Milam County once one-sixth the size of Texas
by Joy Graham
This is the second in a series of articles on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail.
Native Americans were still active between 1755 and 1820, up to the beginning of
colonization of Texas.
The French did have a presence in Milam County. Indians told of trading for supplies
from the French.
When research was done on the Moss Ragsdale Cemetery just north of the San Xavier
Missions complex and San Gabriel River the owners discovered a deed at Southern
Methodist University that was recorded in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
The cemetery is located on a Spanish land grant that was conveyed on July 6, 1832, from
French Le La Sassier, mayor to William H. Smith for Juan Jose Acosta.
There is a story of “Lady in Blue,” the nun that traveled by spirit across the ocean
from Spain to this area of Texas to speak to Native Americans, to tell them of the
great spirit that could transform their lives into Christianity.
The Native Americans shared this story between other tribes and the interest grew to
know more about that spirit.
Between 1746 to 1749 Spanish Impresarios and Mexican Missionaries established the three
missions in Milam County.
Those missions met many trials, which caused them to close and be moved to the San
Marcos River by 1755.
From 1820 to 1834, the Nashville Company of Tennessee sent Moses Austin, Stephen F.
Austin, Robert Leftwich and Sterling Clark Robertson to this area.
By 1835, the area we know today as Milam County was first named Robertson’s Colony,
Saraville de Viesca, Milam Municipality, then in 1836 the first congress of the
Republic of Texas changed the name to Milam County.
Milam County was then one-sixth the size of Texas.
By 1850 all of parts of 33 counties were carved out, leaving the county we know in
Pioneers came to Milam County primarily entering through Nashville, on the east side of
the Brazos River.
They came from the lower southern states, from the European countries and the north,
east and southern areas of the United States.
Between 1836 and 1850, when the county was so large, the duties of Milam County elected
officials was challenged.
Travel back then, by horse drawn carriage or horseback, took days to reach the northern
areas on the outer boundaries of a county this size.
After the naming of the 33 counties, officials could manage their responsibilities.
Milam County opened a school for girls. This school opened in 1848 ranking as the
second oldest school in Texas.
The building, though vacant, still resides at its original location on Houston,
Street in Cameron.
To be continued next week