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
                                THE STORY OF PAUL MOULTRY
                                First Rockdale Blacksmith

Paul Moultry was born a slave in South Carolina in 1853.  He became a “free” man at the
age of 12.  Shortly after the slaves were freed, he and the slave holder’s son headed
for Texas.  The slave owner’s son stopped in Rosebud, Texas, and Paul traveled on to
Georgetown, Texas and set up shop there.  This was around the year of 1868.

Blacksmith in the Moultry family began in South Carolina during slavery.  Paul learned
the trade while a very young boy.  He and the slave owner’s son grew up together in the
Blacksmith shop.

Paul is said to have had a good business in Georgetown, and according to stories left
to his children he shod the horse of legendary outlaw, Sam Bass.

In 1882, he made the 50 mile journey to the yet “unnamed settlement” of Rockdale, and
became a blacksmith for the Valentine and Hooks general store, the only store in this
area at the time.  He is said to be the first black in this town.

In 1885, he purchased the shop and made enough money running it to buy two farms.

Paul had 13 children…5 boys and 8 girls…with one son dying in infancy.  He taught his
four sons the blacksmithing trade, and each of them operated a blacksmith shop.   This
first Black business in Rockdale was on the main street, and later moved to the old Kay
Theatre lot.  One of his sons operated a business in Calvert, Texas.  Sons, Johnnie and
Edgar worked in Rockdale, and son, Julius helped his father from the age of 12 up to
World War I.  Afterwards the war, Julius (Bose) operated a shop in Thorndale, Texas,
later returning to Rockdale where he remained until his death .

Paul died in 1936.

The original anvil, a photo of Paul Moultry, and a brief history are housed in the
Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio.

By Susie E. Moultry-Sansom Piper, Granddaughter
This article was written and photos furnished by Susie Sansom-Piper
All credit goes to Ms. Sansom-Piper
Paul Moultry, First Blacksmith in Rockdale TX
Paul Moultry

1st Blacksmith in Rockdale, Texas