ANDERSON MILL - HISTORICAL SKETCH

 

In the late 1850's, Thomas and Lucy Anderson found a veritable paradise here by the shores of Cypress Creek.  They had come by oxen from Pennsylvania, by way of Virginia, and were looking for a good place to build a home and raise a family.  Here he found water, wood, and game in abundance, as well as plenty of stone in the hills for building.

 

In 1863, Anderson took up residence on a 40 acre site on Cypress Creek that had been designated as the Travis Powder Company by the Texas Military Board. Here with the help of his sons, Abe and Ed, he built a home for their family, as well as a mill to create gunpowder for the Confederacy. Saltpeter, one of the main ingredients in gunpowder, was tediously extracted from bat guano, which was in ample supply in nearby caves. After the war, Anderson converted the gunpowder mill to a gristmill, and farmers came from miles around to have their corn ground, sometimes having to camp near the mill for several days to wait their turn.

 

By 1941 the mill was in ruins, and its remains were hauled away to prepare for the inundation of the waters of Lake Travis after the completion of Mansfield Dam.  The original site is now under the waters of the lake. Volente, five miles west of the Anderson Mill, became the center of neighborhood activities.  It acquired a Post Office in 1886 that remained there until 1909.  Abe Anderson's wife, the former Allie Cluck, was the Postmistress.

 

Their daughter, Minnie, carried mail by horseback from that post office.  She later became Mrs. H.P. Hensel and was an early member of the Anderson Mill Gardeners, which was formed in 1955.  She remained a member until her death in 1989 at the age of 102. A replica of the original mill was built in 1966, and dedicated as "Miss Minnie's Mill" in 1986.

 

When the newly formed Anderson Mill Gardeners needed a permanent meeting place, Mr. J. F. Robinson graciously donated funds to erect a building. It was built in 1961.  He dedicated it to his wife, Ada Zilker Robinson, who was a charter member of the club.  It is known as Robinson Hall, and the Gardeners held their first meeting there on Dec. 14, 1961.  He donated a second building, which was dedicated as "The Mrs. J.F. Robinson Museum" on Oct. 1, 1972.  The care and maintenance of the Mill and Museum have become a major project of the Anderson Mill Gardeners.

 

 The land where the entire complex was built was donated by Bob and Marty Schulze and Tom and Daphene Schulze in memory of their Mother - Mrs. ANNA SCHULZE. Marty and Daphene were both early members of the club, though not Charter Members.

 

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