Round Top, one of the smallest incorporated communities in Texas, is on the old La Bahía Road between La Grange and Brenham in Fayette County. The earliest settlers were Englishmen who came to the area from other parts of the United States. The family of Stephen Townsend arrived from Florida in 1826, and the name Townsend was the first to be associated with the site of Round Top. The family established a Presbyterian church, Florida Chapel, and founded a Masonic lodge. The Townsend family had the distinction of sending more men to the battle of San Jacinto than any other family. Joel Robinson, another Round Top resident, was the captor of Antonio López de Santa Anna. His father, John Robinson, was a member of the First Congress of Texas. John Rice Jones, Jr., settled in the Round Top area in 1831 and in 1835 was made the first postmaster general of Texas by the provisional government (see POSTAL SYSTEM OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS). Other important names associated with the earliest settlers were Taylor, Ledbetter, and Alexander. The Ledbetter land was the site of the first Round Top Academy. By the mid-1830s Round Top was identified as Jones Post Office. The English were soon supplemented by Germans. In the early 1840s Alwin H. Soergel, author, historian, musician, and member of the Adelsverein, settled in the Round Top area, bringing with him the beginnings of the Germanic traditions that characterize the area. He built a white house with an octagonal tower, which by 1847 was listed as the United States post office, with Henry A. Robertson as postmaster. The odd-shaped tower gave rise to the name Round Top. By 1850 Round Top had a population of 150, two stores, two blacksmith shops, two taverns, a post office, and a line of tri-weekly stages serving the predominantly German citizenry. According to some sources the first Round Top Fourth of July celebration, held in 1851, gave the community the distinction of having the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration west of the Mississippi. During the Civil War Round Top served as a recruiting station for the northern half of the county.
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