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
County gets THC’s top service award
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recently recognized Milam County as a recipient of
the 2009 Distinguished Service Award.
Mark Wolfe, THC executive director, said the award will be presented during Monday’s
commissioners court meeting.
“The award recognized county historical commissions that have demonstrated a dedication
to several of the THC’s programs, as well as preservation efforts that lead to a greater
understanding of state and local history.,” he said. “The commitment of Milam County’s
preservation efforts demonstrates an enthusiasm for saving the real places of Texas,” he
said. “Your service has enriched the lives of others.”
Rockdale Reporter - May 6, 2010

Historical depot plans homecoming display
The Rockdale Historical Society is planning an exhibit for homecoming, which is the
second weekend in June, and is searching for items to display at the depot-museum.
“We want to put together a display of old letter jackets, sweaters, sports equipment,
pictures or other items of interest, anything that would bring back memories of school
days in Rockdale,” spokesperson Joyce Dalley said.
For more information contact Dalley at 446-5717.
Rockdale Reporter - May 6, 2010

Genealogy society hears Minerva history
Milam County Genealogical Society met April 27 in the conference room at Citizens
National Bank in Rockdale with 12 members in attendance.
Charles Hubert presented a program on the history of Minerva, originally known as
Midway. He shared an old map of the original Minerva town plat, and related stories of
original Minerva settlers.
Speaker for May 25 will be Melinda Reeves Cagle, editor of Stirpes magazine, a quarterly
publication for Texas State Genealogical Society, Inc. She is also representative for
District 6 of the Texas State Genealogical
Society, Inc., of which the Milam society is a member.
A light meal provided by MCGS members will be served prior to Mrs. Cagle’s program. All
members, as well as anyone interested in Texas history and genealogy, are invited.
To assist food plans, persons who plan to attend should call Patricia McKee, 446-5102;
Linda Whorton, 446-3874; or Marie Hubert, 446-3937.  Linda Whorton, publicity
Rockdale Reporter - May 6, 2010

Tracking down a big memory
A nostalgic trip to see one of the few remaining steam locomotives still chugging along
on the tracks turned into a never to be forgotten experience for a Milam County brother
and sister Sunday.
Bennie Swift of Rockdale, and sister Jessie Cooperwood of Gause, thought they were just
going to pay their respects to Union Pacific No. 844 Sunday in the Hearne train yard.
Instead they boarded a passenger car pulled by the final steam engine ever manufactured
by UP and rode it all the way to Navasota.

‘Would you like to ride?”
No. 844 was on one of its periodic trips through the heartland of America and the
engine, built in 1944, spent Sunday night in Hearne.
Train buffs know when it gets near and Coopersmith and Swift headed to Hearne early
Sunday to have a look before it headed for Houston.
“I had walked over close to the train to take photos and began talking to one of the
workers,” Coopersmith said. “I told him how my brother and I had seen other vintage
trains and how we used to take train trips in the 40s and 50s.”
The man asked if they would like to take a ride.

Train chasers
“Now I ride the Texas Eagle (passenger train) regularly but Ben was as excited as a
child,” she said. “He went to the concession area and purchased a whistle which sounded
just like the train.
“All the phone calls he made began with the sound of that whistle,” she laughed.
Coopersmith and Swift got to know their fellow passengers on the trip, including a 93-
year-old woman and her family.
“Train buffs are all ages,” Coopersmith said. “The youngest passenger was a 2-year-old
boy. “We waved out the windows at the ‘train chasers’ all along the way to Navasota,”
Coopersmith said. “Some drove alongside the train.”

There were lots of stories.
“In 1944 I was a little girl and my grandmother, Lugrelia Long of Gause, and I boarded a
train in Hearne and went to Chicago to visit family,” Coopersmith said.
“This was during the war and troops were boarded at night in blacked out cities,” she
“Shades were drawn in each car and street lights were turned off to maintain secrecy
about where, when and how many troops were boarding.
“I awoke the next morning in the lap of a young soldier with whom my grandmother, and
others, were sharing the contents of their train travel rations, fruit, fried chicken
and other delectibles,” Coopersmith said.

Boiler room
Coopersmith said Swift could identify with the operation of the train.
“Ben was assigned to the boiler room on the Navy’s USS Mauna Kea during the Vietnam
era,” she said. “It seems the ship and train engines have similar operations.”
Swift shared stories with another boiler man. The brother and sister left the train in
Navasota and were returned to Hearne by a Union Pacific van.
“We had a great trip and we thanked all the conductors and personnel who served as part
of Union Pacific’s ambassador of goodwill program.”
Rockdale Reporter - May 6, 2010

Denice Doss - Rockdale Chamber of Commerce
Last week I was privileged to participate in an event in Austin with a group from
Rockdale. As I told you last week, historian Robert Hicks approached a group of us two
weeks ago about helping to promote a Latino Museum and its proposed site in Austin.
A commission was formed in 2008 by the President of the United States to research this
idea and make a report to Congress in September of where, how and if such a project
should go forward.
Well, many of us in Texas feel it should be in Austin and there was a forum held in
Austin to give our opinion and support to that line of thought. To emphasize the
Hispanic Culture in Texas we felt a group of folklorico dancers would add much to the
meeting. We invited the Guadalapauno Dancers from the Cameron/Rockdale area with leader
Aurora Cardona to attend the Forum as well to perform their wonderful cultural dances.
They came and were the hit of the show.
The Secretary of State, Hope Andrade, was there as were members of the Commission to be
sure they were in the pictures with these wonderful young ambassadors from our area. The
children ranged in age from 3-16 and they all did a great job. They were the highlight
of the event in my mind and I think others would agree.
So thank you to Aurora and all of the parents who came with their children to represent
Milam County in such a positive way.
And on to the meeting, those from the area who attended were Dr. Lucile Estell, Becky
Booker Marek, Joy Graham, Toby Johnson, Joyce Dalley and myself.
It was memorable to meet the Secretary of State and the other dignitaries in the
meeting. The input was good from those in attendance and I think the Commissioners got
some good ideas to carry forward.
One of the ideas came from our own Becky Booker Marek in that she suggested that for now
it be a traveling exhibit like the Vietnam Exhibit. That idea was met with positive
feedback and agreement. All in all it was a highlight, it is good to be a part of
something bigger than just my own little world.
And no matter what decision is made I feel our little delegation at least put Rockdale
and Milam County on the minds of those people that day. I am proud of our input and
Rockdale Reporter - May 6, 2010

Milam County Genealogical Society will be hosting a genealogy workshop

Lynna Kay Shuffield will present two classes:
Genealogy Research & Computers (morning)
Texas Historic Cemetery Designations (afternoon)
Saturday, August 28th, 2010 - 9 am to 3 pm
Milam County Genealogy Research Center at the Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library
201 Ackerman Street, Rockdale, Texas
Donation: $5 per person - Lunch provided

RSVP: Marie Hubert < > 512-446-3937
Free Wi-Fi at the Library - If you want to, please bring your laptop and work along with
the instructor - tables & electric plugs provided

"Milam County Courthouse and its People"
Compiled by Mary Ann Eanes
Edited by Preserve Our Past
Milam County Historical Commission

Click HERE to order your copy today