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The following history of Rockne is taken from The New Handbook of Texas published by The Texas State Historical Association.


Rockne, 12 miles southwest of Bastrop in southwestern Bastrop County, has its origins in German settlers such as the Lehman family who arrived around 1846. The original parish included the Meuth community but was later divided into two parishes, and seven families began worship at the Rockne site. The first mass in Rockne was held at Phillip Goertz's home in 1876, and the next year Goertz and his wife, Catherine, with Michael and Rebecca Wolf, donated the site upon which the first church was built. The church burned in 1891.


The second church was built on 10 acres donated by John T. and Rosina Lehman and dedicated in 1892. By this time a small community had sprung up on the Rockne site. It was first called "Walnut Creek," then "Lehman" or "Lehmanville." In 1900 St. Elizabeth's School opened; its name was later changed to Sacred Heart. Lehman had a post office from 1900 to 1903, but it later became known as "Hilbigville" for W. M. Hilbig, a member of an area pioneer family, who established a business in the community in 1922.


Rockne received its present name after Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne's death in 1931, when the schoolchildren of the community voted to rename their town in his honor. In 1935 Rockne was identified as an agricultural and cattle-raising community profiting from the development of surrounding oilfields.


In 1940 the third Rockne Catholic church was dedicated on the site of the one dedicated in 1892. In the 1940s the population ranged between 150 and 280. By 1950 it had stabilized at 150. By 1976, when the Rockne church was renovated, the population of the community had grown to 400; it remained 400 through 2000. On March 10, 1988, Rockne opened its post office for one day, during which a Knute Rockne  22-cent commemorative stamp was issued.




Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. D. L. Vest, Watterson Folk of Bastrop County (Waco: Texian Press, 1963).


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