The Rockwall County Historical Foundation Museum is located in the Manson-LaMoreaux-Hartman House in Harry Myers Park on Washington Street. The museum features displays with artifacts and memorabilia from Rockwall County residents.
Wednesday 10 am – 2 pm
Saturday 10 am – 2 pm
Other hours by appointment
Admission is FREE
Rockwall Museum plaque – Photo: Planet Rockwall
Rockwall County was established in 1873 after residents of the north part of Kaufman County complained that the county seat was too far to travel in order to do business at the courthouse especially in cold and wet weather. C. L. Jones and Col. Griffith traveled to Austin in 1873 and obtained the charter for the county. The county was named for the underground formation of rock wall as was the city of Rockwall. The county was a part of Henderson County and before that Nacogdoches County before it became a part of Kaufman County. It is the smallest county in Texas.
The area that is now Rockwall County was a part of Mercer’s Colony, named for Charles Finton Mercer of Virginia. A graduate of Princeton, he became interested in Texas in 1841. He came to Peter’s Colony (Dallas area) in 1843, was given impresario rights to bring in 100 families in three years for his colony. He brought in only 108 people in a few years. He was one of first colonizers of Kaufman-Rockwall County. The area starts at McKinney, goes to Cumby, to Athens, to Cedar Creek, to Waco area, to Peters Colony, to McKinney. ‘(Information came from Pat Costello of Forney, historian.) Many people started to Peter’s Colony and when they got to the East Fork of the Trinity River could not cross due to flooding and then stayed in Mercer’s Colony.
The City of Rockwall was named for the rock formation underground after the town founders could not agree on naming the town after one of them, Boydstun, Bowles, and Elgin. The town was plated in 1854. The first settlers came to the area in the 1840’s.
Royse City was named for G. B. Royse who platted the town site in 1886 after the MK&T Railroad had come through. Nancy McCasland, a widow, is considered the founder of the town in about 1849.
Heath was named for an early settler, E. C. Heath. It was first called Black Hills, then Willow Springs. The Heath area
drew the first settlers to what is now Rockwall County. The first post office for Rockwall County was located in Mr. J. O. Heath’s cabin. It was first called Trinity, Forks of Trinity, and Black Hills. J. O. was E. C.’s father who received a land grant of 620 Acres in Mercer’s in 1846.
Fate was first known as Barnes, named after Dr. W. T. Barnes who owned the land before dividing it into lots. When the MK&T railroad came through the small town, it began to grow and drew citizens from Old Fate as the railroad did not run by that town. This was in 1886. The official document for the name change occurred in February 1887.
Rockwall History © 2009, 2010 Rockwall County Historical Foundation
Panorama photo (top): courtesy of Jack Palmer Photography