Paula Mitchell Marks

ROCKNE, TEXAS. Rockne, twelve miles southwest of Bastrop in southwestern Bastrop County, has its origins in German settlers such as the Lehman family who arrived around 1846. The original parish included the Meuth community but was later divided into two parishes, and seven families began worship at the Rockne site. The first mass in Rockne was held at Phillip Goertz's home in 1876, and the next year Goertz and his wife, Catherine, with Michael and Rebecca Wolf, donated the site upon which the first church was built. The church burned in 1891. The second church was built on ten acres donated by John T. and Rosina Lehman and dedicated in 1892. By this time a small community had sprung up on the Rockne site. It was first called Walnut Creek, then Lehman or Lehmanville. In 1900 St. Elizabeth's School opened; its name was later changed to Sacred Heart. Lehman had a post office from 1900 to 1903, but it later became known as Hilbigville for W. M. Hilbig, a member of an area pioneer family, who established a business in the community in 1922. Rockne received its present name after Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne's death in 1931, when the schoolchildren of the community voted to rename their town in his honor. In 1935 Rockne was identified as an agricultural and cattle-raising community profiting from the development of surrounding oilfields. In 1940 the third Rockne Catholic church was dedicated on the site of the one dedicated in 1892. In the 1940s the population ranged between 150 and 280. By 1950 it had stabilized at 150. By 1976, when the Rockne church was renovated, the population of the community had grown to 400; it remained 400 through 2000. On March 10, 1988, Rockne opened its post office for one day, during which a Knute Rockne twenty-two-cent commemorative stamp was issued.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. D. L. Vest, Watterson Folk of Bastrop County (Waco: Texian Press, 1963).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Paula Mitchell Marks, "ROCKNE, TX," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox