Independence in Washington County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
A College Town
On March 18, 1846, twenty-four students began their studies at Baylor University on Academy Hill, just west of here. That site remained the sole campus until 1851, when the men were moved to Windmill Hill. Although students attended classes on their respective campus, there was a lively exchange between the campuses and the town.
Baylor students patronized the stores and businesses on the Town Square and attended Independence Baptist Church. When the University first opened, out-of-town students boarded with local families for $10 to $12 a month. Eventually, dormitories were built on both campuses but some students continued to stay in private homes.
In September 1879, Baylor President William Carey Crane reported an enrollment of 70 male students of which, "seventeen ... board with the president; twelve board elsewhere; sixteen are pupils whose parents are temporarily residing at Independence for educational purposes; ten ride horseback 2 to 6 miles; fifteen are children of old citizens." The 80 students enrolled the same semester in Baylor Female College included 28 boarders.
In the mid-1850s, the Robertson family moved to a nearby plantation and most likely rented this house, which was typical of property owners in the area. "The Robertson Place," as it was known locally, was bought and sold several times during the last quarter of the 19th century. In 1904, Jessie and Sophie Colbert, an African American family, purchased the property. Their descendants sold it in 1998. The house was renovated in 2003-2004 and repositioned on the lot.
Jerome B. Robertson migrated to Texas from Kentucky in 1836, and took an active political and military role in the Texas Independence movement. He served in both houses of the Texas legislature in the late 1840s. During the Civil War, he became a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, serving eighteen months as commander of the famous Hood's Texas Brigade. He fought with his brigade in the battles at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga. Robertson and his son, Felix (1839-1928), are frequently cited as one of two father-son generals in the Civil War—the other is General Robert E. Lee and sons.
General Jerome B. Robertson (1815-1890)
Octagonal House, built 1856-59 on Windmill Hill, was the President's house and dormitory for male students.
Welcome to Independence, Texas. Founded in 1835, this town is rich in history. Walk the one-mile loop and drive a short distance to learn about early Texas history, Sam Houston, pioneer homes, historic churches, old plantations, and more!
"The Robertson Place" appears in the foreground of this 1880 photograph taken from the approximate location of the reconstructed bell tower on Windmill Hill.
Erected by Baylor University.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Education. A significant historical date for this entry is March 18, 1846.
Location. 30° 18.995′ N, 96° 20.719′ W. Marker is in Independence, Texas, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Farm to Market Road 50 and Hood Hotel Road. The marker is located at the northeast section of the Baylor Park at Windmill Hill. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brenham TX 77833, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Baylor's Survival— (a few steps from this marker); Baylor University Campus on Windmill Hill: (a few steps from this marker); Baylor University's First Years (a few steps from this marker); Founding of Baylor University (a few steps from this marker); In Recognition of the Land Donations to Baylor (a few steps from this marker); Windmill Hill (a few steps from this marker); Home Built in 1845 by General Jerome B. Robertson (within shouting distance of this marker); Houston Hall (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Independence.
Also see . . .
1. Baylor University.
Baylor University owes its founding to Robert E. B. Baylor, James Huckins, and William Milton Tryon, who in 1841 organized an education society in the Texas Union Baptist Association with the purpose of establishing a Baptist university in Texas. Source: The Handbook of Texas(Submitted on February 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
2. General Jerome B. Robertson.
Despite much hardship and privation, Robertson eventually studied medicine at Transylvania University, where he graduated in 1835. As lieutenant in a company of Kentucky volunteers, he offered his services in the Texas Revolution, but the volunteers were delayed in New Orleans and did not arrive in Texas until September 1836. Source: The Handbook of Texas(Submitted on February 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.)
Credits. This page was last revised on February 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 83 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.