Backbone Valley

Fairland is on Farm Road 1855 six miles north of Marble Falls in Burnet County. In the early 1850s a group of families from the eastern states settled on a strip of level land between Backbone Ridge and the Slaughter range, which they called "fair land." Early settlers were the R. S. Cates family in 1852 and the Lewis Thomas family. Others included John Harvey, a surveyor, Jefferson Barton, and the Atwoods, Grahams, Slaughters, Joys, Reeds, Alexanders, B. E. Fergusons, and Chessers. In 1859 Mrs. Senia Barton Harvey deeded land for a Methodist church and a school. The settlers soon began work on a stone building but were stopped by the Civil War, when many of the men left to fight. The building was not completed until 1870. Rev. Arter Crownover, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, held the first service, and a school was begun. On July 13, 1872, the third quarterly Methodist conference for Lampasas, Bear Creek Circuit, named the house and lot Crownover Chapel. When the church was finished, the community had a picnic. An extra wooden room was subsequently added to the rock building and used for the school for many years.

In 1875 a Christian Church was built in Fairland. In 1887 a Church of Christ was built. The congregation eventually ceased to meet and in 1937 began to meet in homes. Eventually the members joined with a group in Marble Falls. The first local post office was opened in 1874 and called Backbone Valley. The post office named Fairland opened in 1890 and was discontinued in 1951, when a Marble Falls rural route served the community. In 1925 Fairland had an estimated population of 200. By 1939 the number of residents had dropped to fifty. The population was consistently estimated at fifty through the mid-1960s. The Fairland and Tobey schools were consolidated in 1937, and they joined the Marble Falls schools after 1943. The old rock church building was still maintained by the Fairland community and interested friends and used for community purposes in the late 1980s. The Fairland Cemetery located on the seven-acre plot with the building was also still in use. The earliest grave is dated 1857. Fairland was listed as a community in 1990, but without population statistics. In 2000 the population was 290.

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Estelle Bryson | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Backbone Valley is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Backbone Valley is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Fairland)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated