It’s been said that the earliest resident of Dripping Springs was a man named Fawcett who settled here sometime around 1849. In the early 1850’s, settlers had been farming in the nearby valleys of Little Barton and Onion Creeks. However, it’s the “Old Three” who brought prominence to Dripping Springs. Late in 1853, three families, bound by kinship, set out from Mississippi to Dripping Springs, arriving in January of 1854. They followed the road that carried supplies to Fort Martin Scott, the U.S. Army fort in Fredericksburg. Their wagons topped what is now called Wallace Mountain and they formed a frontier settlement. The three families were comprised of Dr. Joseph and Sarah Pound, John L. and Indiana (called “Nannie”) Moss and John Lee and Malvina Wallace. Sarah Pound and Indiana Moss were sisters.
Three years later, in 1857, John Moss was appointed the first postmaster. In order to have a post office, the community needed a name. His wife Nannie is credited for naming it after the “dripping springs” at the Milkhouse Branch of the Edwards Aquifer. This specific area consisted of lush, fern-covered limestone ledges which dripped water into the brook.
It was also a gathering place for the Tonkawa Indians and a source of water for settlers. This area of Dripping Springs is located at the west end of Mercer Street and is delineated by a granite marker.
The Namesake Marker was written by historian Robert E. Shelton and donated by the Lions Club. It reads: “Where the Tonkawa once prowled, the cool clear waters of the Edwards Aquifer burst forth along this brook (Milkhouse Branch) and drip musically from the lime-stone overhang. Around 1850, the Moss, Wallace and Ponds families settled near Dripping Springs. Mrs. Nannie Moss named the community and it became a stage stop and post office in 1857. The Pedernales Baptist Association operated a boarding school which grew out of an aborted attempt to establish a military academy. During this period (1880’s), a town was laid out with names for streets that were bordered by flagstone sidewalks in 1854.“
The “dripping springs” are located at the west end of Mercer Street, adjacent to the historic Marshall-Chapman house.
To visit the springs, park in the lot across from this marker and directly across from City Hall on the far east side of Mercer St. Take the cobblestone stairs down the creek bank and follow the dripping sounds upstream several yards to the fern-covered overhang where the springs emanate.
Throughout the years, several different areas of Dripping Springs have claimed to be the source for the city’s name. But, as of 1980, the springs along Milkhouse Creek have been declared the “original dripping springs.”
This beloved community is rich in history. Many of its older buildings and homes still exist, and they provide a peek into our past and tell the story of who Dripping Springs is today. In future blogs, we’ll continue to turn the clock back to the chapters of our town’s deep and storied history.