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
                            Milam County Historical Commission

                                     Minutes 12/14/15

The MCHC December meeting was called to order by Geri Burnett at 10:20 am.

Geri reported that she has spoken to Denice Doss who would like to stay as a member and Stan Graves who will not be able to attend meetings but would like to remain on the commission as an advisor.

Geri passed around a list for members to mark attendance and volunteer hours.  She welcomed guests David Galbreath and Chris Whittaker.

A resignation letter from Johnnielyn Brown was read.  The members gave Geri a big “Thank you” for agreeing to be Chair.  Geri reiterated that she will need all of our help this year to accomplish tasks at hand.
It was suggested that we send Johnnielyn a thank you note for her service.

Geri thanked Charles King for allowing us to use the museum as a meeting place.  Dolores Mode was thanked for being our hostess and bringing refreshments.  Milam County Judge and Commissioners have been invited and hopefully will stop by after their meeting.

Lucile Estell made a motion to approve the minutes as written and Pastor Brymer seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Darleen Tucker gave the Treasurer’s report which was approved by the members with a motion by Jack Brooks and second by Mary Nell.

Darleen mentioned that Thorndale has given $1000 to the Preservation Grant fund this year.  Gause also donates every year.   Lucile expressed her concern that we might be losing the Preservation Grant program due to a lack of funding.  Our MCHC program has resulted in approximately $200,000 in preservation in Milam County.  This year the City of Rockdale and the County were unable to provide funding due to budget constraints.  Geri noted that MCHC is recognized across the state for having this grant program.


Cemetery Update:  Jack reported that Gary and Sue Bruton are working on the Norman Valley Cemetery.

The old city cemetery in Rockdale still does not have a marker.  Chris Whittaker, Rockdale City Manager, gave an update on road and parking lot improvement for this cemetery.  Concrete posts and metal troughs for plantings will be used to designate the parking area.  He has asked a garden club in Rockdale to plant the troughs and to maintain the plantings.  Mr. Galbreath discussed a recent trip to Alabama where they celebrate Decoration Day annually.  On this day, people picnic at their local cemeteries and spend time placing flowers on every grave.  The tradition is important to citizens and helps to maintain the cemeteries.

Pastor Brymer expressed his concern about erosion in a certain area of the cemetery.  Chris has asked Jack to research a solution to this problem.  Chris has contacted Master Garners for a possible solution using native plants or vines to hold soil in place.

Milam County Bridge Update:
Joan introduced Chris Whittaker and he gave a report on Bridge Park.  Chris mentioned the goals for the park include walking paths, lighting, tables and benches.  He has also suggested a tie- in to the other historical properties in Rockdale, perhaps a walking tour.  We have met with a landscape architect and may be funding a plan from him for the park.  Geri mentioned that Cameron has a historic bridge in Ledbetter Park.

Lucile has contacted Arcadia about publishing a book on the Bridges of Milam County.  Arcadia responded with a proposal.  They offered to publish 600 copies of the book for a total cost of $4,752.00 if we pay a deposit of $475.25 and agree to pay the balance within a year.  The proceeds of the book would go to MCHC.  The profit, if all books sell, would be $8,000.  The risk is that the books do not sell.  Chris offered to buy 2 books for the Rockdale Library.  Darleen Tucker made a motion to accept the proposal and Pastor Brymer seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

Lucile mentioned that she is working on a Heritage Day celebration in April.

Rosenwald School Update:

Geri reported on a meeting that she and Johnnie had with Sheriff’s deputy, Mendoza.  They presented him with all of their information regarding any transaction with William Bean.  Mr. Bean did not sign the contract but he did cash the check and sent a letter acknowledging the work that he would be doing.  Mr. Bean was indicted for fraud.  He owes the MCHC $6,000.  Lucile reminded everyone that the National Trust gives grants for the restoration of Rosenwald Schools.    Jack mentioned that some work was done by Mr. Bean such as new siding on the front of the building and support work for the roof.  We cannot use the building materials because ownership has not been established. 

Marker Update:
Joan reported that the last inscription rendition has been approved and THC has sent the order to the foundry.  The marker should be shipped in approximately 2 months.  Geri reported that the City of Cameron received the Ledbetter Park marker last year and would like to schedule a dedication.  Geri asked for volunteers to serve on this committee and received the following volunteers:  Joan, Dolores, Annabelle and Carole.

CLG Books:
Geri brought CLG Books for those that signed up to purchase.  The cost is $20.00.  The books have been distributed to Milam County High Schools, libraries and city offices.  Buckholts has not received their City copy yet.

No additional old business at this time.


THC News:  Annual reports are due in January. 

Committees for 2016: 
Geri announced new officer and committee chairs as follow:,
Preservation Grant, Carole Simank
Cemeteries and Bridges, Jack Brooks
Strategic Planning, Joan Ratliff, Executive Board, Committee Chairs
Marker and Research Chair, Joan Ratliff
CLG Chair, James Brymer
Publicity, Beth Brooks and Lucile Estell
Chair, Geri Burnett
Vice Chair, Dolores Mode
Secretary, Annabelle Hodges,
Treasurer, Darleen Tucker

Other areas such as Oral History and Archeology will be addressed as needed with no Chair at this time.  Geri made a motion to approve committee chairs and officers.  Pastor Brymer seconded the motion.  Motion carried.

2016 Meeting Places were discussed.  Several suggestions were made and noted as follows:

January, San Gabriel
February, Conoley Church
April, Friendship Church
June, Gause
August, Salty Church
October, Moss-Ragsdale/Lynn Young
December, Marlow Church

This is pending availability and making arrangements with the above entities.

There was no additional new business.

Committee Reports
CLG:  The new chair is James Brymer.

Preservation Grant:  We have approximately $2,650 this year.  Rockdale Historical Society has requested a 1 year extension on their grant for 2015 which has been approved by the Preservation Grant Committee.

Strategic Plan:  No report at this time.

Publicity:  Information was in the papers about the Preservation Grant.

Oral History:  Annabelle has the recorder.

Jack mentioned that help is needed from commission members to answer inquiries from visitors to our web site.  Geri responded to the paranormal request which was denied by Charles King.  Mr. Galbreath suggested that photos be taken at every MCHC activity and provided to not only newspapers but also posted on our web site.

Meeting was adjourned at 11:30 AM with a motion by Carol Simank and a second by Joan Ratliff.  The members and guests were invited to enjoy refreshments.

Respectfully submitted,
Joan Ratliff, MCHC Secretary