Area History

Historical Background on Llano & Mason County

Castell, Texas

1940s Llano County Map

This area of the Texas Hill Country and its nascent beginnings can also be seen most recently in the movie by Tom Hanks titled “News of the World,” loosely based on the book “The Captured” by Scott Zesch.

Castell now has the distinction of being the oldest surviving settlement in Llano County. Although the town is now on the south bank of the Llano River, it began on the north bank in 1847. A post office opened on the south side of the river in 1872 and is currently situated outside our gates!

Picture: Texas state map #4335—Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Tonkawa Tribe

Llano County & Castell Texas

Native Tribes & Early Settlers

The Tonkawa Native American Tribe was living in the Llano area when the first Europeans arrived in the vicinity in 1535. Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca led an expedition to explore the vast, uncharted region—later supplanted by the Apache Indians and in turn, they were displaced by the Comanche Indians. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that settlers found the area. Until that time, the land was the West Texas Frontier-Indian Territory. The first European residents were brought here by the Adelsverein, a group of German noblemen organized to aid emigration to Texas.

Castell, Texas began in 1847 as a land grant settled by “German freethinkers.” It remains so today. As one of the last frontiers of real freedom, Castell remains simple, clean, and without any official government. It is a place where a person can make their destiny, without the fetters of a society gone to the bureaucrats. It is home to many generations of original pioneer stock-hardy, kind, independent, and fiercely protective of their rights and community ties.