Shady Grove is a rural community on Farm Road 1174 nine miles northeast of Burnet in east central Burnet County. The site, where the old Austin-Lampasas and Burnet-Belton roads crossed the Middle San Gabriel River, was settled first in the 1850s and 1860s. The settlement was known as Russell Gabriel in the 1850s, then Middle Fork of the Gabriel, and finally Shady Grove, for the grove of live oak trees where the school and cemetery were located. During the 1870s the community had a store and a blacksmith shop. At an early date a cotton gin and corn mill were established on the creek in Alex Barton's pasture. In 1896 the J. H. Kleen family moved from Williamson County and built a gin near the crossroads. Kleen also helped build the two church buildings in the community. Robert E. Lee Masonic Lodge was chartered in 1875 and met upstairs in the Norton Moses home until 1878, when it was moved into the floor above the school. The lodge continued until 1920. Early-day settlers were William Wilkinson (1852), Alexander Russell (1860), Norton Moses, Robert Lastley, Orange P. Prentess, Taylor Stanley, and A. C. Null (1860s). The post office for Shady Grove was called Tamega. In 1877 A. M. Barton deeded to the Russell Gabriel community land for a school, church, and cemetery. The Strickling Baptist Church became the Shady Grove Baptist Church in 1907 and met until 1958. The Cumberlain Presbyterian Church was organized in 1878 and continued active until 1966, when the membership transferred to the Bertram Presbyterian Church. Strickling School opened in 1869 two miles north on the North San Gabriel; it changed its name to Shady Grove School in 1877 and operated until it was consolidated with the Bertram school in 1942. In 1958 a homecoming was planned, and a cemetery association was formed. In 1968 the association secured title to the land and buildings at the community center, which is used for group meetings as well as a homecoming each year.
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