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
All Credit for this article
goes to Mike Brown
and the
Rockdale Reporter
Rockdale-area preachers 1963 (From left, fill in ‘Reverend’ or the appropriate
title): Richard Sparks, Milano Baptist; S. J. Ciatti, St. Joseph’s Catholic;
J. N. Forman, First Baptist; O. E. Lybarger, Church of the Nazarene; F. T.
Sager, Peace Lutheran; Frank Cady, St. John’s United Methodist; William Ernst,
Mt. Zion Baptist; M. E. Brown, Full Gospel Chapel; Reuel Cooper, Thorndale
First Baptist; Frank Buechley, First Christian.
Rockdale TX Ministers - 1963
                       Some of the Guys Who Gave Our Streets Names
                            by Mike Brown - Editor's Corner
                           Rockdale Reporter - May 30, 2013

The photo you see with this column is an old one. I found it in the 1963 Reporter files
while looking for information on Rockdale’s library.

It’s 10 of our area’s preachers and it was taken during a meeting of the Ministerial
Alliance in March of that year.

What got my attention was the third guy from the right. It’s my late father, Rev. M. E.
Brown. It’s a good picture of my dad, his smile looks genuine and warm. It was that way
in real life too, but when you told him you were going to take his photo, he usually
tried to force a “for the camera” smile and ended up looking like he was preparing to
swallow a football sideways.

My son has the same camera smile, just like my dad’s, except Mark’s looks a lot more
painful. That little trait skipped a generation. My smile is perfect, charming and
debonair. Why for much of my life the only people who appreciated it were females over
the age of 87 I don’t know. That’s a topic for another column. (Don’t hold your breath
waiting for that one, by the way.)

Then I started looking at the other preachers. I remembered quite a few, but there were
also some I didn’t remember.

When I noticed Rev. F. T. Sager of Peace Lutheran and Rev. Frank Cady of St. John’s
United Methodist standing side-by-side something went “click.”

There are Rockdale streets, prominent ones, named for both of them. In fact all the
streets in the big Linwood Acres subdivision are named for ministers.

Developer Linwood Mehaffey had that idea and carried it through.

In addition to the two in the photo, streets are named for Rev. W. F. O’Kelley of First
Presbyterian, Rev. Earl Yokley of St. John’s United Methodist and Rev. Ben Skyles of St.
Thomas Episcopal.

I don’t know what churches Joe Rockdale Road or Bobby Brazos pastored.

Once, many years ago, I wrote something referencing Rev. O’Kelley and incorrectly
referred to him as Episcopalian instead of Presbyterian.

The next morning there was something of a delegation of the sweetest Presbyterian women
in my office to inform me of my error.

It was the nicest trip to the woodshed I’ve ever had, correcting any error I’ve made, in
the past 39 years.

The next week I apologized in print and mused the Presbyterians said my mistake had been
foreordained and the Episcopalians said it didn’t matter how many mistakes I made so long
as I was only baptized once.

Theological humor is always a risk, but I’m confident Rev. Jack Chelf of First Baptist
will get that joke even if nobody else does. Rockdale has lots of streets named for

Several are named for founders of Texas. Like many towns, we have streets named Houston,
Crockett, Travis and Austin.

We have an Austin Street? Yes, we do, it’s a one-block street that basically goes behind
some business in the Texas Star Plaza. I wouldn’t advise trying to turn left into it off
the highway.

A much larger subset is named for prominent Rockdale residents of bygone eras—Hogan,
Alford, Copeland, Scarbrough, Coffield, Vogel and I’ll stop there because if I tried to
name them all I’d leave someone out and get another delegation to my office.

Some were named during the Alcoa boom of the 1950s. Calhoun Construction Co. built many
of the houses in western Rockdale and Fritz Hunter was that company’s building

Rockdale’s newest “for someone” named street is in honor of a different kind of
superintendent. Walter R. Pond Drive goes from US 79 to the intermediate school.

It’s named, of course, for the Rockdale ISD’s longest-serving superintendent.

The first fall that school opened I thought Walter was really having a bad time obeying
the law.

Every morning and afternoon on the police scanner I’d hear “traffic stop....Walter R.
Pond, traffic stop...Walter R. Pond.” Then I finally realized that was a location, not a

Mike Brown