Recd: 2014-03-05
..interested in Milam County courthouses, particularly 19th cy courthouses. Have there been earlier
courthouses than the present one? If so, do any still exist? Has Cameron always been the county seat? If not,
where was the previous one? Significant dates/events/ trials, etc would be helpful.
This type information was previously available on a Tx Hist Cmsn website but seems to have been taken down. If
there was a write-up on Milam county history and/or courthouse, that is what I would like to have. - JR

Email sent to MCHC members

Linda Whorton - lindamorningdawn(AT)aol(DOT)com
Milam County Genealogical Society
Rockdale, TX 76567

Jerry Reno: If you haven't already received this, I think it will answer some of your questions.

CAMERON, TEXAS (Milam County). Cameron, the county seat of Milam County, is at the intersection of U.S.
highways 77 and 190, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad fourteen miles north of Rockdale in the
north central part of the county. In April 1846 the Texas Legislature authorized a seven-member commission to
find a permanent site for the Milam county seat. The commission purchased a sixty-acre tract of Daniel Monroe's
headright on the Little River later that year and named the new town Cameron, in honor of Ewen Cameron.

When the courthouse at Cameron was completed in 1846, the county records were transferred to Cameron from
Nashville, which had served as the seat of Milam County during the republic. The new town struggled in its
early years because of its isolation, the nearest railroad being more than fifty miles away. In the late 1840s
and early 1850s several attempts were made to navigate the Little River in order to give Cameron easier access
to trade routes. The most successful of these occurred in 1850 after rains had made the river rise. J. W.
McCown, Sr., persuaded Capt. Basil M. Hatfield to bring his steamboat Washingtonthrough the upper Brazos and up
the Little River. The steamboat and the merchandise it brought caused great excitement among residents, and a
two-day celebration was held when the boat tied up 2 miles east of Cameron. Navigation of the river was
impractical on a regular basis, however, and other towns, such as Nashville and later Port Sullivan, prospered
in the 1850s and 1860s as the dominant business centers of Milam County. Cameron faced even greater competition
in the 1870s, when Rockdale was established on the International-Great Northern Railroad. The arrival of the
railroad prompted considerable discussion among Milam County residents as to whether Cameron should remain the
county seat, and elections were held in 1874 and 1880 to decide if the county government should be moved to

Cameron survived these challenges, and in 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway arrived; the San Antonio
and Aransas Pass came through the town ten years later. The railroads improved the town's economy and increased
its prestige. The population grew from an estimated 500 in 1878 to 800 by 1884 and 2,000 by 1892. Cameron had
attempted to incorporate in 1856, 1866, and 1873, but each time the charter was allowed to lapse; the town was
finally incorporated for good in 1889. Although agriculture, particularly cotton, dominated the town's economy
in the nineteenth century, diverse industrial interests came into play in the early twentieth century. The
discovery of oil in neighboring Williamson County in 1915 prompted residents in Milam County to look for oil of
their own, and the discovery of the Minerva-Rockdale field in 1921 provided new opportunities for investment.
Several milk-product companies, including the Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation, were in operation at Cameron in
the 1920s and 1930s.

Cameron residents received much-needed job opportunities in the 1950s, when the Aluminum Company of America
built a plant a few miles southwest of Rockdale. Jobs at the plant, as well as in the lignite industry that
supplied the plant's power, revitalized the economy of the entire county. Unfortunately, Cameron suffered
setbacks when the Texas and New Orleans discontinued its track from Cameron south to Giddings in 1959, and
again in 1977, when the Southern Pacific, which had taken over the Texas and New Orleans, abandoned its track
from Cameron north to Rosebud. The population of Cameron rose from 5,227 in 1952 to an estimated 7,500 in 1958;
it fell to 5,640 in the early 1960s and, after a brief recovery, to 5,347 in 1978; the town reported 5,817
residents in 1988. The present courthouse, which was constructed in 1890, is listed in the National Register of
Historic Places. In 1990 the population was 5,580, and in 2000 it was 5,634.

Ann Arthur, "A New Era for Milam County," Texas Historian, March 1972.
Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956).
Katherine Bradford Henderson, The Early History of Milam County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1924).
Curtis Henley, "Alcoa's Impact on Milam County," Texas Historian, September 1974.
Margaret Eleanor Lengert, The History of Milam County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1949).
Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred
citation for this article.
Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, "CAMERON, TX (MILAM COUNTY)," Handbook of Texas Online
(, accessed March 07, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Linda Whorton - lindamorningdawn(AT)aol(DOT)com
Milam County Genealogical Society

Reply: 2014-04-05
From Mary Ann Eanes - kittenmae(AT)sbcglobal(DOT)net>
The information that we have is in the courthouse book that I complied. He can purchase one for $40.00. I think
the info is on our website as I received a request for one not long ago. Mary Ann

Reply: 2014-04-05
From Jerry Caywood - jcaywood@austin(DOT)RR(DOT)com
Mr Reno, I have been reminded (and I had forgotten!) that there is a book on the history of the Milam County
Courthouses and their people that is available for sale.
Here is a link to the order form.  The book is not online.

From: Jerry & Robyn Reno" <renophile(AT)gmail(DOT)com
Thanks for the update. - JR

Rec'd 2014-03-09
Carol Lewis
1105 Merry Oaks
College Station, TX 77840
Please share your schedule of meetings.I grew up south of Thorndale and continue to own that property;
therefore, I am very interested in the county's history.  Thank you!

REPLY: 2014-03-09
2014 Meeting are as follows:
Feb 10, 2014 - Chamber of Commerce - Thorndale
April 14, 2014 - Sharp General Store - Sharp
June 9, 2014 - Rainbow Courts - Rockdale
August 11, 2014 - United Methodist Church - Gause
October 13 - Kay Theatre - Rockdale
December 8, 2014 -  Milam County Historical Museum - Cameron
This info was emailed to Ms Lewis.


Rec'd 2014-03-14
A message from MCHC website:
Gregg Philipson
7802 Ginkgo Cove, Austin, TX 78750-7817
I spoke with Joy Graham and she suggested I contact you to see if you had any information on the Philipsons
that once resided in Rockdale. Can you assist in some way. My wife and I will come for a visit as soon as we
can free up some time. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
Kind regards,Gregg

Reply: Gregg, I don't have any info but what I will do is post your request on the MCHC website and I will send
an email to each member of the MCHC and one lady with the Milam County Genealogical Society. 
Do you have any additional info?  Such as first names, wife's maiden names, Date of birth and/or death, years
they lived in Rockdale (even if approximate)  whatever info you have would be great.  The more info the better
the results you might get.
I might also suggest that you post your request on these sites:
They both are monitored by the Genealogical Society.
If you can let me know this info also, I'll get it posted online. Good luck with your search.
Jerry Caywood - MCHC website Administrator


Jason Rabb
Los Angeles. CA
My great-great-grandfather, R.H. Rabb (1852-1919), owned an 800-acre ranch in Liberty Hill Community, near
Thorndale.  I am hoping to find a photo of him, his wife Martha, or the family.  (There children were Seth,
Robert, Eugene, Clara, Vance, and Sadie.  Eugene was principal at one of the "colored schools".). Please let me
know if you find anything.

Reply: email sent to all MCHC members and Linda Whorton - MCGS

REPLY: 21 Mar 2014 - My name is Henry James Bradford and I was born in the Liberty Hill Community.  Growing up
as a boy I remembered Mr. Vance Rabb lived in Taylor, TX and owned a barber shop there in Taylor.  I think the
shop was on 1st street in Taylor.  He and my Dad were close friends.  My Dad, Henry Bradford (1894-1966).
Perhaps you may be able to find some leads in Taylor about your great-great grandfather.  There may be photos
from the barber shop in an archive somewhere.  This is a very small lead, but I hope it helps in your search.
Henry James Bradford

Joyce Beene
3002 The Mall
Williamsburg, VA 23185
I am the granddaughter of Louise Irby Wise and Jess P. Wise, who had a farm in Maysfield until Louise moved to
Dallas when she was 80.  I have a  plate in excellent condition commemorating the First
Presbyterian church of Maysfield, TX which belonged to my grandmother and wondered if the Milam County
Historical Commssion or someone else might like to have it as a donation.


REPLY: I sent email to all MCHC members and thanked Ms Beene for her generous offer.

REPLY: Dear Ms Beene,
First off, a sincere thank you for taking the time and effort to contact the Milam County Historical Commission
with your plate of local historical significance.
My first thought was to contact the Pastor, and while searching for the Maysfield Presbyterian Church contact
information, I found a goldmine. They have their own Historical Association (Maysfield Presbyterian Historical
Association). Their website is  .
I felt that we (MCHC)  would be a needless middleman if we pursued this any farther on our end. I brought up
their site with no problem, but should you have any issues, please feel free to reply back to me. I, like you,
would very much like to see your memorial plate have a home of honor, where it would be appreciated. It sounds
like the MPHA is in for a real treat.
On behalf of the Milam County Historical Commission, we again thank you for your generosity, kindness and
thoughtfulness. I thought that you might enjoy seeing a few photo's of the beautiful, historic Maysfield
Presbyterian Church.  Respectfully, Jack Brooks
Ms. Beene, I wanted to follow up to make sure that the Maysfield Presbyterian Church Historical Society "hooked
up' with you. I happened to learn, last night, that one of the members of the Milam County Genealogical Society
(Randy Billingsley) is a member of the Maysfield Presbyterian Church Historical Society. I would like to put
both of you in touch with one another if you still hold the commemorative plate. Please advise.
Regards, Jack Brooks

Ryan Moss
6614 Claire Brook Drive
Richmond, TX  77407
I am interested in visiting the Moss-Ragsdale Cemetery (my 4x great grandfather, Matthew Moss, is buried
there). Could you provide the current landowner's contact information so I could ask permission to stop by the
cemetery?  Thank you.
I emailed Mr Moss and advised him that I would forward his message to the MCHC members and he should be hearing
from someone shortly.
Mr. Moss,    The Moss Cemetery needs to be accessed via the property of Mr. and Mrs. Steve Young. The caretaker
of their property is a Mr. Mike Offield. I spoke with him this morning. He stated that the Young's encourage
family members/ descendants to visit the cemetery and to pay their respects. Mr. Offield is charged with the
task of assisting access. His only request is, if possible, to give him a few days notice beforehand, so that
he would be available when you needed his assistance.  I will send Mr. Offield's email and cell # to you in a
separate post.  I would like to refer you to the Rockdale Reporter Newspaper web site. There are a number of
archived news articles regarding the history or the cemetery. Also some related to the Young's efforts in
improving what was once a very  neglected cemetery. Thanks to the Young's, Moss now has a Texas Historical
Commission Historical Cemetery Designation. The web site is You will then see a
search box for "search archives". Type "Moss-Ragsdale Cemetery" and enter, then you should see the articles
mentioned.  I also notice that the "Find a Grave" website has information on your ancestor. Since I see that
you reside in Richmond, I'll give you driving directions from Cameron: From the intersection of  US 77 and
State Hwy. 36, proceed one block west to N. Crockett St. (FM 1600) and turn left and drive approx. 10 miles to
FM 487, and turn to the right. Go about two more miles to County Road 412 and turn to the left. The road will
make a sharp turn to the right after about a mile and drive another 3/4 mile to the Hi Tension power lines.
That will be CR 412B. Turn left and drive to the gate. I am "ccing" this reply to Mr. Jerry Caywood, our Milam
County Historical Commission webmaster, so that it may be posted to our website. Should you need any further
assistance, please feel free to reply to this post.  Respectfully, Jack Brooks 


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
Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
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