Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America

100 YEARS AGO....
As 1911 dawned Americans were mulling a constitutional amendment to allow the federal government to directly
tax the populace. (Editor’s Note: The 16th amendment creating the federal income tax was ratified two years

Six women and three churches were competing to win a new piano in The Reporter’s annual subscription contest.

Talk of a new county including part of Milam County expanded to include a “panhandle to the east” in order to
take in Gause.

Reporter Publisher R. W. H. Kennon was also a justice of the peace and often “covered” weddings at which he
officiated. “The pretty bride has many womanly virtues which will make her an ideal wife,” he wrote.

100 YEARS AGO....
Thorndale was proposed as the county seat for the new county some area residents hoped to create from parts
of Milam, Williamson, Burleson and Lee counties.

For the first time, a concrete sidewalk was poured in front of City Hall, corner of Cameron and Burleson.

From The Gause Guide: “The Cameron people are soundhearted folks, God bless ‘em, we love ‘m but they just
want everything.”

From Rockdale Socialist leader E. A. Green: “The rich can afford to buy presents, the poor cannot, so why
should we continue to perpetuate this foolish custom of gift giving?”

100 YEARS AGO....
The funeral of Scarbrough & Hicks co-founder R. H. Hicks was one of the largest in Rockdale’s four-decade
history. Businesses closed, schools were let out and Rev. B. H. Carroll, “patriarch of the Baptist Church in
Texas” came to Rockdale to officiate.

Hill & Co. Jewelers of Rockdale offered a Christmas special, ladies diamond rings for $35.

Gaither & Tanner was disappearing from downtown Rockdale. It was to merge with Rockdale Mercantile Co. on
Jan. 1.

President William Howard Taft was going before Congress asking for a law to settle the border dispute between
Texas and New Mexico before New Mexico entered the union.

100 YEARS AGO....
War between Rockdale and Gause! A war of words at least. Irritated because discussion in Rockdale and
Thorndale newspapers about forming a new county did not include Gause,  the editor of the Gause Guide
threatened “include Gause or we will make rock in your road!”

Scarbrough & Hicks founder R. L. Hicks died and Rockdale was preparing for one of the largest funerals in
town history.

Ex-Rockdalian Robert Lee Lyon wrote from Apache, Arizona. “We are not entirely among civilized people as our
Sunday School has only 60 members who are regular in attendance.”

Mrs. James Clark wrote a letter to the editor asking for volunteers to judge poultry at the 1911 Rockdale

100 YEARS AGO...
New Milam County officials were sworn in with Allen Hooks replacing J. E. Holtzclaw as sheriff.

Reporter Publisher R. W. H. Kennon took Thanksgiving week off and the paper was edited by Miss P. Dunnington
and E. A. Wallace. “We are afraid such experience will inform the people of our own shortcomings,” Kennon

Talk about a new county being created from parts of Milam, Williamson, Burleson and Lee counties began to
take sharper focus when Kennon noted “persons in southwestern Milam County are too far away from the county
seat (Cameron) and a new one was needed.” Rockdale, perhaps?

Sipe Springs closed its schools after an outbreak of diptheria claimed one child’s life.

100 YEARS AGO....
England hanged Dr. Harry Crippen for the murder of his wife, actress Belle Elmore, and it was front page news
in The Rockdale Reporter.

The Rockdale Fire Department held its annual holiday banquet in the Wolf Hotel.

Beat (Precinct) 4 residents were organizing to build more roads. Farmers would furnish horses and labor with
businesses providing money.

A murder trial in Cameron ended with a hung jury, 9-3 for acquittal. On their way out of the courtroom,
Sheriff J. E. Holtzclaw arrested one of the jurors for perjury.
100 YEARS AGO....
Somebody important in Texas, probably politics, died and The Reporter ran a scathing “obituary” under the
name “The Demagogue,” never mentioning the name and ending “he’s gone and may his shadow never again darken
the threshold of Texas.”

The Reporter printed President William Howard Taft’s Thanksgiving proclamation.

The Cozy theatre was showing “King Edward’s Song,” advertised as 2,000 feet of high-class moving pictures.

An engineering crew extending the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Line (The Katy) passed through Gause.

100 YEARS AGO....
There were now three saloons advertising “above the fold” on The Reporter’s front page. Eagle Saloon’s ad
featured a bottle of whiskey, a turkey and the caption “Let Us Give Thanks.”

New York elected Democrat John Dix as its governor. Reporter publisher R.W.H. Kennon’s headline: “New York

The Gause Guide newspaper was pushing for a new county to be created from portions of Milam, Burleson, Lee
and Williamson counties.

Scarbrough & Hicks announced “since Uncle Sam has changed the color of his hat, we will give away our old
stock of Uncle Sam hats free.”

100 YEARS AGO...

A stabbing incident in the Hamilton Chapel community was triggered when, as The Reporter reported: “two men
engaged in a difficulty over a young lady.”

Milam County Democratic Party Precinct Chairman S. C. Hodge cautioned that anyone who voted in the party’s
primary was obligated to support that nominee in the general election. “Hold your nose and vote the ticket,”
he said.

Two new “cottages” were under construction on the Noack property. The Reporter noted: “four nice homes will
now extend from one end of the block to the other.”

The 1910 Census figures showed Rockdale not far from a booming metropolis as Austin’s population was put at

100 YEARS AGO....
The Rockdale High School football team was set to play the “town team” composed of adults from Rockdale. “RHS
has an advantage over past years,” Publisher R. W. H. Kennon wrote. “This year they have a good coach.”

Rev. G. W. Rose told The Reporter: “I will preach again in Rockdale Saturday and I will shake up the sons of

Newest business was the Rockdale Pantatorium next to Henne & Meyer. “Get your suits cleaned at the
Pantatorium” was their slogan.

Kennon reported on the Waco murder trial of Minnie Lee Streight, accused of killing her husband, who was the
publisher-editor of The McGregor Mirror.

100 YEARS AGO....
The Reporter reported: “Miss Pansy Coffield entertained Rockdale VFD Fire Company No. 2 with a party, in
terms of elegancy, hospitality and pleasure that equalled anything ever undertaken for the fire laddies of

Reporter Publisher R. W. H. Kennon scolded Milam County commissioners for planning another bridge across
Brushy Creek near Thorndale instead of placing a bridge on “The Gabriel near the San Andres crossing.”

Milam County Tax Assessor R. S. Wiley listed the county’s taxable values at $17.4 million, $9.7 million in

An ad for the medicine MI-ONA promised it would cure “food rotting in your stomach, forming gases that poison
the blood.”

100 YEARS AGO....
Local politics was the big news in mid-October, 1910. Mayor H. C. Mayer called a special election to fill the
unexpired term of City Alderman M. L. Smith who had moved from Rockdale.

Reporter Publisher R. W. H. Kennon wrote, “friends of three prominent men have put forth their names for the
vacancy and all would make good councilmen.” He did not list names.

One candidate formally threw his hat in the ring. John Scott was seeking the vacant seat, citing “my rugged

On the non-political front, Frank Wanorek and Johnnie Brockenbush advertised a “solid hickory three-seat
Studebaker hack (carriage)” for sale. Studebaker would not market gasoline-powered cars on its own for two
more years

100 YEARS AGO....
There were seven automobiles in Giddings. How do we know? The Reporter’s “Buschdale” correspondent went there
and counted them. “None of them belong to farmers,” he reported.

Scarbrough & Hicks ad noted the store had already sold half its men’s dress suits priced at $10 “even with
the weather still hot as blazes.”

No more ad copy or news would be accepted at The Reporter “after supper on Wednesdays,” Publisher
R.W.H.Kennon warned. “We’ve been out a day late the last two weeks!”

T. B. Kemp & Sons store announced to customers it had acquired a telephone. The number was “2.”

100 YEARS AGO....
“Dr. Mackey of Cameron” had a offer for Rockdale residents in his ad, good for 30 days. “Come and see me,
I’ll treat you and you don’t have to pay me until you are cured,” he said. Dr. Mackey listed his medical
discipline as “specialist.”

W. E. Copeland announced his candidacy for the alderman position being vacated by M. L. Smith who had moved
from Rockdale.

The annual reunion of Hood’s Texas Brigade, part of General Robert E. Lee’s army during the Civil War, was
being held in Austin.

Robertson County Judge W. C. Perry cancelled the prohibition election which had been scheduled for Oct. 13.

100 YEARS AGO....
Reporter ad from Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph: “If you had a telephone on your farm you could save
long and possibly useless trips to town. Call first and see if your seed and supplies are in stock.”

E. J. M. Hopkins put down what was believed to be Rockdale’s first-ever concrete sidewalk in a residential

A shootout erupted in a Rogers restaurant, leaving one man dead, another critically injured and two wounded.
“Bad blood” between the two men was listed as the cause.

W. M. Farmer warned: “I will prosecute anyone who digs sand from the public road going to my place.”

100 YEARS AGO....
Sand Grove school board members R. A. Hairston and R. J. Sloan painted the rural school, inside and out, in
time for classes to open for the 1910-11 school term.

“Electric lights cost only a trifle more than kerosene and are cleaner and safer,” said the Rockdale Water &
Light Company in an ad.

The Reporter’s fall, 1910, subscription drive promised a $475 Kimball piano to the “lady or church” selling
the most subscriptions.

E. J. M. Hopkins led off his ad with these words, in bold type: “There has been some talk of short weights at
our store. If you got anything from us that is not full weight, we will cheerfully correct the error.”

100 YEARS AGO....
Arledge White, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. G. White, received his $5 prize for being named the “handsomest boy
baby” at the 1910 Rockdale Fair.

James Copeland’s hand was caught in the belts at Rockdale Oil Mill but was treated by Dr. H. T. Coulter who
diagnosed “only a broken finger.”

The Rockdale-Tampico Land Company was formed. President H. C. Meyer said the group would buy and develop
lands in Mexico.

From the syndicated “How to Be Happy Tho’ Married” column running in The Reporter: “He must possess
appreciation for all her feminine weaknesses".

100 YEARS AGO....
Sam Davis Camp 1169 of United Confederate Veterans was to meet at Rockdale City Hall. (The Civil War had been
over only 45 years).

School was starting Sept. 13 and Gaither & Tanner’s had boys pants for 25 cents and suits for $1.25.

“The Dixie Singing Four” was headlining the weekend vaudeville show at Rockdale City Hall.

Hot weather had wiped out Pleasant Grove’s June corn crop, and cut the cotton crop yield in half.

100 YEARS AGO....
J. H. Outen escaped serious injury when a team of mules hitched to his wagon panicked in downtown Rockdale
and dragged the wagon over him.

Pearle Kirk and Catherine Cregan of Rockdale became nurses in graduation ceremonies at King’s Daughters
Hospital, Temple.

The Owls Club for girls met at Fair Park of a moonlight picnic. The Reporter reported: “Just as they finished
the picnic a storm came up and sent them scurrying home like so many squirrels.”

The Sand Grove and Royal Literary Societies were to meet in Bethlehem to debate the topic “Evangelical
Churches Should Unite.”

100 YEARS AGO....
The Reporter began running a weekly column “How To Remain Happy, Tho’ Married.”

“Contracts are to be let on two new dormitories at the A&M College. The tents will be abandoned when the new
buildings are completed.”

Vivian Anthis of Tanglewood was seriously burned when a coal oil fire exploded at her home.

Buschdale correspondent “Old Schneider” was challenged to a fishing contest by his son, “Young Schneider.”
The men caught one tiny fish and Old Schneider fell into the San Gabriel River.

100 YEARS AGO....
J. A. Hay of Dallas was killed when he was struck by a freight train on the I&GN tracks one mile east of

According to The Bartlett Tribune: “The blackland soil here is so rich that people in sod houses have to mow
the floor every day to find the baby.”

An unsigned letter to the editor complained: “I have suffered severe losses since an errant report was
started that my house is haunted!”

At Lightfoot’s Racket Store, brass washboards were on sale for 50 cents.

100 YEARS AGO....
A manhunt was under way after Buschdale store keeper Johnnie Brockenbush was struck in the head with a rock
and the assailant grabbed cash from the register.

“A bevy of beautiful maidens donned aprons and each cooked a favorite recipe as Mrs. Fred Graves entertained
at her home.”

More high society. Miss Annie Clare Loper hosted a watermelon social, complete with watermelon-colored
dominoes and door prize trinkets made from watermelon seeds.

Reporter Editor R. W. H. Kennon: “The great secret of keeping an automobile is you can be out riding in it
when your creditors come around to collect their bills.”

100 YEARS AGO....
Engineer J. A. Williams of Yoakum was killed when two San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA& AP) freight trains
collided between Tanglewood and Lexington.

Reporter Editor R. W. H. Kennon was elected justice of the peace in the Milam County Democratic Primary and
pledged: “to those of you who were my opponents I can give you the same measure of justice as though you were
my supporters.”

Cameron’s Democratic Primary precinct caucus was so split over prohibition that two complete sets of
delegates were sent to the county convention, neither acknowledging the legitimacy of the other.

W. H. Madison of Rockdale died in Winfred, Kansas, after getting involved in a fight and sustaining a
fractured skull.

100 YEARS AGO....
Former Texas Ranger, and Milam County’s sheriff from 1850 to 1852, Moses Aldridge died at age 89.

From an uncredited Reporter story: “We are tired of people asking us ‘where is Rockdale?” It’s not the place
where Sam Bass was killed!” (Round Rock)

Constable Tom Waller warned area residents to “stop taking sand out of the Milano-Rockdale road down by the
SA&AP stock pens.”

“Master Vilas Kennon had raised a four-legged chicken.” (Chances are good Master Vilas was related to
Reporter Editor R.W.H. Kennon.

100 YEARS AGO....
The start of a lengthy answer by Reporter Editor R. W. H. Kennon to a letter to the editor: “It (letter) is a
remarkable something, we cannot say a literary effort for the badge of ignorance is too indelibly stamped
upon it.”

Rockdale native Charles Rasberry was nominated to be Grand Exalted Ruler of the Texas Elks Lodge.

Milam County had 10 banks and The Reporter’s headline on a story on Cameron’s three: “Money Is Plentiful In

From the Tanglewood News: “Someone entered J. A. Treadwell’s watermelon patch, plugged melons, cut vines and
did considerable mischief.

100 YEARS AGO....
Auto races were planned at the Fair Park track but organizers warned “they are exciting and dangerous; if you
are chicken hearted you better stay away.”

The Milam County Socialist Party was to have its second annual convention at Fair Park with gubernatorial
candidate Roddin Andrews on hand.

The Sand Grove Literary Society was to meet and discuss the merits of Democratic candidates for governor O.
B. Colquitt and Cone Johnson.

The Reporter carried a story on the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries heavyweight title fight. Johnson knocked out
Jeffries to become the first black heavyweight title holder.

100 YEARS AGO....
Constable J. A. Alford offered a $5 reward, saying “the time has come when watermelon and peach stealing is
no longer a joke!”

“The World Is Running Out of Coal,” was the headline of a scholarly article by Dr. George Fredrich Wright.

The Texas Farmers Union board was to meet with Reporter Editor R. W. H. Kennon predicting “it is very
probable W. W. Kyle will be re-elected warehouse manager.”

Brief, but to the point, ad: “No, I don’t give you something for nothing, but neither does anyone else. I
surely do save you money, though.”—Leo Strelsky, proprietor of The Arc, 5, 10 and 25-cent store.

100 YEARS AGO....
Truck farming was booming in the Milano area. Eight trailer loads of tomatoes had been iced down and shipped,
according to Gus Vogel of Rockdale Ice Factory, and another 24 trailers were expected to go out.

C. A. Brown, ticket agent for the International & Great Northern Railroad, announced that persons taking
night trains from Rockdale must buy tickets, and check baggage, in advance.

Barber Henry Moseley was boasting of his new ceramic lavatory on two pedestals and decorated with nickel.

“A. P. Perry tells Reporter readers he has been able to secure the agency for Parisian Sage, a delightful
hair dressing that also cures dandruff.”

100 YEARS AGO....
A full page ad in The Reporter touted “Thorndale: The Magic City” and reported: “We’ve built 100 homes and
eight brick buildings in the past few months, we have four cotton gins, electric lights and a waterworks.”

Former Milam County Judge, and Confederate officer, E. Y. Terral died at age 70.

A gambling quarrel was blamed for a murder at “Wett’s Farm,” location not given.

The Owls Club (women’s club) met at the home of Annie McCalla. “Members and guests were given blocks of
chewing gum to form animals with a prize for the best one.”

100 YEARS AGO....
Constable Reese of Milano (first name not listed) shot and killed escaped convict Carl McLaughlin, 24, near
Milano. McLaughlin was one of several men who escaped jail in Burleson County, then robbed the Chriesman

“Two Marriages Last Week” was The Reporter’s lead story. Rev. I. F. Key wed Hazel Sears and W. E. Boyd
married Stella Lightfoot.

The Rockdale City Council elected Alderman R. L. Hale as mayor pro tem, serving under Mayor H. G. Meyer.

Front page ad for Eagle Saloon: “The Green Boys, proprietors, invite eveyone to come around, get a drink of
ice water and get acquainted.

100 YEARS AGO....
Reporter Publisher R.W.H. Kennon’s latest take on the 1910 appearance of Halley’s Comet, now fading away: “It
was scheduled to swish the flies off the earth with its tail but it hasn’t any more tail than a Boston

The Bartlett-Florence Railway Co. was successfully sued for $1,000 by a group of Rockdale investors who
claimed they had contributed toward an engineering study of a Florence to Rockdale line that was never made.

Milam County commissioners hired C. L. Horton of Austin to build a bridge across the San Gabriel River at
Glasscock Crossing for $2,690.

Robert Dunham and A. C. Ashby went into business as Rockdale Meat Market.

100 YEARS AGO....
Some 1910 census figures were in. Said The Reporter: “There are 350,000 unmarried women in Texas. Anyone
desiring a wife should not fail to investigate our opportunities and advantages.”

Anyone buying a suit ($10) at Gaither & Tanner would receive a free pair of Oxfords (shoes), a $2.50 value.

They had graduated but the RHS Class of 1910 staged a student-written play, “When Now Meets Then.” Among the
cast members were Sadie Wootten as Minnehaha and Sullivan Turner as Hiawatha.

It was “Daisy Party” day for the Matinee Musical Club with “clumps of daisies in bowls and vases” at the home
of Mrs. D. C. Lattimer. The story in The Reporter ran 15 inches.

100 YEARS AGO....
Halley’s Comet didn’t impress Reporter publisher R. W. H. Kennon. “It has lost its tail and is a
disappointment,” Kennon wrote.

Thirteen RHS seniors graduated with E. (Esther or Ernestine) Kano as valedictorian and Jean Wallace as
salutatorian. Mistress of ceremonies was Allie Wallis.

“After June 1, no one will be allowed to ‘sprinkle lawns’ unless a water meter is installed,” warned the
Rockdale Water & Light Co.

A Reporter editorial disagreed with “Brother Baker,” editor of the Gause Guide, for suggesting prohibition be
brought to a vote in Milam County.

100 YEARS AGO....
Postmaster Ben Loewenstein said there were unclaimed letters at the Rockdale Post Office for Lyda Young, Mary
Fuller, J. Gotaki and Bessie Crosby.

A Rockdale Confederate veteran, identified only as DTW, traveled to a soldiers’ reunion in Mobile, Alabama.
“I’m not much impressed with New Orleans,” he wrote The Reporter.

Halley’s Comet was to be at its brightest May 18. “Gardenhome’s” column in The Reporter commented “its
intense heat will leave the wicked with weak knees.”

Judge William Poindexter warned “the Anti-Saloon League is a foreign corporation; it is incorporated up there
in Ohio.”

100 YEARS AGO....
“Little Robert Loewenstein” wrote from New York City, where his family was vacationing: “There are so many
little boys and girls killed and disappearing, we are not allowed outside without Mamma.”

Rockdale Ice Company announced its ice wagon was back on the road and “we are again taking orders for ice.”

Reporter Editor R. W. H. Kennon: “It looks like the city council should have cement sidewalks put down in
front of City Hall; that’s where the sidewalk is the worst.”

The Houston Ship Channel was under construction and Magnolia Park Land Co. ran an ad urging Rockdale
residents to buy land along the channel as a “great investment opportunity.”

100 YEARS AGO....
“The Fire Boys,” according to The Reporter, extinguished a small blaze at Dora Poole’s millinery shop
downtown. Only damage was to an outhouse.

A petition was circulating in Buschdale warning the City of Rockdale that if it did not repair the road
between Rockdale and Thorndale, and the City of Thorndale did, Buschdale residents would “trade only in

Rockdale beat Sharp-Tracy 11-5 in the annual San Jacinto Day baseball game.

Constable N. J. Alford recaptured two men who had escaped from a “convict camp” near Chriesman.

100 YEARS AGO....
A man was brought to Rockdale and confessed to Constable N. J. Alford he had shot a fellow laborer to death.
Alford went back to the rural location, found the victim still alive and “carried him back in a buggy to Dr.
Reeves, under whose care the wound improved.” Alford termed the shooting “self defense” and filed no charges.

City official J. L. Lockett, noting that Rockdale’s key fire insurance rate was being determined, called for
“the removal of all combustible material from the city limits.”

U. D. McCoy of Thorndale was hired by the Caldwell Fishing Club to construct a dam which would result in a
35-acre lake.

Milano’s new Hudson Hotel opened and was being lauded as the city’s finest establishment.

100 YEARS AGO....
Buschdale correspondent “Old Schneider” reported a group of men from that community attended a meeting of the
Texas Farmers Union by catching the train in Rockdale and riding it all the way to......Milano. “We had
plenty of time to see the sights of the city,” he wrote.

“If you purchase your coffee here, you’ll have no grounds for complaint,” boasted an ad for T. B. Kemp & Son.

A proposal to do away with horse racing at the 1911 Rockdale Farmers Fair was defeated by a 5-2 vote of
Farmers Fair director.

Andrew Perry was elected Rockdale fire chief. In less than a month the chief would become a father. Future
writer George Sessions Perry would be born May 5.


This is the first of a new series in the Rockdale Reporter:

100 YEARS AGO....
Rockdale city politics wasn’t exactly hot news. Here’s the entire story from the April 7, 1910, Reporter:
“The city election was a very quiet affair. The primary is the only election that excited much interest. The
entire ticket was elected and only a light vote recorded.”

Lightfoot’s Racket Store was advertising a 32-piece white dinner set for the sale price of $3.25.

Rockdale’s Matinee Musical Club met in the home of Alice Graves to hear musical selections and play several
games of 42. Bessie Sharp won the door prize, a silver-mounted hat brush.

Rockdale was gearing up for the 1910 census. Louis Lewis had been appointed enumerator for those inside the
city limits, Rafe Lewis for the area north of Rockdale and Ed Gunn for the area south of Rockdale.


Looking Back
100 Years Ago...

Interesting headlines and recaps of articles  from the
Rockdale Reporter
100 years ago
Compiled weekly by the Reporter staff