East Hwy 79 5589
Milano, Texas 76556
Hi, this is Chloe Yoakum, I was wondering a little bit more history on a small town called Bat Town or more
specifically if there was any historical markers where the Willam apartment complex is located .
Ms Yoakum, I have forwarded your request for info the members of the Milam County Historical Commission and you
should be hearing from some of the members re Bat Town.
I do remember that there was a section of Cameron that was called "Batte Town" but that is all I can
There is a section called Batte Town and there is a Batte Town Baptist Church. I don't know of any historical
markers in the area but I will check and see if there are any.
Ms. Yoakum, I would like to share some information about Battetown that I was able to obtain from Mr. Eugene
Mitchan, Mr. Randy Billingsley and other internet resources. Mr. Mitchan, born in 1930, has been a life long
resident of Cameron and enjoys sharing his memories of the community. We owe him a debt of gratitude for much
of the following information.
I believe that our first order of business should be that of local geography. If you would take note of
attachment #1, you will see the general, earlier physical location of both the Green/ R.L. Batte home and also
of the Battetown community. Per Mr. Mitchan, only some slight rubble from brick columns is probably all that
remains today of either. Attachment #2 shows the general location of some of Mr. R. L. Batte's business
interest locations in the Santa-Fe Town (slang; Dutchtown) community. Mr. Mitchan further stated that people
sometimes refer to this community as Battetown, but that is incorrect. Possibly that is due to Mr. Batte's
business influence and even a street being named Batte Street. This community had a heavy Moravian and Czech
influence. Mr. Batte's primary interests were farming, ranching, oil mill, law officer and property
management. Mr. R. L. Batte (1864-1951) and wife Lelia McAnally Batte (1887-1961), had 7 children. He also took
in many orphans. The only library reference material that I was able to obtain from the Lucy Hill Patterson or
the Cameron Public library that dealt with your inquiry was Lelia M. Batte's "The History of Milam County", pg.
u/k, 1956. See attachment #3. Now that we've established a basic foundation of the Battetown community and
the Batte's, I would like to refer you to the following web site;
documentation of the existence of an historic marker that once was on site, but not shown in the photo. My
friend, Mr. Randy Billingsley, whose heritage in Milam County goes back to the Civil war (Capt. Jesse
Billingsley), assisted me with information on the Green/ R. L. Batte home. He kindly allowed me to share this
information with you. The Batte/Green Home on Mr Shipp's property burned down a short time after I took the
pictures about 2005. It had a beautiful 4 poster bed dropping through the second floor. There were many old
historical books in book cases on the first floor. The kitchen table still had plates and canned goods sitting
as if someone walked off leaving things with the intent of returning. Mr Shipp allowed me to take pictures but
not enter the house. I'm so glad I was able to take the photos since I could not find any others that existed
of the old house. George Green was the original owner/builder of the house. He was a private in Captain Jesse
Billingsley's company C at the Battle of San Jacinto...another reason for me to take pictures. The next day he
was with the group of soldiers that captured Santa Anna.He died in that house and is buried in the Oakhill
Cemetery. He originally built the house from logs and later added plank lumber and more rooms.
Randy went one step further and even provided the information on the arson of the home. It's truly rewarding to
have such loyal and helpful friends. http://www.cameronherald.com/news/article_2fce4742-246b-569a-8477-
665dda01a40e.html Now, after the fire, the Green/Batte House historical marker was removed and moved to the
Milam County Historical Jail under the guidance of Charles King , Director of the Milam County historical
Museum. Back to Mr. Mitchan, he stated that the residents of Battetown lived in homes that Mr. Batte provided
for his workers. They were of "conservative but adequate means", and maintained by Mr. Batte's staff. Other
communities like this, that I have researched in the past, often had "company stores" and sometimes even their
own currency. I don't know if that applies in this situation or not. Mr. Mitchan wasn't able to give me an idea
of how many residences that originally existed, but was able to say that it was quite a few. Also, he didn't
recall when the last was destroyed. He then offered one thing better. Mr. R. L. Batte III (95 yrs. young)
still lives in Cameron and he's going to try to put me in touch with him for some of the details that he is
unable to provide. Do you think that an old photo album might be "lurking" in his closet somewhere?. I'll keep
you posted in that regard. Lastly, Thursday, Oct. 16th, my wife and I are scheduled to volunteer in the Milam
County Historical Museum and Historic Jail. I'll take a photo of the Green/Batte House Historical Marker
(that's in the Jail) for you. There is also a 1925 Milam County Soil Conservation map on the rear jail wall
that actually shows structures on property throughout Milam County. There's a possibly that we might be able to
determine the number of residences in Battetown in 1925, from that very map. Should this reply have piqued
additional interest in the Batte's for you, I might suggest reading "Master of the Sycamores" by Lelia M.
Batte. It is located in the genealogy reference section of the Lucy Hill Patterson Library in Rockdale, TX. (I
see that you're from Milano). A side note, the once beautiful "Green/Batte home" had an elaborate brick arch
in the front of the property boldly displaying "The Sycamores" per Mr. Mitchan.
One final "Thank You" to my above friends.
The below attachments may give you a better visual perspective of the Batte interests, as described to me by
Mr. Mitchan. Also, you'll note that your Williams Trace Apartments reference may be clearly seen. The second
attachment may be a "stretch", but by using Google Earth "Street View" and moving down N. Fannin St. I came
across what looks like the remains of a 2-3 ft. brick column in the underbrush in the middle of the photo. My
larger monitor with better contrast shows it quite well, but considerably poorer with my smaller non photo
quality print image. The location generally "fits" for the "The Sycamores" entrance arch. If I may take another
"leap of faith", I would imagine that this would have also been the logical original location of the Green/ R.
L. Batte Home Historical Marker. I'll try to get further confirmation regarding that on Thursday, Oct. 16th.
Regards, Jack Brooks
Very well done Mr. Jack...very well done...and thanks for sharing.
One minor correction: It was not the "Civil War" (some say "War Between the States" and some say "War of
Northern Aggression"...guess it is where you are from or how one views the situation in history) it was the
"Republic Era" when Texas was fighting for it's independence from Mexico in 1835/1836. some 25 years before the
Batte did have his own currency.."Batte Money" which he paid his labor/employees with which could only be used
in "His stores/business" till the Feds stepped in since they were not getting their share of the money in tax.
PS: Did you view this photo stated to be the R. L. & Lelia Batte House?
Ms Yoakum, I visited with Mr. Charles King, Director of the Milam County Historical Museum, today. He allowed
me to photograph the 'Green-Batte House' Texas Historical Marker for you. It is located in a glass display case
in the museum (see attachment #1 and 2).
A personal visit to the Green-Batte home site allowed a considerably better photo of the remains of the
'Sycamores' entry arch and the sycamore lined entry drive (below #3).
I would like to correct a previously quoted incorrect reference source
of Milam County Texas, pg. 52, excerpts from Mr. R. L. Batte's Autobiography, stated that he had 9 children,
two of whose first name was Lelia.
His first wife was Jessie Womack and they had five children named as follows; Lelia Abbie, Ira Batte, John
Summer, Jessie Lee Batte, and R. L. Batte Jr.. He then married Lelia McAnally in 1909 and by that marriage
there were four children; Mary Belle, Mortimer Lee, Elma Virginia and Lelia Lee. A number died in infancy , or
If you'll take note of attachment #4, and find the McLerran bridge located bottom right. That is 21st St.. If
you follow it to the left, you'll see some of the considerable property interests that Mr. Batte had in
Cameron, the Batte home property and Battetown in 1925.
Regards, Jack Brooks - bjohnr2010(AT)hotmail(DOT)com
Ms. Yoakum, I visited with Mr. R. L. Batte III today (10/16/2014) at the Cameron Nursing Center . He is a
roommate of the well known Mr. Cliff Simms from Rockdale. Mr. Batte stated that there were twenty seven
residences in the Batttetown community. He joined the military, and was in a number of different branches of
the military service. He was deployed for many years and when he returned, the residences had been removed. He
added that he was the last remaining living Batte (96 years of age) of his generation and that other more
distant relatives remain in Cameron, Milam County, and elsewhere. Mr. Charles King said that during the early
years of WWII, a military installation with military style buildings (Quonset huts) encompassed what was once
Battetown. He believed it to be an internment camp. A Cameron Herald Newspaper micro-tape research of 1941 thru
1945 would certainly glean the details during that time.
On behalf of the Milam County Historical Commission, I hope that we, with the help of all the kind gentleman
herein mentioned, have satisfactorily answered your inquiry.
Sincerely, Jack Brooks
Officers and Enlisted Men
Battle of San Jacinto 21st April 1836
2nd Regiment Volunteers Cavalry Company J Officers
William H. Smith, captain
John W. Carpenter, first lieutenant (from Arnold's
William Harness (Harris?), second lieutenant
Stephen McLaughlin, first sergeant
Thomas Patton Fowle, second sergeant
William Charles Brookfield, Wilson C. Brown,
Thomas Young Beauford, John Carpenter, Elisha
Clapp, William H. Clemmons, Andrew M. Clopper,
James Douthit, Anthony Foster, Hugh Henderson,
W.F. James, George Johnson, William D. Redd, John
Robbins, Thomas Robbins, James W. Robinson, James
Shaw, William S. Taylor (from Ware Co.), James B.
Thompson, Spencer Burton Townsend, Owlyn J. Trask,
John W. Williamson, Robert McAlpin Williamson,
William Foster Young sdct
Orin D. Anson (C.D. Anderson), Washington
Anderson, Mosely Baker, Jesse Billingsley, James
Cooper (died late 1836), James Cumba, Joseph Smith
Edgar, Calvin Gage, Albert Edward Gallatin, Giles
A. Giddings (died Jun 1836), Samuel Houston
(severe), Allen Ingram (severe), W.F. James
(severe), George Washington Lewis (Lonis)
(severe), Thomas H. Mays, James C. Neill (severe
20 Apr), James Nelson, William A. Park, Michael
(Mitchell) Putman, Elbridge Gerry Rector, George
Washington Robinson (severe), William H. Smith,
Alphonso Steele (severe), John F. Tom (severe),
Thomas Utly (severe), Logan Vandever (severe),
Elijah Votaw, Martin Walker (severe), William S.
Walker (severe), George Waters, Leroy Wilkinson,
William C. Winters (severe), Devereaux J. Woodlief
(severe 20 Apr), William Foster Young (severe)