San Gabriel is located on Farm Road 486, about 17-miles southwest of Cameron in western Milam County.
In the 1730s and 1740s several Spanish missions were established near the site in an effort to Christianize the Indian tribes living in the area, but these projects were abandoned by the mid-1750s. The mission buildings soon fell into ruin, and by the end of the 19th Century little trace of them remained.
The town of San Gabriel began in 1843 or 1844, when Jesse and Peter Mercer built cabins on the San Gabriel River. The community was granted a post office in 1850. By the mid-1880s San Gabriel had a steam gristmill-cotton gin, a church, two schools, and 130 residents.
San Gabriel served as the center of a common-school district until 1960, when the school was consolidated with the Thorndale Independent School District. The San Gabriel post office was discontinued in the late 1960s. Two churches, a business, and a community hall were marked at the site on county highway maps in the 1980s. The population in 1990 was 100.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956); Milam County Heritage Preservation Soc., Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984); Handbook of Texas On-Line
Created on 15 Feb 2001 and last revised on 4 March 2003.