cabin, left, Milam County Jail and Courthouse
in a Pecan Shell|
Texas on the banks of the Brazos, had served as the seat of Milam County since
the time Texas was declared a Republic. In April of 1846 the Texas Legislature
authorized a commission to find a more permanent site for the county seat. These
men bought sixty acres on the Little River that year and named the new town in
honor of Ewen Cameron, surveyor.
Cameron's first courthouse was finished
that same year and county records were transferred from Nashville.
Alone on the prairie and fifty miles from the nearest railroad depot, early residents
had an opportunity to become well acquainted with one another.
were made to navigate the Little River in the late 1840s and early 1850s. In 1850
one of these attempts proved successful when Capt. Basil M. Hatfield managed to
bring his steamboat up the Little River to about 2½ east of town. Cameronians
rejoiced and a two-day celebration was held. Sadly, it was learned that only after
heavy rains could a boat get through. Regular service was out of the question.
Cameron had other problems in the 1870s. When the International-Great Northern
Railroad came to Rockdale, people started suggesting
Rockdale as perhaps the best location for a county
seat. Elections were held in 1874 and 1880, and Cameron scraped by on both occasions.
Finally in 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway arrived and Cameron
felt secure. Ten years later the San Antonio and Aransas Pass came through. In
19th Century Texas there were two blessings. One would be having a hometown boy
become Governor - and the other was to get a second railroad.
the railroads, Cameron only
had 500 citizens. After the railroads
arrived it was suddenly up to 800 and by 1892 the population had reached 2,000.
of Ben Milam on the square.|
"'Who will go with Old Ben Milam into San Antonio?'
Milam, for whom the county was named, is one of Texas' legendary heroes, losing
his life in San Antonio early in Texas' battle for independence." - Lou Ann
Although cotton was the town's 19th Century
economic engine, the 20th Century brought more diversified industries. Williamson
County had discovered oil in 1915 so Milam County began their own exploration.
It paid off in 1921 with "the Minerva-Rockdale field."
building of the Alcoa aluminum plant in the 1950s revitalized the local economy,
but recent environmental concerns have dampened enthusiasm.
its rail connection to Giddings in
1959 when the Texas and New Orleans railroad pulled out of Milam County and the
Southern Pacific (in 1977) abandoned the rails connecting Cameron with Rosebud.
view of the jail - viewed from the courthouse.|
The 1890 courthouse has been restored in recent years and the entire top (which
had been removed as a hazard) has been replaced with an accurate (but lightweight)
The former jail is now in use as the Milam County Historical Museum.
Just east of town across the Little River is the Pioneer Cemetery - where earlier
residents are interred. The city cemetery is now close to downtown, a stone's
throw from the courthouse and jail.
a collection of murals on downtown walls, there are also a few advertising artifacts.
These Coca-Cola signs were painted over a
five-county area by "Eddie and Monk" - when Cameron had its own Coca-Cola bottling
Ghost sign just east of the square.
bins east of town |
Milam County map|
Texas General Land Office
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