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
Minutes of meetings
                       Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                    February 10, 2014
                          Thorndale Area Chamber of Commerce

1. The Milam County Historical Commission met at the Thorndale Area Chamber of Commerce
building in downtown Thorndale on Monday, February 10, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.  The meeting
was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Chairperson Johnnielyn Brown.  The signup sheet was
circulated for attendance, volunteer hours and mileage related to MCHC.  Members
attending were:  Geri Burnett, Johnnielyn Brown, Carole Simank, Annabelle Hodge-Heine,
Beth Brooks, Jack Brooks, Patsy Brymer, James Brymer, Pam Schattle, James Bradford, Mary
Neely, Darlene Anglen, and Darleen Tucker.

2. Johnnielyn Brown welcomed new members Pastor James Brymer and wife Patricia.  She also
welcomed guest Gene Baird.  She thanked the Thorndale Area Chamber of Commerce for
allowing the MCHC to meet in their building.

Joy Graham was allowed to give the Certified Local Government committee report since she
needed to leave early. 
   •Joy reported on the 2005 CLG Survey book which is a compilation of historical
documentation of rural Milam County property and cemeteries.  This book is in the process
of being updated to include the El Camino Real National Trail information, historical
markers and cemeteries not previously documented.  The CLG is under the National Park
Service.  Lucile Estell and Joy Graham presented this information two years ago at San
Antonio during the national meeting.  Rockdale and Yorktown were recognized as model
communities.  Joy noted that it should be Milam County and Yorktown. 
   •Joy also showed a “Model Trail Program” pamphlet.  Joy noted that Milam County can
use the current county activities as a guideline to update the plan.  She also suggested
a representative from each community be appointed to name persons to work within each
community for further research and updating.
   •In addition, Joy presented and read from Frank “Trey” Felton’s new book, Jewel of
Hiram – Tales of Crash Carter, which references Milam County.  She noted that he stated
in the preface that this was a work of fiction. 
   •Joy announced that this is her last year on the GLC because she plans to retire.  She
is currently working on a book which will include her “Bit of History” articles published
in the local newspapers.

3. The minutes of the December 2013 meeting were approved as emailed on a motion by
Carole Simank, seconded by James Brymer.  Motion carried. 

4. The treasurer’s report was presented by Darleen Tucker for December 2013 with an
ending balance of $12,301.99 in the General Fund, which includes $4000.00 for the
Rosenwald School, for an actual balance of $8,301.99.  The December 2013 balance in the
Preservation Fund showed an ending balance of $5,181.74.  The January 2014 balance in the
General Fund revealed an ending balance of $12,284.79, which includes $4000.00 for the
Rosenwald School, for an actual balance of $8,284.79.  The January 2014 balance in the
Preservation Fund was $6,685.03.  The Rockdale Historical Society 2013 Grant of $3,500.00
was paid on 1-24-14 and a donation from the Milam County General Fund for $5,000.00 was
received along with $3.29 in interest.  All grants for previous years have been paid. 
The reports were approved on a motion by Geri Burnett, seconded by Pam Schattle.  Motion

5. Old Business:
   •Cemetery Bricks:  Jack Brooks reported that fifty bricks have been ordered, but are
not in at this time.  He will market them as soon as they arrive.  A profit of $40 is
made on each brick.  Jerry Caywood will help with marketing on the MCHC internet site.
Jack wanted to thank Jerry for all the behind-the-scenes work he does on the internet.
   •Milam County Judges Research:  Jack Brooks reported that he has been working on the
150 years of research on photos and documentation.  Lana Shuffield has been helpful.  He
has 14 of 26 judges completed.  This was previously a project of the Milam County Museum
but was on hold.
   •San Andres Cemetery:  Jack Brooks reported the work was stalled due to weather.
   •Brown Cemetery:  Jack Brooks reported that work was also stalled due to weather.
   •Rockdale City Cemetery:  Approval has been received to use interns to update cemetery
   •Rainbow Courts:  Approval has also been received to use interns for this project.
   •John W. Hamblen Cemetery:  Guest Gene Baird reported on his work restoring the
Hamblen Cemetery which is located on the old Yeager Farm between San Gabriel and the Hare
Community on FM 1331.  Gene reported that Billy Carlson farms the 300 acre place and has
given him permission to get to the cemetery any time.  Gene and another man have located
73 grave markers by clearing brush and trees.  There is now an electric fence around the
The cemetery is located behind a two story house and through two gates and in the middle
of a cornfield.  He has been working on it for four months.  The last burial was in 1931. 
The land has been recently surveyed and sold but he still has access to the cemetery. 
Gene asked for help with research and Johnnielyn will get information to him on how to
contact persons that would help him.
   •Rosenwald School:  No new work has been done on the school.  The contractor has not
been paid.  Materials for the roof in the amount of $6000 are on site but the contractor
is out $45,000 and would like to discontinue his work.
The roof material was purchased with grant money held in the MCHC account by the county. 
The local group wants to complete the work but the head of the non-profit group is in
Washington, D.C. and is not easy to work with.  The project has been in the works for 6-7
years and is currently stalled.
   •Bryant Station Bridge:  Johnnielyn needs to talk with Judge Barkemeyer.  The bridge
was on the MCHC agenda in 2008-09 and no action was taken.  A 501c3 is needed to proceed
with this project.
   •Commissioner’s Court Meetings:  Johnnielyn Brown is unable to attend the twice-
monthly court meetings due to full-time work.   Johnnielyn stated she needed a volunteer
to attend for the purpose of gathering information, being a resource for questions and to
create a presence for MCHC.  Pam Schattle volunteered to attend the meetings to represent
MCHC.  Johnnielyn will consult with Pam each month after the court agenda is published. 
Thank you to Pam for volunteering.
   •MCHC Meetings:  All meetings for the year have been set.  Johnnielyn is waiting on
confirmation from the Kay Theater group.  Following confirmation, she will send a list to
everyone.  The next meeting will be held at the Sharp Store on April 14 at 10:00 a.m.

6. Committee Reports:
   •Preservation Grants:  Geri Burnett reported the following:
-Grant income:$5,000.00
        $5,000.00   City of Rockdale
        $1,000.00   City of Thorndale
        $  200.00   Gause Community
        $  145.00   Memorials

-2014 Grants:$2,000.00Milam County Museum/Fireproof Vault
        $2,200.00   Kay Theater/HVAC (air/heat)
        $3,000.00   Certified Local Government/Update Historical Survey
        $2,045.00   SPJST Lodge No. 15/Buckholts/ Repair Building
        $2,100.00   San Gabriel Christian Church/Repair Building

-Geri reported that all past grants have been used.  The current 2014 grants are the only
outstanding grants.  Buckholts has given money in the past but not this year.  Cameron
gave money one year only.  Milano has never given money.
-Geri noted that Liz Carmack from the Texas Association of Counties is writing an article
on Preservation Grants. 
She toured the Rockdale Train Depot, the Kay Theater, and the Sneed Cabin.  She will send
a copy of the article and the magazine when it is published.  Geri also reported that she
will ask Lucile Estell if she would provide articles on each of the restored preservation
places, along with photos, to the local papers.
   •Milam County Museum:  Pam Schattle reported on changes at the museum.  They now have
Wi-Fi and the gift shop has been removed.  They will now have museum-type items for sale
with no sales tax.  They will carry more affordable gifts and souvenirs along with
children’s history books.  The museum will have more historical presentations.  They are
also adding more tables and chairs.  There will be a Membership Party on February 22 at
the Mercantile Bistro from 8:00-12:00 p.m.  Memberships begin at $50.00.
   •Oral History:  Jack Brooks reported he is working with James David Rutherford who was
referred by Elaine Bauman.  He was also given the names of Kinder Chambers and Floyd
Zuehlke, Sr. as possible candidates.
   •Strategic Planning:  It was noted that Joan Ratliff will discuss this at the April

7. The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m. on a motion by Geri Burnett, seconded by Carol
Camp.  Motion carried.  Refreshments were provided by the officers.

Respectfully Submitted,
Darleen Tucker, Acting Secretary

                       Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                      April 14, 2014
                             Sharp General Store - 10:00 AM

                       Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                       June 9, 2014
                          Rainbow Courts - Rockdale - 10:00 AM

Geri Burnet, Vice Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:10 am and welcomed everyone. 
She passed around the volunteer hours sign- up sheet.  Geri introduced Nancy Baggett
Coleman as our guest at the meeting and discussed her interest in Milam County history. 
Welcome Nancy!
Minutes were emailed. There were no questions or changes. Jack Brooks made the motion to
accept the minutes and James Bradford seconded the motion.  Motion carried.
Darlene Tucker gave the April and May treasurer report.  Stan Graves made the motion to
accept the reports for both months and Joan Ratliff seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

   • Geri announced that the August meeting will be held at the Gause United Methodist
Church, October meeting at the Kay Theater in Rockdale and the December meeting at the
Milam County Museum.
   • El Camino Real Trail Update;  Dr. Lucile Estell announced that the annual ECR
meeting will be held in October in San Antonio and encouraged everyone to attend
especially since it will be the 10th anniversary of the trail.  She and Joy have a goal
of developing a video tour of Milam County’s portion of the ECR.  She also announced that
Milam County will be designated as a Model Trail Community. 
   • Courthouse Brick Sales;  Jack had no report at this time.  Applications are
available on our website.
   • Cemetery update;  Jack and Beth Brooks gave an update on cemetery work/progress. 
Their current focus has been on the Rockdale Old City Cemetery which has stimulated a lot
of interest from organizations and individuals wanting to help.  The Garden Club is
willing to help with the landscaping.  It was mentioned that the Master Naturalists
should be asked to come up with a landscape design.  Joyce Dalley is the City Council
liaison with the City Cemetery Committee.  Wallace Jones is chair of the committee. The
Flagpole was donated by Rockdale Historical Society.  Rotary and students assisted on a
work day.  Joan announced that Rotary is willing to have more work days and that she will
have a donation request on the agenda for the next Rotary Board meeting. Denice, who is
also a Rotary member, will organize students for work days also.  Jack mentioned that the
priority right now is not only cleaning up the cemetery but restoring headstones.
   • Update on the Cameo Building and Rosenwald School;    Geri gave an update on the
Cameo Building.  The City Council has made the decision to demand that it be torn down. 
The Rosenwald school update included a discussion about the stack of lumber that was
purchased to repair the roof of the building.   The work has not been done and the lumber
is damaged because it is outside and exposed to the elements.  Both Geri and Lucile
reiterated that the lumber does not belong to MCHC.  Geri will talk with Johnnielyn and
try to organize a meeting with Judge Barkemeyer and the Rosenwald School owners to
develop a plan of action or to at least determine the next step in saving the lumber and
restoring the building. 
   • There was no additional old business.
New Business:
   • Joan gave some historical information about Rainbow Courts Motel and the Old 1912
Catholic Church.  Rainbow Courts received a grant from Dan Utley’s program through Texas
State University for graduate students to research and complete the THC application for
historical designation for  Rainbow Courts.
   • Worley Bridge Rededication;   Geri announced that the dedication is scheduled for
June 26th.  She needs help or volunteers.  Invitations will be going out next week but
Geri has already contacted many government officials.   MCHC will be responsible for
refreshments, cookies and lemonade.  James will bring chairs and tables.  Joan will do
centerpieces and lemonade.  Several members volunteered to bring cookies.
   • Card of Appreciation and gift for Terry Colley, THC;      Geri sent a card and a pen
made out of Milam County wood.  Lucile made a motion that we reimburse Geri for the card
and gift.  Motion was seconded.  Motion carried.
   • Additional New Business; Lucile discussed the grant from Texas State University for
the Old City Cemetery.  The application has been completed for THC. 
The Community Band needs funds and Lucile made a motion to donate $250 to the band and
Darlene seconded the motion.  Motion carried.  The Community Band has performed at
several marker dedications.
Darlene Tucker announced that on June 23rd, Milam County Farm Bureau is promoting
“Citizens Day” by sponsoring a tour of ECR.  Thorndale School is donating a bus.  Any
student is invited.  The tour will start at Apache Pass and end with a Water Conservation
program at Apache Pass.  Darlene has also been asked to help with the planning of
Thorndale’s 125th anniversary in 2015.  She has a booklet about the history of schools
and churches in Thorndale that she is going to put in the Milam County Museum.  Darlene
asked for any events that need to be added to calendar through December.

   • CLG;   Joy is not present but Geri was asked to report that the CLG book/survey
update should be finished soon, hopefully by the summer.
   • Preservation Grant; Time to ask Cities and the County for money again.  The Milam
County Museum Grant was amended to include rolling shelves that will be in the vault. 
The actual grant was written for just the vault.  The committee voted to support the
amendment to the grant.
Kay Theater has completed their work.
   • Strategic Planning; Joan announced that we will begin work again on our Strategic
Plan this fall so be prepared to work on goals.
   • Publicity;   Lucile stated that we have had a lot of publicity on the City Cemetery
work.  Please let Lucile know of anything that needs to be in the newspapers or radio.
   • Oral History; Jack had no report.

Geri thanked Lucile, Joan and Geri for providing refreshments today and thanked Joan for
hosting the meeting at Rainbow Courts. Can’t complain about the rain!
Jack thanked Geri for always stepping up to the plate and helping any group or anyone to
get things done.  We appreciate her willingness to work so hard for MCHC.
Annabelle announced that Carol and Dennis Simank are going through a rough time.  Geri
asked if anyone had talked to Tense.  No one had any update on Tense.  Geri asked for
prayers for our members that are in need of our support at this time.
Meeting was adjourned at 12 noon.


                      Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                    August 8, 2014


                      Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                   October 13, 2014


                      Minutes of Milam County Historical Commission
                                   December 8, 2014
                       Milam County Historical Museum - Cameron, TX

Merry Christmas!
Chair,  Johnnielyn Brown, called meeting to order at 10:06 am and welcomed members to our
December meeting.
The roll was called and volunteer hours reported by members.
Chair Brown recognized and thanked Charles King and the Milam County Museum for hosting
our December meeting.  She also mentioned that the Museum needs more volunteers.
October minutes were reviewed and two corrections were made.  Rev. Brymer made a motion
to accept the minutes with corrections and Geri Burnett seconded the motion.  Motion
Treasurer, Darlene Tucker, was unable to attend the meeting but will email the Treasurer
Report to members.

   • 1. A Cemetery update was given by Jack Brooks.  The Rockdale Rotary Club and Lions
Club each donated to the Old City Cemetery project.  Work has slowed somewhat at the City
Cemetery due to holidays but will pick up soon.  Paul Luckey has been using his equipment
to raise the fallen headstones and has been repairing those in need.  Geri Burnett made a
motion to recognize Jack’s “anchors” or very dedicated workers on this project by
inviting them to our MCHC meeting, giving them a certificate and saying thank you in
person.  Jack will print the certificates, we will buy frames and Johnnielyn will send
each a personal invitation to our meeting.  The motion was seconded by Joan Ratliff. 
Motion carried.  Jack also mentioned the San Andres cemetery project and how much that
project meant to Billie Noack who passed away Saturday, December 6.  She will be missed
by all.
   • 2.Marker Update:  Chair Brown reported that she just received an email from THC
requesting the $100 application fee and more information regarding the Rainbow Courts
Motel application.

   • 1. Commissioners Court Report:  Our annual MCHC report will be presented to the
Commissioner’s Court in January, 1/26/15.  Please mark your calendars and plan to attend.
   • 2.THC News:  Refer to Marker Update
   • 3.Additional New Business:  Geri attended a workshop and the La Belle exhibit at the
Bob Bullock Museum.   She suggested that the Commission take a road trip to Austin to
tour the museum and to have our next meeting, possibly in April 2015.  Geri volunteered
to make all of the arrangements.
   • 4.Geri also mentioned that it is time to dedicate Carter’s benches.  This will need
to take place in the spring or early summer because it will be an outside event. 
Johnnielyn will work on the arrangements.  Geri offered to call Anne Collins to invite
the family to the dedication.  The benches will be placed at the Cameron City Park.
   • 5.It was suggested by members that the Kay Theater functions be advertized in County
newspapers to encourage people from other cities to attend.  Geri will mention this to
Bob Burnett and Johnnie will take this suggestion to the Kay Theater Board.


   • CLG:  No Report
   • Preservation Grant:  Geri Burnett announced that the grant application forms are
available online, Rainbow Courts office and the Courthouse.  Three applications have been
received, Milam County Museum, The Kay Theater, the IGN Depot.  Geri gave a brief history
of the MCHC Preservation Grant that began in 2008.  Pam suggested that the Salem
Community Schoolhouse needs restoration.  Jack offered to research ownership of the
property.  Once ownership is determined, we will determine if there is anything that MCHC
can do to help preserve the property.
   • Strategic Planning:  Joan thanked those members who had submitted their SWOT
analysis.  We are still on our timeline and will continue working toward our goals.
   • Publicity:   No Report
   • Oral History:   It was suggested that many older people are not comfortable talking
with a stranger.  Jack frequently contacts a person but does not hear back from them
perhaps because they do not know him.  Geri suggested that each member can take an oral
history with Jack’s assistance.  MCHC has a recorder with an instruction sheet on Oral
Histories from Baylor University.  All members need to think of potential Oral History
   • Joan suggested that we run ads in the key county newspapers promoting the sale of
bricks for Christmas gifts.  Jack stated that the turnaround time is lengthy and
impossible to get the bricks by Christmas.  Joan suggested that we do a certificate or
gift acknowledgement for the purchaser to give the recipient and then notify them when
the brick is ready.  Joan made the motion to spend up to $200.00 for ads.  Rev. Brymer
seconded the motion.  Johnnie will contact Lucile and ask her to place the ads.  Jack
will be the contact person for people interested in purchasing bricks.
Joan made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:50 a.m. and Annabelle seconded the
   • Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Joan Ratliff, MCHC Secretary