Milam County Historical Markers

Texas Brazos Trail Region
Map of Milam County Historic Sites
Markers (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Bryant Station | Site of Major Bryant's Home | Massillon Farley | Cameron, Site of First Home in | Fort Sullivan | Garner, John | Gilleland, Daniel and Precilla | Green, George | Hobson, John | Milam County | Milam County Courthouse | Milam County Historical Museum | Milam County Jail of 1895 | Milam, Ben | Site of the Mission Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria | Site of Mission San Francisco Xavier de Los Dolores | Site of the Mission San Ildefonso | Site of the Town of Nashville | Steamboat Washington Landed Here | William Carroll Sypert
Uncommemorated Sites (click on a topic to jump to that section.)
Depredation on the San Gabriel | The Greatest Fight | Little River Settlers Attack | Post Oak Springs Massacre-1 | Post Oak Springs Massacre-2 | Riley Massacre | Sergeant Erath's Elm Creek Fight | Mission San Francisco Xavier Los Horcasitas

1861 Central Hill Country

Bryant Station

Marker Title: Bryant Station City: Buckholts
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US 190 at picnic area, approx. 6 mi. west of Buckholts
Marker Text: Pioneer village of Milam County established as an Indian trading post by Major Benjamin F. Bryant, frontiersman who had commanded a company in the Battle of San Jacinto. Appointed Indian Agent in 1842 by Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas. Little River Crossing on trail and stage routes. U.S. Post Office, 1848-1874.

Site of Major Bryant's Home

Marker Title: Site of Major Bryant's Home
City: Buckholts
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US 190 at picnic area, approx. 6 mi. west from Buckholts
Marker Text: Home and trading post stood six miles southeast of this marker.

Massillon Farley

Marker Title: Massillon Farley
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Old section of Oak Hill Cemetery.
Marker Text: A soldier of the Texas army stationed at the camp at Harrisburg, April 21, 1836. First chief justice (county judge) of Milam County. Died in 1882.

Site of First Home in Cameron

Marker Title: Site of First Home in Cameron
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1969
Marker Location: In city park at 4th St. W (US 90) and Lamar Ave. N, next to Cameron Gospel Tabernacle.
Marker Text: Boyhood home of L.S. "Sul" Ross (1838-1898), Texas Governor from 1887 to 1891. His father Shapley P. Ross, Indian agent and Ranger, built house after moving here about 1841; he chose this site because it had a good spring. L.S. Ross, who was a Confederate general, served as president of Texas A& M. College after holding office as governor. In 1890 this pavilion was erected to accommodate band concerts, meetings and rallies. It was the scene in 1892 of a landmark debate between two gubernatorial candidates: Gov. James S. Hogg and George Clark.

Fort Sullivan

Marker Title: Fort Sullivan
City: Port Sullivan
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: Off FM 485 / CR 260, 1 mi. to CR 259 approx. 1.3 mi. on south side of dirt road.
Marker Text: Early important trade and educational center. Established by Augustus W. Sullivan in 1835. River navigation extended to this point for many years. The Austin-East Texas and the Houston-Waco roads crossed here. On this spot was located Port Sullivan College. Established in the early fifties. Incorporated December 16, 1863. Destroyed by fire in 1878.

John Garner

Marker Title: John Garner
City: Rockdale
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: On US 79 approx. 6 mi. to FR 1786, 6 mi. to Alcoa Plant; check in at Plant Protection Office - very hard to get to in a wooded area.
Marker Text: (Star and Wreath) Texas War for Independence veteran. He helped destroy Vince's Bridge, April 21, 1836.

Daniel and Precilla Gilleland

Marker Title: Daniel and Precilla Gilleland
City: Rockdale
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1988
Marker Location: 8 mi. west of Rockdale on FM 487, approx. .2 mi. from intersection with FM 1600.
Marker Text: Among the first Anglo American settlers to come to Texas with colonizer Stephen F. Austin, Daniel (b. 1795) and Precilla Boatwright (b. 1803) Gilleland were members of Austin's Old Three Hundred colony. The couple and their infant daughter, along with relatives in the Kuykendall and Boatwright families, left their homes in Arkansas Territory and arrived in Texas in December 1821. Making his living as a farmer, Daniel Gilleland received land grants in present colorado and austin counties. During the 1830s and 1840s the family moved frequently, farming in Wharton, Fayette, Washington, Harrison, and Montgomery counties. By 1847 they had settled in present Milam County. Daniel Gilleland was instrumental in the growth of the Methodist Church in Texas, assisting several congregations. He and Precilla were the parents of thirteen children, three of whom died in childhood. Six Gilleland sons served in the Confederate army. The family cemetery (2.8 miles SW) was established in 1848 and serves as the final resting place of Daniel and Precilla Gilleland, both of whom died in 1873 after more than 50 years spent as pioneers in Texas.

George Green

Marker Title: George Green
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1962
Marker Location: In Oak Hill Cemetery (far south part in old section).
Marker Text: (Star and Wreath) San Jacinto veteran, Texas War for Independence. Ranger, surveyor, honored citizen of Milam County. Erected by the State of Texas, 1962.

John Hobson

Marker Title: John Hobson
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1999
Marker Location: 4.5 mi. E of Cameron on CR 227. in Hobson Cemetery.
Marker Text: Born in Nashville, Tennessee, to John and Susannah Harris Hobson, John Hobson moved to Texas in 1835 and was received as a Robertson colonist in December of that year. Hobson received a headright for a league of land. When Texas went to war against Mexico he enlisted in the Texas Army under the command of Captain Jesse Billingsley and fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. After the war Hobson remained in the Texas Army, serving as a Ranger until 1837. Receiving additional land grants as payment for his army service, he became one of the largest landowners in the Milam County area. In 1839 he married Eliza Moore, the daughter of a local justice of the peace. Hobson became one of the first commissioners of Milam County in 1846 and helped to select the town of Cameron as the county seat. (1999)

Milam County

Marker Title: Milam County
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1966
Marker Location: On US 77 across from Cameron Municipal Airpark in front of Cameron Oaks Apts., .8 mi. from Cameron.
Marker Text: A part of Robertson's colony in 1834. A part of the municipality of Viesca, 1835. Named changed to Milam, December 27, 1835 in honor of Benjamin Rush Milam, 1788-1835, who fell at San Antonio. After Burleson and Robertson counties were cut off Nashville became the county seat in 1837. The later creation of Williamson, Bell, McLennan and Falls, reduced Milam County to its present size. Cameron, the county seat since 1846.

Milam County Courthouse

Marker Title: Milam County Courthouse
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1991
Marker Location: West side of Courthouse on S. Central Ave.
Marker Text: This is the fourth structure to serve as the Milam County Courthouse. The local Masonic Lodge laid the cornerstone for the building on July 4, 1891. Designed by architect A.O. Watson of Austin, the courthouse at one time featured a Second Empire style roof and a cupola with a four-sided clock. The clock was removed and the roof altered in a 1938 renovation project by the Federal Works Progress Administration. As the center of county government for over a century, the courthouse stands as a significant part of Milam County history.

Milam County Historical Museum

Museum Name: Milam County Historical Museum
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 966
City: Cameron
Zip Code: 76520
Street Address: 201 E. Main Street
Area Code: 254
Phone: 697-4770
County: Milam

Milam County Jail of 1895

Marker Title: Milam County Jail of 1895
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1978
Marker Location: Lawn of museum on Fannin St.
Marker Text: When the 1875 Milam County Jailhouse grew too crowded in the 1890s, it was removed to make room for larger facilities. In March 1895, the Milam County Commissioners awarded a contract to the Pauly Jail Building and Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Missouri, for the construction of a larger prison. The company furnished all supplies, including St. Louis pressed bricks. County Judge Sam Streetman, who later served on the Texas Supreme Court, approved the contract, although he had preferred the use of local building materials. This structure, designed with Romanesque revival features and stone detailing above the windows, had three main floors and a "hanging tower" equipped with a trap door. The tower was never used for executions because most hangings took place outdoors. The first floor had ten rooms, three for storage and the remainder serving as a residence for the sheriff and his family. The second and third stories consisted of cell blocks for prisoners. In 1975 a new county jail was constructed, and the Commissioners Court turned this facility over to the Milam County Historical Commission. After renovation, it was opened as a museum in 1978. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1978.

Ben Milam

Marker Title: Ben Milam
Address: Courthouse lawn
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: S. Central Ave. and E. Main St.
Marker Text: Benjamin Rush Milam, born in Kentucky 1788. Soldier in the War of 1812. Trader with the Texas Comanche Indians, 1818. Colonel in the Long Expedition in 1820. Empresario from 1826 to 1835. Benjamin Rush Milam participated in the capture of Goliad, October 9, 1835; was killed in San Antonio December 7, 1835 while commanding the Texas forces which later captured the town. Who will follow Old Ben Milam into San Antonio? Erected by the State of Texas 1936 with funds appropriated by the Federal government to commemorate one hundred years of Texas Independence.

Site of the Mission Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria

Marker Title: Site of the Mission Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria
City: San Gabriel
County: Milam
Marker Text: Established by Franciscan missionaries in 1749 with the hope of civilizing and christianizing the Coco, Mayeye, Orcoquiza, Karankawa, and other tribes of Indians. The martyrdom of Padre Jose Ganzabal and the circumstances connected therewith caused the departure of the Indians and the friars and the removal of this mission to the San Marcos River in 1755. Reestablished in 1762 on the Sabinal River for the conversion of the Lipan Apaches with the same name of Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria.

Site of Mission San Francisco Xavier de Los Dolores

Marker Title: Site of Mission San Francisco Xavier de Los Dolores
City: Rockdale
County: Milam
Marker Text: Established by Franciscan missionaries in 1749 with the hope of civilizing and christianizing the Coco, Mayeye, Orcoquiza, Karankawa, and other tribes of Indians. The martyrdom of Padre Jose Ganzabal and the circumstances connected therewith caused the departure of the Indians and the friars and the removal of this mission to the San Marcos River in 1755. Reestablished in 1762 on the San Saba River for the conversion of the Lipan Apaches with the new name of Mission Santa Cruz de San Saba.

Marker Title: Site of the Mission San Ildefonso

Marker Title: Site of the Mission San Ildefonso
City: San Gabriel
County: Milam:
Marker Text: Established by Franciscan missionaries in 1749 with the hope of civilizing and christianizing the Coco, Mayeye, Orcoquiza, Karankawa, and other tribes of Indians. The martyrdom of Padre Jose Ganzabal and the circumstances connected therewith caused the departure of the Indians and the friars and the removal of this mission to the San Marcos River in 1755. Reestablished in 1762 on the Nueces River for the conversion of the Lipan Apaches with the new name of Mission San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz.

Site of the Town of Nashville

Marker Title: Site of the Town of Nashville
City: Gause
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: 5 mi. north of Gause on US 79 at road side pull-off on west side of highway.
Marker Text: Surveyed in the fall of 1835 as the capital of Robertson's colony. Named for Nashville, Tennessee where Sterling C. Robertson and many of his colonists had formerly lived. Seat of justice Milam municipality, 1836; Milam County, 1837. First home in Texas of George C. Childress, chairman of the committee who drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Steamboat Washington Landed Here

Marker Title: Steamboat Washington Landed Here
City: Cameron
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1936
Marker Location: US 190/77, 1.5 mi. from Cameron.
Marker Text: In the winter of 1850-1851 with Captain Basil M. Hatfield, commander, the Steamboat Washington Landed here with a shipment of merchandise from Washington-on-the-Brazos to J. W. McCown and co., merchants at Cameron. The first, last and only steamboat to navigate Little River.

William Carroll Sypert

Marker Title: William Carroll Sypert
City: Davilla
County: Milam
Year Marker Erected: 1985
Marker Location: Take FR 487 south to cemetery, .8 mi. in far east section.
Marker Text: (Nov. 15, 1815 - July 18, 1885) A native of Tennessee, William C. Sypert entered the army of the Republic of Texas in 1836 at the age of 20. He returned to Tennessee and married Permelia Benjamine Perry (1819-94) in 1838. After two trips via covered wagon between Tennessee and Texas, they settled permanently in Texas in 1849. A schoolteacher and musician, Sypert served as justice of the peace in Bell County, as postmaster at Bryant's Station in 1859, and as Milam County Judge, 1867-70.

Depredation on the San Gabriel

The following excerpt is from the book, Savage Frontier, by Stephen L. Moore:

During late September, surveyor Thomas A. Graves set out from Bastrop in Robertson's Colony with a party of seventeen land surveyors and speculators. After surveying ten leagues near the San Gabriel River, one of the small groups of surveyors was attacked by a party of Indians. An Irishman named Lang was killed and scalped while working his compass. One of the men of the party of four escaped and ran to the men under Graves to spread the news. The other two men being unaccounted for, the men under Graves decided to go in search of them.

One of Graves' surveyors was George Erath, who had joined his surveying party after serving in the Moore expedition through August 28. Erath felt that "there was little danger in our whole party remaining a few days longer," as the Indians were believed to have fled after lifting their scalps. Graves' men went to the scene of the attack but didn't find any bodies. The Indian attack was enough to cut short this surveying trip, as Erath recalled:

We paused there and, after another deliberation, Graves cut the matter short by declaring he had fitted out the expedition, would have to pay the hands, and did not propose to be at unnecessary expense in public service. So we turned back. Had we gone but a few hundred yards farther we would have found Lang's body.

Before returning to Bastrop, Graves' surveying party did find two other badly frightened survivors of this Indian depredation.

Graves, Erath, and the other surveyors returned from their expedition early in October and made town at Hornsby's settlement. There, they found events that would forever change the future of Texas had occurred in their absence.

The Greatest Fight

February 25th, 8-1/2 miles off of the mouth of Brushy Creek off the Brazos. There was a party of ten led by surveyor Thomas A. Graves that was attacked by more than one hundred Indians. Two were killed including James Drake and two others wounded.

Graves led his men in a retreat to their raft on the Little River. Bernard Holtzclaw narrowly escaped injury when a bullet passed through his pantaloons.

Two days after the attack, Graves wrote a letter to Sterling Robertson from the Little River:

I suppose from appearances there could not have been less than one hundred. I had pitched my tent cloth in the open post oak timber within eight miles and a half of the mouth of Brushy Creek and having made [no] particular discovery of Indian sign previously, we laid down carelessly as we had done before; and on Friday morning a little before daylight they charged up within twenty paces and discharged 15 or 18 guns and killed two of the company and wounded two others.

Little River Settlers Attack
Picture of Orville Thomas Tyler
Orville Thomas Tyler (1810-1886) was among the
Childers party that was attacked by Indians on June 4, 1836.

June 4th, 1836, Cameron Texas, seventeen settlers under Captain Goldsby Childers were retreating to Nashville for protection from the warring Indians. Montgomery Shackleford describes the account:

"When they approached within two hundred yards, they divided, one half to the right, the other half to the left-passed us shooting at us-and pursued and killed Crouch and Davidson, who were some three hundred yards ahead of us. Before they could gain, those of us who were near the wagon made our way to some timber that was near. The Indians drove off our cattle and took one horse; the balance of the company escaped without further injury."

The Indians scalped Crouch and Davidson after killing them and began to fight over who would keep the scalps and booty. Childers took this opportunity to lead his party to safety under the cover of some oak trees. The Indians turned back and headed for the Little River houses where they found the remaining families. Daniel Monroe relates:

"They used guns, bows and arrows, and spears. Whilst defending themselves in their house against the Indians, William Smith was shot on the outside of the door through the leg by a rifle ball. They shot and killed deponent's horse whilst tied to the house-killed many cattle-drove the balance off-and plundered a wagon."

A few days later, Judge O.T. Tyler performed last rites at the gravesite on the prairie where the killings took place.

Post Oak Springs Massacre-1

May 6, 1837, a band of Indians entered the Brazos settlements killing a man named Neal, right on the edge of Nashville and then headed northwest toward the Little River Fort where they encountered and killed a five man Ranger party near Post Oak Springs.

Post Oak Springs Massacre-2

May 6, 1837, a band of Indians entered the Brazos settlements killing a man named Neal, right on the edge of Nashville and then headed northwest toward the Little River Fort where they encountered and killed a five man Ranger party near Post Oak Springs.

Riley Massacre

January 1836, Thomas and James Riley were attacked by a band of forty Caddos and Comanches. Thomas was killed and his brother was severely wounded but survived. Stephen L. Moore describes in his book, Savage Frontier, how the Riley depredation caused the formation of Sterling Clack Robinson's Ranger company in January, 1836.

This event happened along the upper tributaries of the Little River, a hunting grounds the Indians called "Teha Lanna" or "the Land of Beauty." The pioneers they attacked were brothers James and Thomas Riley, who were traveling with two loaded wagons and their wives, children, and another young man.

Near the mouth of Brushy Creek on the San Gabriel River, the Rileys met surveyor William Crain Sparks and his servant Jack. These three were returning from Sparks' camp near the Little River, where they had encountered Indians. Sparks and Jack Had set out from Tenoxtitlan with a man named Michael Reed and an ox wagon loaded with corn. As dusk fell on their camp on the Little River, Reed crossed the river to visit the camp of newly arrived emigrant John Welsh. During his absence, Indians attacked the camp of Sparks and Jack, who both hid in a thicket.

Sparks and Jack survived then set out after morning for Tenoxtitlan. En route, near where Brushy Creek met the San Gabriel, these two happened upon the Rileys. They advised the Rileys to turn back, but their warning was not heeded. Within another mile the Rileys encountered a band of about forty Caddos and Comanches. The Indians claimed to be friendly and stated that they were only following Sparks and his black man.

The Riley party decided to turn back at this point, but the Indians attacked them just as they reached the Brushy Creek bottom. One of the Indians leaped onto the lead wagon horse and cut loose the harness. Before he could strike, one of the Riley men shot him dead and thus started the general fight. Thomas Riley managed to kill two Indians before being mortally wounded himself. James Riley also killed two of his attackers but was severely wounded in four places before the remaining Indians fled.

The younger man accompanying the Rileys fled with the women and children during the engagement. They reached the settlements on the Brazos safely within two days. The seriously wounded James Riley laid his brother Thomas's body on a mattress and wrapped it before mounting a horse and heading for Yellow Prairie in present Burleson County. After reaching safety the next day, he returned with a party to bury his brother.

Riley survived with severe wounds that kept him confined for a long period of time. A petition was presented to the Congress of Texas in 1840 for the republic to provide aid to the crippled James Riley in supporting his wife and six children.

Empresario Sterling Clack Robertson organized a ranger company to defend the citizens of his colony. The unit's muster roll shows that they were mustered into service on January 17, 1836. The Riley death was reported in the January 23 issue of the Telegraph and Texas Register, noting that the Indians had taken eight of the Riley's horses. The paper reported that a company of twenty-five men had gone immediately in pursuit of the Indians. This number obviously increased as more men joined Robertson's company, for his muster roll, signed by Robertson as "Captain Rangers," shows a total of sixty-five men.

Among the members of the company was Elijah Sterling Clack Robertson, the fifteen-year old son of the captain. The company also included rangers who had recently served under Captains Daniel Friar and Eli Seale. Friar's reduced company remained in service throughout January, although at least eight of his men had enlisted in Robertson's new company.

Robertson's company had returned back to town by January 26, on which date empresario Robertson was conducting colony business. It is unknown exactly how long Robertson's ranger company remained in service, but it was disbanded by late February. Sterling Robertson was elected to the Convention of March 1 on February 1. Correspondence of Captain Robertson further places him at Milam as of February 7 and at the Falls of the Brazos as of February 18.

Sergeant Erath's Elm Creek Fight
Picture of George Erath
George Erath

January 7th, 1837, Sergeant Erath had ten horsebacked Rangers (all they had was ten horses). Erath's men could hear the Indians coughing. They crept up the river bank until they had a good view. Erath recalled that all were:

"dressed, a number of them with hats on, and busy breaking brush and gathering wood to make fires. We dodged back to the low ground, but advanced toward them, it not yet being broad daylight. Our sight of them revealed the fact that we had to deal with the formidable kind, about a hundred strong. There was not time to retire or consult. Everyone had been quite willing to acquiesce in my actions and orders up to this time. To apprehensions expressed I had answered that we were employed by the government to protect the citizens, and let the result of our attempt be what it might, the Indians would at least be interfered with and delayed from going farther down the country toward the settlements."

They took a position under the river bank twenty five yards from the camp and on command began firing. Within a few minutes, David Clark and Frank Childers fell dead. The remainder broke into two groups, one retreated while the other covered them with fire.

Mission San Francisco Xavier Los Horcasitas

This was the first of three San Xavier missions, located on the San Gabriel River (then known as the San Xavier River) about five miles from present-day Rockdale. The beginning for the mission came in June 1745 when a group of Indians came to San Antonio asking for a mission to be built in their territory. During the winter of 1745 a temporary mission, known as Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores Del Rio de San Xavier, was built. Later in 1748, a permanent mission was established on the south bank to serve those tribes. Archeologists working in an area near the original site of the mission found indications of walls and burials, Spanish ceramics and glass, and Indian pottery and projectile points.

Elm Creek Blood Trail

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