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In June 1880, Independence
was a town of
424 people—
the United States census taker enumerating
291 white,
112 black, and
21 mulatto
When Baylor classes were in session, the population would increase by at least 100 people, maybe even double that, with the addition of out-of-town students, professors, and entire families who moved into town for the scholastic year.



n March 9, 1880, the Independence correspondent of the Brenham newspaper reported, "A peripatetic photographer has been here securing shadows, ere the substance fades." Thanks to that nameless photographer, we have the only image known to exist of Independence, Texas, in the 19th century.

The photographer took his picture from the Baylor campus on Windmill Hill (the approximate location of the reconstructed bell tower) and pointed his camera towards the northeast. The image he captured shows a collection of buildings that were built before the Civil War. Although some properties had changed owners after the war, physically, the town itself had changed very little. The road in the foreground—in front of the Robertson House—was the primary road in and out of Independence.

Some of these landmarks can still be seen in the village today.
Click on the images below for more information.

Mrs. Sam Houston House
Adobe House
General Jerome B. Robertson House
Town Square

Find where these sites are located on our Independence Map.

Return to TOURING INDEPENDENCE to see other historic sites.

1880 photo: The Texas Collection, Baylor University. Other photos: Ellen Beasley. Research and content by Ellen Beasley.

Independence Preservation Trust
Twenty Briar Hollow Lane
Houston, Texas 77027-2893
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