Seiders Oaks

Historical Period: Republic of Texas (1836-1845)
Historical Topic: Frontier Settlements
Species: Texas Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
County: Travis
Public Access: Yes

Shortly after construction of the new capital city at Austin began in 1839, Gideon White moved his family to the new settlement and built a log cabin near a fine spring on Shoal Creek. While passing through a live oak grove, less than a quarter mile from his cabin in the spring of 1842, White was set upon by a band of mounted Indians. He fought valiantly from behind one of the large live oaks and killed at least one of his attackers before being killed himself. The marks of a number of arrows and bullets which hit the tree were visible for many years. White was one of several residents of the Austin area who were massacred by the Indians that year.

Four years after his death, White's daughter, Louisa Maria, married Edward Seiders, who was then engaged in the livery and grocery businesses in Austin. For a time they lived in her father's cabin at the springs, which became known as Seiders Springs, and the nearby oak grove as Seiders Oaks.

After the election of 1850, when Austin was again selected as the seat of government, the capital's growth increased. The Seiders family was among Austin's new residents that year. In 1865, General George Custer and his men camped under the sheltering live oaks at Seiders Springs.

By the 1870s, Seiders Springs had become a popular recreation spot. Seiders erected bath houses, picnic tables, and a dance pavilion at the Springs which bore his name. He even provided for his patrons a means of transportation to and from town.

The Seiders Oaks are located at Seiders Springs, now a pleasant city park along Shoal Creek, between 34th and 38th Streets, in Austin.