About 1880 talk began about the community possibly getting a railroad through town. The settlers had mixed feeling about this, particularly the ones who owned land through which the line would pass. Finally the right-of-way was secure, and on February 20, 1882, the first passenger train puffed through the community with its small coal-burning engine pulling only a few cars. (Passenger service was discontinued in 1968.) This was a sight which few of the settlers, children or adult, had ever seen. The first special train which ran to Lampasas picked up passengers all along the way.

The railroad company then built a depot and named the site "Warren", after a previous land owner who still owned some acreage east of the station. The village soon began to grow and the Grange store moved from its former location to a site near the depot. A post office was established, but when the name of Warren was submitted, it was learned that another post office already had that name. Since the community was on the banks of Nolan Creek, the name Nolanville was chosen. Other historians insist it took Belton's discarded name in order to preserve it. Nolanville had been the old name for Belton before the latter became county seat in 1852. Once the post office was changed to Nolanville, the railroad company changed the name of its station also.

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