"The Legacy"
published by the
Milam County (Texas) Genealogical Society
Rockdale, Texas

The Legacy

The Newsletter of the Milam County Genealogical Society

c/o Lucy Hill Patterson Memorial Library
201 Ackerman St.
Rockdale, Texas 76567

November - December 1997

President 末 Peggy Wright
Vice President 末 Bill McDaniel
Secretary 末 Gloria Martin
Treasurer 末 Jon Cook
Newsletter Editor 末 Marie Hubert
Program Chairman 末 Charles Hubert
Publicity/Cameron 末 Melba Wells
Publicity/Rockdale 末 Francie Herring
Ways & Means 末 Florene McDaniel
Publicity/Thorndale 末 Lucille Towery
Library Chairman 末 Melba Wells
Purchasing 末 Eugenia Newton
Research Chairman 末 Jeanette Jewart

NEXT MEETING: The Christmas Meeting will be at the NBC Bank Community Room at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4th. Don稚 eat before you come and everyone bring a snack, dish or something for a little festive get together for this last meeting of the year. Our speaker will be Harrison Lanham, President of the Milam County Historical Society. He will have some interesting things to share with us.

It will also be time for the Nominating Committee to be appointed and they will begin their search for next year痴 officers. If you want to serve in some capacity, please tell Peggy Wright now. It is great to have people who want a job!

DUES: 1998 dues need to be paid in January

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER MEETING NOTES: (Oct.) Society members have been visiting some of the lessor known county cemeteries and found several that nee work. Discussion about the possibility of using county prisoners to clean the cemeteries followed. Pete York, County Treasurer, stated the prison laborers have a supervisor and a bus for their transportation and that this might be possible. Melba Wells reported on her research from some of our queries. Peggy Wright has purchased the 19 volume, Papers Concerning the Robertson Colony (one of the best research resources available on Milam County) and will at a later date donate this tot he Lucy Hill Patterson Library. At present the Library only has one volume of this set. Gloria Martin has been accepted into the Civil War Families of Ohio and will receive her certificate and medal in April. Our final arrangements for our annual dinner were made. (Nov.) Members met and participated in answering queries. Several brought in all their reference materials, including Holder Cemetery books, census indexes, Civil War references, Matchless Milam, Rockdale History, Some Central Texas Obituaries, Easy Search for Milam Ancestors, etc. Many of the queries we receive can be answered from member痴 homes, especially with the Internet available.

Some Early Milam County Families
by Peggy Wright

A clan came to the new world from Scotland (Isle of Skye), arriving in North Carolina in 1804. As they were crossing the ocean, pirates looted their ship, took what they wanted, then let them continue. In 1816, the family moved from North Carolina to Florida, buying land from the Indians. They sampled the advantages of that state for 18-years increasing in numbers and goods. Word of the generous Empreario land policy reached the ears of the adventurous Scots who decided they might do better in Texas.

In Dec. 1834, a three-masted schooner sailed from Pensacola, FL bound for Texas with emigrants, some of whom were destined to figure more or less prominently in the early history of the region which became Milam and other counties of Texas. The schooner, 典he Caledonia was owned and commanded by Aaron C. Dodd, one of the early judges of Milam County. Among the passengers were a blind and aged widow with three sons and three daughters. The clan pooled their resources for the trip and on March 1, 1835, the schooner entered the mouth of the Brazos River, sailed up the stream and ended her voyage at Columbia. After a much needed rest from the long voyage, the emigrants procured teams and moved westward. They halted at Sugar Loaf, not far from the old Nashville-on-the-Brazos.

The heads of the families lost no time locating land and beginning improvements. The daughter located her land on the San Gabriel River some 6-miles north of where Thorndale now stands. One brother located near her. The mother, two brothers and their families settled on Pond Creek northeast of the present site of Cameron. Later, one moved further up the Brazos River to the present McLennan County.

Another family left Georgia (overland) in 1845, with their 10 children en route, the 11th child was born. They settled with the clan near San Gabriel. Seven more children were born to this couple making a total of 18 children.

There must be hundreds, if not thousands, who trace their ancestry back to these pioneers. Let痴 share answers with the community and subscribers to this newsletter! Reply with a letter or e-mail to the editor if you know the names of these families, or if you are a descendant, share a few words with us about your ancestor! We hope to hear from you.

This Old Milam House is Full of Stories
by Marie Hubert

If you have ever traveled south of Milano on Highway 36 for about 2-miles, on the left you will have passed an ancient 2-story red rock house. Being new to the county, I often wondered who had such a wonderful house, back in an era when most country people had just two room connected by a 租og trot. The 堵enealogist I live with has saved newspaper clippings throughout the years in boxes, inside books, desk drawers and sometimes a file folder. While looking through these the other day, I found an article from the Temple Daily Telegram dated Feb. 1, 1981 that really caught my eye. It was a story about that same red rock house near Milano. According to the writer, Jeanne Williams, the stories, mostly fiction, are 鍍hat the house is haunted, its rock foundation is infested with rattlesnakes, renegade Indians were hanged in the massive cedar tree in the front yard, the house was supposed to have been used as a stagecoach relay station.

Like many other old houses it was believed to have hidden treasure in the rock walls. In several places, the dusty old pine floor has been ripped up by treasure hunters. Bricks from an upstairs fireplace were pulled out by someone looking for the treasure. About the only thing that might be true was the first lady of the house, Amanda Beard, did tell a neighbor of often hearing rattlesnakes beneath the wood floors.

At one time, the house was sought after in Real Estate Circles. The last owner (1981) was Ronnie and Jackie Mullinax of Houston. At that time she was investigating the possibility of securing funds to restore the old house. Alas, we do not know what happened to hose plans as the house still sits in decay.

This house was in all probability constructed in 1891 as that date is inscribed on several of the red rocks. Constructed of rocks due from the estate it provided a home for a prosperous Milam County farmer, George W. Beard, his wife Amanda and their son George. At that time, it would have been considered a mansion with upper and lower galleries on the front, an ornately constructed parlor fireplace and a kitchen separated from the main house by an enormous back porch (long since removed).

There were two red rock chimneys built to provide heat for both floors. Only one remains and the second-floor fireplace was cemented over. In fact, not much is left of the inside mortared walls, crumbling away to show the red rock of the outside.

This house somehow reminds me of some of the cemeteries we see in Milam County. Some that few people ever know about, with toppled and broken stones, already covered with briars, vines and tall grass, that soon will be gone, lost forever to those of future generations who might someday be looking for that 兎arly Texas pioneer. Old cemeteries as well as old houses have stories to tell. They both need to be preserved.

QUERY: Lois Mickler, 1406 Heights Dr., Katy, Texas 77493 - Ancestors: John Hasty (b. 1801, NC) and Elizabeth Rollo (b.ca. 1842, AL) m. William C. Mickler ca. 1861, AL, Trail of both ancestors stops in Milam County. Where are they buried?

QUERY: Sally Belden - e-mail: < sabelden@ix.netcom.com > - Looking for information on where Archibald Turk or his wife, Martha may be buried. They were in Pct. 3, Milam County in 1880. Their sons: Mark Turk; William Turk & Arthur Turk.

QUERY: Jeane McLaren, 218 N. Lane Rd., Texas City, Texas - Ancestors: Guilford Mack Moore, Gardner Thompson & Nancy Guilford is found on 1860 & 1870 Census. Died or left? Wife Mariah remarried. Families: Plant, Loughridge, Thompson & Moore.

QUERY: Yvonne Cates Barton, Ph.D., 5367 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK 74135 - Seeking records on her g-g-grandfather, Jesse Whittington Ford (b.ca. 1829, KY - d.aft. 1880, Milam Co.) and wife Nancy. Dr. Yates gave us much information on the family. She finds them on the 1860-1880 census but can稚 be located on 1900 census.

QUERY: Phyllis DeShazo, Katy, Texas - e-mail: < pad@nol.net > - Seeking proof of marriage of John Henry Odom (b. 1848) m. on 22 Dec 1869 in Milam Co. to Georgia Ann Westbram (or Westbrook) (b. 1849). Records destroyed in 1874 Courthouse fire seeking other sources.

QUERY: Cynthia Agnell - e-mail: < agnell@reallink.com > - Looking for information on Henry Reese Stembridge and wife, Celina/Salina, who lived in Milam Co. in 1850. They were born ca. 1809, TN. Their children: John H. Stembridge (b.ca. 1829); William Stembridge (b.ca. 1836); Lilly Ann Stembridge (b. 16 Nov 1837) & Mary Stembridge (b.ca. 1840).

QUERY: Nancy Harwood, Houston, Texas - e-mail: < ndhar@ix.netcom.com > - Looking for information on her g-grandparents, William Hite Davis and wife Harriet Elizabeth (Lizzie) Grayson, who were in Milam County ca. 1877-1908. Davis came to Milam County from Clark Co., AL in 1877. Believes he had a store in Rockdale for a time. Their children: Clara William Grayson Davis; Capel Belah Davis (b. 1876); & Albert Davis (b.ca. 1880, TX). Lizzie痴 mother, Emiline C. Graysonwas living in Rockdale in 1908. Other Grayson family members who may have been in Milam County in this period: H. C. Grayson and A. H. Grayson.

QUERY: Thelma H. Key, 2207 Spruce Lodge Dr., Kingwood, Texas 77339 - Seeking obituary from Rockdale Reporter for Thomas Key (b. Darlington, SC - d. Apr 1918) and information on his prior addresses or whereabouts before coming to Rockdale.

QUERY: Noveda Ashby Metzer, P. O. Box 408, Montgomery, Texas 77356 - Seeking information for a friend whose ancestor, Lewis William Kornegay (b. near Gause) m. Sara Keaton. Their daughter, Elizabeth Kornegay (b.ca. 1950) m. John Carlisle. Ms. Metzer is researching the Bounds, Bownds and Robbins Families. Her mother is Grace Mildred Bounds (b. 1914, Milam Co.). Her grandfather was George Warren Bounds (b. Lee Co. - d. Milam, burial IOOF Cemetery, Rockdale).

QUERY: Colonel Lynn O. Walker (ret.), 14262 Gholson Rd., Waco, Texas 76705 - e-mail: < texcol@aol.com > - Researching ancestor Lunnie L. 天itula Andrews (b. 2 Nov 1876, Cameron - d. 29 Oct 1963). Vitula痴 dad was B. B. Andrews (b.ca. 1852, AL - d. 16 Feb 1933). It is believed Vitula痴 mother was Lela Nelson (b. TX). She worked in a nursing home with her mother-in-law. He is looking for the wife of Milton Alexander Rozell (b. 12 Jan 1829, TN) m. Henrietta (b.ca. 1834, TX).

QUERY: Jackie Morgan, San Antonio - e-mail: < bulldog1@smart1.net > - Researching Beard and Bingham Families. William C. Beard and family lived in Williamson Co., near Granger, Texas. His son, James Poey Beard m. Nancy Ann Bingham, daughter of James Bingham and Lavica Dyches in 1882. They moved back to the Granger area. James and Lavica lived in Milam Co. until his death ca. 1883. Bingham Cemetery is located near the Alcoa plant near Rockdale.

QUERY: Barbara Nance Cope - e-mail: < bndcope@unidial.com > - Her aunt, Willie Finny Josephone McGinty (d. 1924, near Wrightsboro). m. ???? Van Dorn. She is buried in Thorndale and wonders why? Her children: Edna Oletha Van Dorn and Little Duggie Van Dorn.

QUERY: Vicki Smith - e-mail: < txlor@aol.com > - Researching McQueen & Young Families of Milam County. Seeking information on Henry McQueen m. Mary or Martha Granham or a Cameron. In a copy of the Wall Street Journal, there is an article about the McQueens donating land and a house to the City of Cameron. This family was between the towns of Davilla, Rogers and Buckholts. Most of the relatives call this area Sharp or Friendship Community.

QUERY: Archie L. Colburn - e-mail: < acolburn@Tyler.net > - Seeking information on descendants of James Colburn (b. 1815 - d. 1905) who lived in Ben Arnold. His daughter, Cornelia Colburn m. Willie E. Rickard (buried in Corinth Cemetery). His daughter, Susan Elizabeth Colburn m. Jeptha Scarbrough (buried in Oak Hill Cemetery and Corinth Cemetery).

NEW MEMBER: Leonard & Barbara Cloud, 3710 Brook Woods Dr., Houston, Texas 77092, - e-mail: < cloudSRT@aol.com >

NEW MEMBER: Mrs. Sandra J. Walker, 218 Kickapoo Forest, Onalaska, Texas 77360 - Husband, Jesse Noah Walker - no relation to Walker families in Milam County). She researchers Adams, Alexander, Bozeman, Bales, Johnson, Price & Tippit families.

Forest Grove History
by Bill McDaniel

My job today is to write a brief history of the Forest Grove Community, which is about 7-miles south of Rockdale on Highway 77. The community is about シ-mile from the Lee County line, but the church is in Milam County. Before I start, I want to give you a brief description of who I am, and how long I have been in the Forest Grove Community. I am the son of Arthur T. McDaniel, who came to this area in 1898, with his parents, five sisters and his paternal grandmother. I was born in Rockdale, but came to Forest Grove in 1935 at age one. As the Texas bumper sticker reads, 的 got here as fast as I could.

I have done quite a bit of research on the community from 1900 to the present time, but not much prior to 1900. With the help of the Rockdale Reporter on microfilm, I have attempted to put together a bit of information that I hope will preserve some of the history. There is no paper available prior to 1899, so most of my information prior to 1900 comes from either obituaries or other documents that I have found. I have also relied on the memories of some of the older residents over the past several years. The only sad thing is that I did not start early enough on this project, because many of the older citizens are gone.

From obituaries, I have found that some of the citizens came to the area around the mid-1860s until the early-1900s. I know there were other people here before 1860, but I have not gotten that information as yet. Some of the citizens of the earlier days are Mary L. Eads Alford Hutcherson, who痴 family came to Texas in 1869. J. J. Schneebeli, who came to Texas in 1871, and lived on the same homestead until his death, W. W. Kyle, who came to the area in 1872 with his mother and two sisters, also Mrs. Arabella Hanks, who had lived in the area since 1874, A. A. Currey, who came from Louisiana in the 1870s, William D. Young came about 1877, as did D. T. Wootton and Levi Keen. Other names that appear in the early days include Richards, Barker, Robbins, Cayton, Duncum, Stence, Overman, Hughes, Alford and others.

In 1887, easements for the SAAP Railroad were obtained, and in 1888, the railroad made its first run. This was a boom to the Hicks Community, which is about セ-mile to the east of where the church is today. Hicks later grew to have stores, schools and gins. Also in earlier years, Highway 44 ran through the town of Hicks. I will cover later what happened to the town of Hicks.

According to deed records, many of the above-mentioned people bought land in this area. It seems they would hold church services in the earlier days (prior to 1899) at their homes. It seems people would come and spend all day under the shade trees, with water being furnished from 塗and dug wells. during the summer revivals, it is noted they would come and camp under the trees in their wagons for the whole week.

In 1898, the first meeting was called at 徹ak Hill (community school house about a mile north of the present church) by C. S. Watson and C. A. Leecraft. A congregation was organized by appointing a board of elders: W. W. Kyle, J. R. Lothlin and R. S. Stanley and as deacons, Richard Boswell, H. B. Duncum and Frank Bounds. Some of the names that appear in the church records are: Fountain, Nunley, Case, Parker, Yeager, Hawthorne, Anthis, Wade, Thompson, Blocker, Tyler, Townsend, Williams, Dunn, Barnhouse, Currey, Wootton, Overman, Drenan, Grant, Andrews, Evans, Alford, Moon, Engram, Modesett, Robins, Simmons, Glover, Matthews, Smith, Richards, Childs, McDaniel, Hasless, McDonald, Plant, Riggs, McIntosh, Harris, McCown, Sides, and others.

According to some of the old obituaries, the 擢orest Grove Cemetery as it is today, was called the 滴at Prairie Burying Ground. The area was also called 滴at Prairie. It is unknown how it got that name, but the name 擢orest Grove did not come until later. The early church also had members from other communities, Hicks, Lower, Oak Hill, Eagle, Tanglewood, Cole Springs and Pleasant Hill. Other communities were also near and some of their people also came to the early church.

On Sept. 18, 1902, the congregation met at Oak Hill School House and preceded to re-organize by electing a board of Elders and Deacons. The ballots resulted in the election of W. W. Kyle and J. N. Crim as elders and Frank Bounds, J. B. R. Smith and J. P. Keen as deacons. Sometime after this meeting, the first church was built at a cost of $300 and payment was made with the exception of about $25.

Brother C. S. Watson was hired to preach for the next year, and dedicated the new church on the 4th Sunday of January 1903. Forest Grove was chosen as the name of the new congregation, so this is the first mention of the area being called 擢orest Grove. It is said the name was chosen by Mr. Kyle, because he had known such an area in Missouri before he came to Texas in 1872. Some of the names that appear in early church records of 1903 are: Kyle, Keen, Lothlin, Stanley, Boswell, Bounds, Fountain, Case, Parker, Yeager, Anthis, Williams, Duncum, Dunn, Barnhouse, Crim, Currey, Wootton, Overman, Evans, Averitt, Matthews, Smith, Lynn, Alford, Franklin, Roberts, Curlee, Barker, Shelton, McCoy, Davidson, McDaniel, Buffington, Yarbrough, Welch, Lumpkins, Rose, Sides, Thomspon, Young, Marcus, Wendling, Malone, Alexander, Owens and others. Many of the descendants of these people are still in the area today. All of the above people are deceased and many of them are buried in the Forest Grove Cemetery.

Before I go on with this story, I must tell you the land for the 徹ak Hill School House was given to the school district on June 15, 1892 to be used to erect the school by W. D. 釘ill Young, a well-known man in the early history of this community. He also gave the land to the 滴at Prairie Christian (Campbell) Church on Dec. 1, 1902. This is the place where the church stands today. The cemetery was deeded to the 滴at Prairie Graveyard on Sept. 9, 1902. This information is recorded at the Milam County Courthouse in Cameron. As it appears, the meeting they held on Sept. 18, 1902, was a planning meeting for the new church, as well as the church accepting the responsibility for the cemetery. As the deed says, the original name for the church must have been 滴at Prairie. Below is a drawing of the original church built in 1902-1903, which was used until 1959.

In the next issue of The Legacy, I will continue with the story of the Hicks Community. I hope you can see that I am proud to live in this community. I have gone through the papers and county records and have at this time come up with about 510 graves that are in the cemetery. Of these, I have recorded about 375 of the obituaries as they appeared in the newspaper. I hope someday I can put these in some sort of book form, so that genealogists 100-years from now will have the information available. I also know there are many more graves in the cemetery that I have not identified. If anyone knows of an unmarked grave, I would like to list it in my records.

Ben Milam
from Matchless Milam by W. H. Cooke

Milam County is named for Ben Milam, and everyone remembers this hero of the Texas Revolution and his famous cry. 展ho will go with old Ben Milam into Bexar? How many know his full name was Benjamin Rush Milam? This great Texas hero, paradoxically was a native of Kentucky, and at one time he became a citizen of Mexico and a Colonel in the Mexican Army. In 1835, he was arrested with a group of Mexicans intent on moving the capitol of Coahuila and Texas to San Antonio. Fortunately for Texas and Milam County, he escaped - and later joined Texas volunteers at Goliad (Gonzales County). Milam County and all Texans are proud of his man who was born in Kentucky and became a man of destiny in Texas history. [NOTE: For more information on Ben Milam, see his biographical sketch in the: Handbook of Texas.]

From the Allen County Chapter, OGS痴 June 1997 newsletter - From a program given by Mrs. Lois M. Copley - [Also see: The Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 30, Number 3, 1985]

What To do When the Courthouse has Burned and You are all Out of Marshmallows!

1. The courthouse may not have burned totally. Some records may have been saved because they were in an annex or wing that didn稚 burn. Don稚 always rely on what the Handy Book for Genealogists or the Court Clerk says.

2. There maybe/have been two courthouses in the same county.

3. The records may have been reconstructed or re-recorded and remember that deeds sometimes are not recorded for years after the transfer. (Also check with county abstract offices.)

4. Check neighboring counties for deeds, probate records and marriage records. People who eloped did not go to their own town courthouse for the licenses.

5. Check everything in the courthouse where the family went to and the county where they came from if the county is known. Many sold land to relatives before moving on.

6. Check the parent county/counties land records and state land records for those counties. In the case of a territory claimed by two states, check both state records.

7. Check the progeny (those counties that were formed from your county/counties) for land records that may have been recorded at a much later date.

Federal Records:

1. Census Records

2. Mortality schedules

3. Military records and pensions

4. Federal land grants, homestead states

5. Immigration and Naturalization

6. Decennial Digest - This index covers 1658 to 1906 and is found in most law libraries. It indexes cased that went to appellate or higher courts.

7. Federal Court Records - Remember Federal records are records of the Revolution and records created since that time.

State Records:

1. Census - state and territorial

2. Militia and pension

3. Birth and death records

4. Tax records - real, personal & poll

5. Land lotteries, land grants, homesteads

Township or Town Records:

1. Items very according to the state. In Ohio I saw a list of men available and of the right age for military duty from the late 1800s.

2. Other states may have townships that function like a county or a city and have the equivalent records.

City Records:

1. Birth and death records

2. Marriage records

3. Cemetery records

4. Tax records

5. City directories (more currently, telephone books)

Historical Collections

1. State archives and libraries

2. County Historical Societies

3. College libraries

4. Local libraries

5. Private libraries (DAR, SAR, Railroad, etc.)

Note: In all these libraries, be sure and check the Vertical Files

Published Records:

1. County histories

2. Town and city histories

3. Genealogies

4. Genealogical and historical society quarterlies/newsletters

5. Newspapers

Private Records:

1. Church records, church historical libraries, church histories

2. Funeral home records

3. Cemetery records, sextons records and transcriptions of cemeteries made years ago

4. School records, college or grade school records

5. Title and abstract companies

6. Private land companies such as the Holland Land Purchase of New York

Home Sources:

1. Bible records

2. Photograph albums

3. Baby books

4. Insurance policies

5. Family letters, diaries, ledgers


1. Lineage societies

2. Masonic records

3. Fraternal records

Bottom Line - Analyze Your Problem and Decide:

1. What information you really need!

2. What types of documents may provide that information!

3. Then analyze the locality or localities where that proof may be found.

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Created on 16 Nov 2003 and last revised on _______.