The Blevins-Austin Wagon Train Trip

Rising Fawn, GA (Dade County) to Grapevine, TX 1870

In mid year 1870 a group of Blevins, Austins, and various relatives decided to make the move to Texas after receiving letters from family and friends who had gone before them. They chose Stephen Blevins Austin to lead the wagon train because he was known for his ability to read the river (know what it was about to do). They would have to ford the Mississippi River at the lowest possible Time.

Stephen Blevins Austin Oct. 4, 1817 Alabama led a wagon train of fourteen covered wagons, several carts and three men on horseback from Rising Fawn, Ga. to what is now Whites Chapel.

They left Rising Fawn in Sept. 1870 and arrived at the Grapevine location on Christmas Day 1870. In one of those wagons was my Grandmother Willie Ella Austin Hill 6-20-1870-11-22-1955, with her parents William Rhodes Austin Dec. 17, 1840-Oct. 9, 1930) and her mother Elizabeth Tatum Austin Dec. 1, 1842-March 9, 1911.

William Rhodes was pulling his wagon with a pair of oxen, some of the people were using horses, mules, oxen or anything available to pull the wagons. They loaded all their belongings household goods, clothes, tools, anything they needed to survive in new homes into their wagons formed a train and started to Texas. I was never told this but I would imagine there were cows tied to the wagons to furnish milk to the travelers, there were no corner stores. When they reached the flat land west of Whites Chapel they stopped and started a settlement. The Austins and Blevins bought many acres of land there and started their business of making homes in Texas. The homes, barns, smoke houses (for meat) and other buildings were made of wooden logs that the men cut in nearby woods. There was part of a log barn built by Rhodes Austin still standing on a plot of ground on the corner of Hwy. 1709 and Shady Oaks Dr. in 1967.

Rhodes Austin was a Lay Minister for the Methodist Church he had the people of the new community gather at his home for worship services until they could organize a church. The church was organized and built in 1871. It was named Whites Chapel and the community assumed that name. It is still Whites Chapel half way between Keller and Grapevine. Rhodes was a blacksmith and had brought all his tools with him from Georgia. He started doing blacksmith work in Whites Chapel.

Frances L. Anderson TX 76244


  1. earleene gass prevatt

    I have wondered how they managed all that back then,my aunt Rhoda gass & JAMES WILKINSON & FAMILY WERE ON THAT TRIP.THEY STAID OUT THERE.,their granddaughter Claudette smith is doing genealogy on family now




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