Log Cabin Oaks

Historical Period: Early Statehood (1845-1861)
Historical Topic: County Courthouses, Religious Freedom
Species: Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)
County: Hays
Public Access: Yes

Under these remnants of a live oak grove, situated near the west bank of the San Marcos River, early settlers built a log cabin which served as the first school and as a community center at San Marcos for more than a quarter century.

When Hays County was created and organized in 1848, the cabin served still another purpose—as the county's first courthouse. The first district court was held in the cabin in 1850.

In 1853 a Presbyterian church and a Masonic lodge were organized in the cabin, and four years later a Baptist church was also organized there.

Meanwhile, in 1851, the county seat was laid off by General Edward Burleson, Dr. Eli T. Merriman, and William Lindsey. Ten years later, Hays County citizens had erected a courthouse on the square several blocks west of these old oaks.

About a block north of the oaks, recruits for Colonel Peter C. Wood's regiment of the Confederate Army camped and drilled in 1862. The old cabin was then used as Captain James G. Storey's Company A headquarters. Two blocks east is the famous Kissing Oak, where Senator Sam Houston made one of his initial gubernatorial campaign speeches in 1857.

The old cabin's longevity was probably due to its construction of durable cedar, cypress and elm logs, which were plentiful along the river. At first, the cabin had a dirt floor, but later a floor of split logs, or puncheons, was installed.

Much of the early history of Hays County was enacted in the shade of these historic oaks, many of which were damaged when the cabin was destroyed by fire in 1874. Still other trees in the grove were removed when a street was widened.

The Log Cabin Oaks and a historical marker are on the 300 block of Moon Street, in San Marcos.