Local Legends

About  | Selection Committee | Nominations | Previous Legends

Help select the 2020 Local Legends
Each year’s Local Legends are selected by a volunteer committee appointed by the HPC. The Selection Committee is responsible for outreach to encourage nominations, reviewing nominations to select the Local Legends, and assisting with the award presentation to the City Council. Applications to serve on the 2020 Selection Committee are due January 3, 2020

2019 Local Legend Awards Presented
The Historic Preservation Commission announced three Local Legend Award honorees at the City Council meeting on Thursday, Nov. 14. Faye Johnson, the Sauls family and the Tonkawa Tribe were recognized for their contributions to the culture, development, and history of the community. Historic Preservation Commission Chair Sharon Whitaker and Vice-Chair Pamela Sue Anderson presented the awards and highlighted some of the accomplishments of each of the award recipients. 

As in the past, Local Legends were awarded a certificate of recognition. Recipients are also recognized on a plaque that lists all past honorees since the program’s inception.

Faye Johnson

Dorothy Faye Johnson is a legend in the growth of the city and her servant leadership brought honor and distinction to the City of Round Rock. Faye is mother to four amazing children and was born and raised in Alabama where she met her future husband Charles at a skating rink her mother operated, just before he became a WWII sharpshooter. They settled in Round Rock in 1956 and quickly became part of the community. Charles ran the Tap and Texaco downtown for decades and was Round Rock’s first Planning and Zoning Commission Chair.  The Tap and Texaco was a “men only” bar for beer, shuffleboard and washers, until it was destroyed in an explosion in 1984. 

Faye was a social worker and attendance aide for RRISD for 39 years and her service was not limited to her day job.  Faye was one of the many credited with the establishment of the library by beginning a home demonstration club and manning a book mobile on summer afternoons.  She felt the path to social equality lie through education and led by example, earning her Associate’s degree at the age of 63.  She supported youth interest in political science by encouraging and assisting students to attend the Texas Girls and Boys States, a youth leadership function of the American Legion.  Faye was a champion for women and veterans and supported the Agape Foundation and the American Legion Auxiliary. 

Faye loved Round Rock.  She would often work to clean up Brushy Creek and campaigned to protect native species such as the Brushy Creek Turtles and the McNeil overpass bat colonies.  Her efforts in the growth of Round Rock helped promote economic development, redevelopment, growth and tourism downtown.  She was also a longtime member of the Williamson County Mental Health Board and was the Chairman of the Housing Authority when the first public housing was constructed.  Faye was a member of Round Rock First Baptist Church from 1956 until her death in January 2019.

Faye’s daughters Vickie Connally and Gaynelle Stein accepted the award on her behalf.

The Sauls Family

R: Otto Winzel Sauls

The Sauls family’s influence is woven into the history of Round Rock and can be seen in the land, economy and buildings that make up Round Rock today.  Wade Sauls Sr. was born in 1879 to former slave parents.  He was overseer of the Palm Farm for 36 years and also owned his own farmland in areas northeast and southwest of Round Rock where he raised cattle, hogs, horses and mules.  Near one of his farms he built the low-water crossing on Hairy Man Road in 1911, which was the only crossing until Creek Bend Boulevard opened in 2015.  Wade Sr. was known as “the Cotton King” because he was the only local farmer who could yield a bushel of cotton per acre. 

Otto with aviator helmet and greyhound

Wade and Louisa Sauls had 15 children. Their son Wade Sauls Jr. had a farm south of town that is now the site of the Joe Lee Johnson STEM school.  Their son Ollie farmed areas northeast and southeast of Round Rock, growing cotton and raising cattle and hogs.  Another son, Otto “Winzell” loved airplanes.  In the 1930s he attended Paul Quinn College and then Georgetown Flying School which he was made to quit because of race.  He also attended the American School of Aviation, but could not afford to complete his studies.  Otto was drafted into the Army as a Tech 4 and served in the Pacific during WWII.  After returning he became a carpenter and built homes in Round Rock, Brenham, Georgetown and Fredericksburg.  In his later years he became blind but other builders still sought him out for advice.

The Sauls family has a long history of service to the community.  Otto and several of his brothers, nephews and granddaughters served in the military during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War.  Wade’s great-grandson Ollie Leslie Sauls Jr. was the first Round Rock resident killed in action in Vietnam.  Otto’s daughter Ella Sauls Morrison was a nurse for over 50 years and currently serves in many community organizations including as Historian of the Heart of Round Rock Neighborhood Association.  The Sauls family was instrumental in establishing St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1885, now the second-oldest church in Round Rock.  In 1958 Otto assisted its relocation and rebuilding when it was moved to make way for IH-35.  Other family members have served as stewards, trustees and missionaries, and continue to do so today.

Ella Sauls Morrison and Rita Sauls Effinger accepted the award for their family. 

The Tonkawa Tribe

The history of Round Rock, Texas as a community began long ago with a small band of Indians who became known as the Tonkawa.  Native American groups are known to have camped along Brushy Creek and the San Gabriel River as far back as 9,000 B.C.  The Tonkawa were known to be hunter-gatherers who were also resolute and accomplished warriors long before Europeans came on the scene.  This small group of nomadic Indian bands unified as a tribe sometime in the 1840s after suffering staggering losses to disease brought on initially by the Spanish who were known to have close and frequent contact with the Tonkawa beginning in 1690.  The Spanish established Mission San Xavier on the San Gabriel River for the Tonkawa in the mid 1700’s, establishing the first European “footprint” on US soil connected with the Tonkawa.

Our state fought for and won its independence with the help of the Tonkawa and other Indian tribes.  During our dark days of division in the Civil War, the Tonkawa were there again to act as scouts for the Confederate Cavalry.  Sadly, the era of good-will between the Tonkawa and Texas was challenged again and again by the inevitable clash of our two cultures so that by the 1840’s the State began the removal of the Tonkawa first to settlements near San Marcos until by 1859 they were removed from Texas to Oklahoma (then known as Indian Territory).  We are all too familiar with the repetitive broken promises to our first citizens.  It was an ugly and harsh time in our history and that of the American Indian.  But, because of their perseverance, the Tonkawa survived their “Trail of Tears” and settled in a small town that bears their name in Northern Oklahoma.  At present, there are 858 enrolled members of the tribe who founded our first community.  As Round Rock citizens, we celebrate the American Indian who once roamed Central Texas but mostly the Tonkawa tribe who selected the Brushy Creek area as their homestead long ago.  We hope to collectively live up to the meanings of the Tonkawa name, “Real people” and “They all stay together” as a community.

Russell L Martin, President of the Tonkawa Tribe, and his son Kiefer Starr accepted the award.

The Local Legend Awards program was established in 1991. To date, 77 recipients have been honored. Award recipients in the past have included not only people, but organizations, places like Round Rock Donuts, and a book, “Historical Round Rock Texas”, written by local authors.

Award recipients are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Importance to the City’s founding or growth
  • Association with an historic place or event
  • Impact of service to the community’s history, development or culture
  • Achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the City of Round Rock.

This year’s nomination and selection process was assisted by a citizen volunteer committee that included Selection Committee Chair Jen Henderson and Committee members Kami Barron, Frank Darr, Jesus Franco, Laura McManus, Julio Palacios, Richard Parson, Dale Ricklefs, Audrey Simmons, and Ella Sauls Morrison. After reviewing nominations, the committee made its recommendation to the Round Rock Historic Preservation Commission in September.

Local Legend Award nominations are accepted throughout the year by the Planning and Development Services Department. For more information, contact Joelle Jordan at (512) 218-5422.


About the Local Legend Awards 

The Local Legend Award recognizes individuals, families, businesses, groups, publications, or organizations that have had a positive and lasting impact on the culture, development, and history of Round Rock. Each year’s Legends receive a certificate and are honored by the City Council.

Local Legends are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Importance to the City’s founding or growth
  • Association with an historic place or event
  • Impact of service to the community’s history, development or culture
  • Achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the City of Round Rock


Each year’s Local Legends are selected late summer, but nominations for future awards are accepted year-round. If you would like to nominate someone to be honored as a Local Legend, please complete a nomination form (Wordfill) and email to locallegend@roundrocktexas.gov, or print and mail to:

The Historic Preservation Commission
c/o Planning and Development Services Department
301 W. Bagdad Avenue, Suite 210
Round Rock, TX 78664

Selection Committee

Local Legends are selected by a volunteer committee appointed by the HPC. The Committee is responsible for outreach to encourage nominations, reviewing nominations to select the Local Legends, and assisting with the award presentation to the City Council.  If you are interested in being a part of the Local Legend Selection Committee please send a completed Selection Committee application to either:

  • Send a completed pdf copy to locallegends@roundrocktexas.gov or
  • Print and mail to: Planning & Development Services Department, 301 W. Bagdad Ave. Ste. 210, Round Rock TX 78664


Previous Local Legends

2018 Local Legends

T. Nyle Maxwell Jr.
Waymon Ferrell (1894-1980)
The Water Tower

2017 Local Legends

Vera and Joe Bloomer
Jim Boles
El Amistad Club of Round Rock

2016 Local Legends

James W. Carothers (1923-2004)
Jon E. Sloan
The Immortal Ten

2015 Local Legends

Rufus Honeycutt
Bonnie Horowitz
St. William Catholic Church
Washington Anderson (1817-1894)
Vander Clyde Broadway “Barbette” (1899-1973)

2014 Local Legends

Lambert Peterson
Sharon Prete (1943-2013)
Sheriff James Milton Tucker (1843-1907)
The Texas Baptist Children’s Home

2013 Local Legends

Rev. Freeman Smalley (1790-1881)
Jack Jordan (1872-1959)
Bob Bennett
The Stagecoach Inn (built 1848-1853)

2012 Local Legends

Dr. Thomas Kenney & Kenney Fort
Elmer A. Cottrell (1910-1979)

2011 Local Legends

Louis Henna (1914-1990)
Oliver Leppin, Sr. (1917-1993)
Robert L. “Buck” Egger (1896-1973)
Jacob M. Harrell (1804-1853)

2010 Local Legends

Judy McLeod
Martin & Francinn Parker
Dr. Robert Peters (1933-2012)
Nancy & Virg Rabb

2009 Local Legends

Rose Marie “Posey” McClung
Earl Palmer (1928-2013)
The Nelson Family
The Avery Family

No awards 2007 & 2008

2006 Local Legends

Thomas C. Oatts (1815-1885)
“Historical Round Rock” (book) by
Jane H. DiGesualdo & Karen R. Thompson


No awards between 2003-2005


2002 Local Legends

Hester Family

2001 Local Legends

Allen R. Baca (1921-2002)
Laverne Reinhardt (1924-2010)

2000 Local Legends

Bunky Whitlow
Ellen Davis
Marcia Hilsabeck

No awards in 1999

1998 Local Legends

Lone Star Bakery
Robert G. Griffith
Florentino Hernandez

1997 Local Legends

Trinity Lutheran Home
Ben Salazar
Grace Telander

1996 Local Legends

Harriet Rutland
Tom Lopez
Pete Correa

1995 Local Legends

Betty Porter
Xenia Voigt
Lt. Col. William Todd

1994 Local Legends

Garfield McConico
Lerlene Ward
O. F. Perry
Noel Grisham
Joanne Land

1993 Local Legends

Claude Berkman
Billie Sue Henna
Rudolf Pettersen
Eugene Quick

1992 Local Legends

Mrs. Tiny McNeese (1902-1998)
The Rubio Brothers (Mack and Lorenzo Rubio)
Mrs. Genoveva Rendon

1991 Local Legends

Joe Lee Johnson
David Carlin Sr.
Rev. Oliver Berglund
The Domino Players
The Old Settlers Association