The Saga of Seiders’ Springs

March 23, 2014  | By Shoal Creek Conservancy

This blog post was written by Ted Lee Eubanks. To learn more about the author, please visit this site.

Seiders' Oaks, Shoal Creek, Austin, Texas by Ted Lee Eubanks
Seiders’ Oaks, Shoal Creek, Austin, Texas by Ted Lee Eubanks

Shoal Creek bordered early Austin, and away from downtown the landscape quickly changed from a border to wild. Austin arose in 1839, and soon after Gideon White moved his family to the new capital and built a log cabin near a robust spring on Shoal Creek. White’s enjoyed a brief tenure. In 1842, while passing through a live oak grove, White met his end at the hands of a band of mounted Indians. He fought from behind one of the large live oaks and killed at least one of his attackers before being killed himself. White was one of several residents of the Austin area who were killed by Indians that year.

White’s family continued to hold the land. Four years after his death, White’s daughter, Louisa Maria, married Edward Seiders. Seiders owned livery and grocery businesses in Austin. The couple they lived in her father’s cabin at the springs, which became known as Seiders’ Springs The nearby oak grove became known as Seiders’ Oaks.

The 1850 election once again chose Austin as the seat of government. As a result, the capital’s growth increased. The Seiders family moved to the bustling new city and the land remained in their hands as a ranch.  In 1865, General George Custer and his men camped under the sheltering live oaks at Seiders’ Springs.

By the 1870s, Seiders’ Springs had become a popular recreation spot. Seiders erected bath houses, picnic tables, and a dance pavilion at the Springs which bore his name. He even provided for his patrons a means of transportation to and from town.

Seiders’ Springs now trickle where they once gushed. Most of the area bordering Shoal Creek has long been developed, and most of the springs along Shoal Creek have been drained for decades. Yet Seiders’ Oaks remain, and people from surrounding business often picnic in their shade with little knowledge of the events that transpired here.

The Shoal Creek Conservancy is working to restore the traditional flows of Seiders and other Shoal Creek springs. With your help, we can do this.