Martindale [†] is at the western edge of Caldwell County, Texas, roughly 8 miles southeast of San Marcos—the county seat of adjacent Hays County—and 11 miles southwest of Lockhart, the county seat of Caldwell County in Central Texas. The town is near State Highways 80 and 142, along the east bank of the San Marcos River. The tract of land that would become Martindale originally formed part of the William Petty Survey, the swath of Central Texas acreage making up the northwest portion of Caldwell County. In 1839, John Crayton, a Tennessee native born in 1790, emigrated to the Republic of Texas from Alabama. Crayton's son, James Lasater Crayton, the Spruill Family, and individuals they enslaved accompanied him to Texas.4 The families moved to an unsettled area along the San Marcos River's east bank, the location of present day Martindale. A Caldwell County deed indicates John Crayton sold 1,000 acres of land to George Martindale for $4,000 in January 1852. George Martindale, a farmer, came to the area from Mississippi with his wife, Nancy, a devout Baptist originally from South Carolina, along with their children. In 1853, the Martindale family built a residence, a large National Folk dwelling—the oldest resource in the historic district—along the riverbank just west of the present day intersection of Main Street and Jennings Street. A traveler passing through Martindale in the 1880s noted in a published account that the Martindale home was a "better class of pioneer mansions [from] back in the forties." The visitor reported Nancy Martindale's wish that her sons preserve her home instead of demolishing it, which was their intention. In 1855, one year after George Martindale died, the thousand acres of land were divided between Nancy and the ten Martindale children.8 By this point, Nancy Martindale's three sons, Ava, Robert, and George, Jr., had become leaders in the fledgling community. Other intrepid pioneers from Mississippi—the Jennings, the Ellisons, the Crunks, and the Humphreys families—joined the Martindale's in Central Texas throughout the mid to late nineteenth century. Like many other pioneers from the Deep South, Martindale's settlers uprooted their lives upon learning of the fertile Blackland Prairie soil. Together with these other early settlers, Nancy Martindale helped Reverend William Wright organize the San Marcos Missionary Baptist Church (now the Missionary Baptist Church) in 1858. According to a San Marcos Free Press article from the period, "all denominations are liberally encouraged." In 1875, when the local population had reached 30, the town's first post office was established. The population steadily increased, and Nancy Martindale and her three sons finally donated their land for a townsite in 1883. Under each deed sold, Nancy Martindale, a staunch prohibitionist, included clauses that prohibited gambling and the consumption or sale of alcohol and gambling on local properties: Provided, however, the said grantee is particularly and especially prohibited and forever enjoined from bartering or selling any intoxicating liquors or drinks of any kind, description or name whatsoever on the said land, maintaining or fostering on said land any establishment for gambling, this prohibition is made a special condition of this conveyance which shall be null and void upon the violation of said prohibition.
Martindale was a dry town until 2010, when the City of Martindale approved alcoholic beverage sales in restaurants.
† Erin Tyson, Architectural Historian and GIS Specialist, Martindale Central Historic District, National Register nomination document, draft, www.thc.texas.gov, accessed September, 2021.
Nearby Towns: San Marcos City •