Theon

Community Building of TheonTheon, community north of Georgetown, which was known earlier as Behrnville for pioneer H. T. Behrens; also called Leubner for William Leubner, another early settler and merchant. All three names were assigned at different times to the village for a post office. "New Corn Hill" was the result of an attempt to establish a business community adjacent to Theon to replace the once-thriving Corn Hill after the Bartlett Western Railway caused its disappearance. Large numbers of settlers from Germany, Austria, Moravia, Bohemia and Silesia came to the area in the 1880s and 189os seeking its fine farmland. In 1889 they founded the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, erecting a modest building on the prominent hill where the present church stands. The site of the first church is marked in the cemetery by a life-sized figure of Christ on the Cross. The present twin-spired brick church was erected in 1913 and a parochial school was operated next door until 1968. German protestant families of the community generally attended one of the Lutheran churches at nearby Walburg. As the community grew, a post office was requested in July 1890 in the name "Bernville," apparently misspelled in the postal records, but that name was not accepted. The application was changed to Theon, a Greek word meaning "to God," possibly suggested by the local priest who knew Greek and by the proximity of the church up the hill from the village. Theon was approved and on September 12, 1890, Fritz Krauss became postmaster. 

Problems are said to have arisen regarding the post office and it was discontinued July 5, 1892. About that time William Leubner moved his family and store from near Walburg to Theon, to operate a general merchandise and grocery store. On October 27, 1894, Fridrick W Leubner was appointed postmaster of the community, this time called Leubner instead of Theon. The mail boxes were arranged on the porch of the store and for a brief time a bar was provided inside. Since government regulations forbade this dual arrangement, Leubner built a saloon next door, elegantly furnished and decorated in the Victorian style popular at that time. Toward the end of the decade, the Leubner family moved to Granger and Dallas and the post office called Leubner was closed April 20, 1898. Another merchant, August Kalmbach, bought the Theon Mercantile Store in 1900, operating it for many years and was succeeded by his son, William Kalmbach who ran it in the 1970s with his daughter, Ruby Atwood. A third time applications were made for a post office, and on March 9, 1901, Behrnville was approved with Gottlieb (August) Kalmbach, postmaster. It closed for the last time April 30, 1906. Thom Mrazek operated a gin at Theon about 1884, selling it to Ernst Miersch in January 1891. When farmers brought their cotton to the two-stand gin, it was weighed on a platform wagon scale, was unloaded on the upper floor, and was carried in a wire basket to the stands where it was fed in by hand. Cotton seed fell to the floor as they were separated from the lint, then were stored for seed, feed or fertilizer. Lint dropped on the floor behind each stand where it was gathered by hand into a basket and carried to the press box. When the box was full, a steam engine pressed the cotton, repeating the packing procedure four times for every bale, then tying and bagging the bale. Miersch accepted about one hundred pounds of seed cotton in exchange for ginning a bale.

 When coal was not available as fuel for the steam furnace, young Paul Miersch cut cord wood to feed it. Miersch had a corn mill at the gin where he accepted one-fifth of the corn as a toll for milling. Emil E Jungmichel of Walburg bought the gin in 1906; Joe Sladecek's mother and later Alphonse Kott owned it. About 1892 Theon farmers organized a beef club, put up a building in the heart of the village and furnished meat for members until about 1948. Thirty or forty families formed Behrnville Rifle Club about 1888, built a platform a mile north of the present Moravia Hall, where large dances, rifle contests and other social gatherings were held. The Farmers' Inn was built later in the same place. It and a small Hermann and Sons Lodge for a few years provided places for music and recreation. About 1938 the present Moravia Hall was erected a mile south of Farmers' Inn, which was then torn down. In 1973 Theon had an active Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the old western style store front on the general store, a tavern, gas station and cotton gin, possibly resembling the village of eighty years before more than any other place in Williamson County. "New Corn Hill" existed briefly around 1910 after the Bartlett Western Railway bypassed Corn Hill. 

Believing that a successor to Corn Hill (at this time moving to the new railroad town of Jarrell) could be established about two miles east of the disappearing Corn Hill, promoters established a grocery store, blacksmith shop and saloon atop the hill near the Holy Trinity Church. John Schultz's residence was near them on the hill. The recreation hall, previously mentioned, was put up at that time. Since the business section of Theon was only about a mile down the hill, the New Corn Hill venture failed within a short time. Among families who registered baptisms at the Holy Trinity Church prior to 1899 were John Janosec, Bartholomew Zurovec, Joseph Valenta, John Pavlasek, Francis Kolar, Anton Hajek, Joseph Schlesinger, Martin Vrabel, Francis Skrhak, Martin Kopecky, Adolph Schwertner, Joseph Palousek, Joseph Knapek, Paul Skurka, Ygnasio Kubacak, John Marac, Josef Schwertner, Albert Zrubek, Edward Schwertner, January Kurecka and George Havelka. Theon public school consolidated with Jarrell in 1949.

Bibliography

Clara Stearns Scarbrough, Land of Good Water: A Williamson County History (Georgetown, Texas: Williamson County Sunday Publishers, 1973, Fifth printing, 1998).

Photo caption: Community of Theon - Photo Courtesy Nancy Bell February 2017