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Alice J. Rhoades

ADAMSVILLE, TEXAS. Adamsville is at the junction of U.S. Highway 281 and Farm Road 581, on the Lampasas River 16½ miles north of Lampasas in northern Lampasas County. It was founded around 1856. Early ranchers in the area included Joseph Leland Straley, who built one of the first houses in the area, and the brothers Jasper and Perry Townsen. During the 1870s a number of small cattle drives were organized in the community, in which cattle were driven short distances to join the larger cattle trails to the north. In 1872 Jasper Townsen built a mill on Mill Branch, near the spot where the creek joins the Lampasas River, two miles southeast of the current town. This mill was originally established to saw lumber from the Round Rock area; eventually a mill for wheat and corn was added, and the mills served communities throughout the entire county.

One of the earliest stores was operated by McCall Smith, a Presbyterian minister, and John Adams. A second general store was located near the mills; when a post office was established in this store in 1876, with Perry Townsen as the first postmaster, the community took the name Townsen Mills. Some of the first public surveying in Lampasas County was carried out on nearby Simms Creek in the late 1870s, and the surveyors suffered several Indian attacks while carrying out their work. Adamsville's first church, the Cumberland Presbyterian, was established in 1881. In 1885 the first local school, called Straley's School, was built north of town; this building also doubled as a church for the Baptists and the Presbyterians.

On January 1, 1891, Perry Townsen, who helped his brother run the mills, was killed in an accident. Jasper Townsen then asked that the post office be moved, and it was transferred to the second store in town and renamed Adamsville after John Adams, who was by that time the store's sole proprietor. Townsen eventually sold the mill, and the entire building was moved to Hamilton County. By that time, however, Adamsville had several other mills in operation.

In 1918 a new school building was erected; it burned on March 27, 1942. Due to the wartime shortage of building materials, the town obtained an existing school building from Mount View and moved it to Adamsville. As of 1974 the town had two churches, several stores, a cafe, and a locker plant. The population remained fairly stable at seventy-five to 100 from the mid-1880s to the early 1930s. In 1933 an estimate of ten was reported in the Texas Almanac. By 1941 the population had risen again. It continued at 150 to 200 until 1961, at which time it began to decline slowly. It was reported as twenty-eight in 1972 and 1990. In 2000 the population was forty-one.

Jonnie Ross Elzner, Relighting Lamplights of Lampasas County, Texas (Lampasas: Hill Country, 1974). Kathleen E. and Clifton R. St. Clair, eds., Little Towns of Texas (Jacksonville, Texas: Jayroe Graphic Arts, 1982).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Alice J. Rhoades, "ADAMSVILLE, TX," accessed July 11, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hna08.

Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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