Independence is a small community with a long and impressive place in Texas history. J. G. W. Pierson, Robert Stevenson, Colbert Baker, and Amasa Burchard founded the community in 1835 on seventy-eight acres of the original Austin colony land grant. Within a short time, Independence became the center of education with the opening of Baylor University in 1846. Baylor later separated into male and female institutions with the male portion relocating to Waco. The only physical remnants of the university are four large brick columns of the portico. In the 1880s, the town began a decline when railroad lines bypassed it at the request of local leaders and instead went through nearby towns.
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