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The Peyton Colony aka Speaking of "Rick Peyton"...

May 25, 2006
I was scanning the map for places to ride awhile back when I noticed a small spot, kind of out on it's own, with a familiar name. It was called the "Payton Colony". Now I know what you're thinking, and you're right, they spelled it wrong. So I stored it away for a "maybe sometime in the future" ride & went on to explore other parts of Texas.

Fast forward to last Friday night. I was playing around on Google Earth, looking for a destination for my Saturday ride, when I found Hamilton Pool Preserve. This is a neat geological feature formed when a sink hole opened in a creek & a natural pool was formed. Long story short, the state noticed people going there to swim & turned it into a state park, so now you have to pay to play.

Hamilton Pool Preserve

I decided this would be my destination & would make for a neat picture show. When I got there, I was hoping the "gate-guard-money-taking-guy" would just let me sneak in, snap a few pics & leave, but no, he wanted me to pay full price, and he said I would have to park my bike & hike about 1/4 mile or so just to get to the pool. Well, at the risk of sounding like a lazy cheap skate, I kindly said no thank you, turned around & headed out. Now
if I were going to stay & swim for a few hours, it might have been worth it.

So how does this all tie in with my name? Well it turns out, the Peyton Colony is not too far from the pool & on my way home. Pure coincidence, I swear! And, as it turns out, it is spelled exactly like my name. It was spelled wrong on the road sign originally, but they've since seen the error of their ways & corrected it. Now all is right in the world...

*Almost (as I'll explain later)...

The Peyton Colony

The entrance...



So I turn onto the street named "Peyton Colony Rd" and press on. Its a nice little windy road with cattle guards every so often. Then I spot the school...





I took these from just outside, not wanting to disturb anything. This being unfamiliar territory, I figure it's best to err on the side of caution...



Next was this little church...




As I was taking these pictures, a lady steps out from the church & asks me if I'd like to see the inside. She was there cleaning & heard me pull up on the bike...



And the picture on the wall behind the pulpit...


And back outside again...



The lady was very nice. Her husband's family are descendants & still live in the colony. She was fairly knowledgeable & gave me a little history lesson on the area.

*And if you were paying attention while reading the historical marker, you would have noticed something else about the Peyton Colony. That's right, Peyton was the founder's first name. Oh well, so much for my family name & a historical connection.

This road leads further into the colony & the homes of the families that still live there. Out of respect for their peace & quiet, I decided this would be far enough & turned around.


For more info on the Peyton Colony:

Peyton Colony (Boardhouse), Texas

Back to Online Encyclopedia Index

Peyton Colony's Mt. Horeb Baptist Church

Peyton Colony was a freedmen’s community established in 1865 by Peyton Roberts
(c.1820-1888), an ex-slave who migrated to Caldwell County, Texas. Roberts was born
enslaved on the William Roberts Plantation in Virginia. Roberts and several families on
the Roberts Plantation gained their freedom at the end of the Civil War.
In late 1865, Peyton Roberts led these families to the Texas hill country eight miles
southeast of the present-day town of Blanco. They homesteaded public land and built
cabins on their new properties. Their small community, along Boardhouse Creek,
became known as the Peyton Colony.

In 1874, Rev. Jack Burch, a freedman, from Tennessee, arrived in the Colony and
pitched a tent for the first meeting of the Mt. Horeb Baptist Church. Jim Upshear, one
of the colonists, donated land for a permanent site and the settlers built a log church,
which also served as a community school. Part of the Colony site, now a state park,
includes a cemetery with 176 graves, including Peyton Roberts and many of the original

From here:




And if you're into ghosts & ghost towns:



Even though I didn't get to see Hamilton Pool first hand, and didn't have a historical connection with my name, I had a great ride...

I'm Rick Peyton, you stay classy, San Diego...

Last edited:
Aug 9, 2005
Spring, TX
Nice find, especially the schoolhouse which was largely intact.

The Hamilton Pool looks like a nice park, don't feel too bad about the State taking it over. When nice places get too popular with the gen pop they eventually fall into disrepair, at least it will have some upkeep. One of my favorite beach destinations on the West Coast of Fla. was turned into a State Park. Last time we went there it was still nice and my son found what looks like a fossilized whale tooth...we still have it.

May 25, 2006
Yep, the school was in surprisingly good shape considering. I wish I would've visited the cemetery & snapped a few pics. Maybe I'll have to swing back by there...

I've asked for a "Texas State Parks Pass" for father's day, so I'll go back to the Hamilton Pool Preserve & get pictures, plus there are a few more parks I'd like to visit...

May 7, 2004
Yup I went to Hamilton pool for many many years, camping down in the creek valley for weekends and swimming in the pool or down at the river.

It used to be privately owned, and they let folks come and swim and camp there..

I never did dive off the cliffs there, though know several who did and all regretted it.. ;)

I stopped going when the county took it over and closed it for visitors and made it a preserve, though I believe now they allow swimming again at certain times.

Of course that was when Austin was still a pretty small town, and hadn't turned into the new silicon valley and started booming yet. I hardly recognize Austin at all these days, and I was born there 50 years ago.

Hamilton pool is a very beautiful place, and on a hot summer day worth $10 to go hang out in..
Apr 6, 2007
austin texas
I always saw Hamilton Pool as stagnant and murkey, but I was only there twice. Of places to swim, I like Jacobs Well outside Wimberly. But, living in south Austin, I just go to Red Bud Isle on Lady Bird Lake. (In theory), you're not supposed to 'swim' there, but everyone does. Bring your dog, too.
And my all-time cool spot is a tiny spring right on the side of Lady Bird Lake that you can only get to by canoe.
BTW, does anyone know that Town Lake was almost called Lake Bob?
Jan 22, 2011
At the back of the pack and out of the dust
So that's where the Peyton Colony is located. Looks like a nice ride.

We used to go to Hamilton Pool back in the '70s when it was a private park just to climb and party. The rock was pretty bad. Here is a photo from the period.


I have to admit that jump was something else. I saw a number of people carted out of that place in an ambulance and one in a hearse.

It was a different Austin before the 'dillo closed... and I miss it.