Since its original printing in 1952, the publication of the Handbook of Texas has been made possible through the support of its users. As an independent nonprofit, TSHA relies on your contributions to close the funding gap for the online Handbook and keep it a freely accessible resource for users worldwide. Please make a donation today to preserve the most comprehensive encyclopedic resource on Texas history. Donate Today »


BEAR CREEK (Hays County). Bear Creek rises eight miles northwest of Hays in northern Hays County (at 30°12' N, 97°59' W) and flows southeast for 16½ miles to its mouth on Onion Creek, a mile south of Manchaca in Travis County (at 30°08' N, 97°49' W). The stream is intermittent in its upper reaches. It flows over limestone and chalky soils in which Ashe juniper and live oak trees grow. From 1852 to 1872 Bear Creek was the site of Johnson Institute, perhaps the first Texas secondary school west of the Colorado River. After World War II the facilities of the old institute were renovated and developed by Walter Prescott Webb for Friday Mountain Ranch.

Tula Townsend Wyatt, Historical Markers in Hays County (San Marcos, Texas: Hays County Historical Commission, 1977).

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, "BEAR CREEK (HAYS COUNTY)," accessed August 18, 2018,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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