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Milam County, Texas

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George Bernhard Erath

SOURCE: Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832-1845, Austin, TX: Book Exchange, 1941. Sesquicentennial Re-print Edition, San Augustine, TX: S. Malone Printer, Sons of the Republic of Texas, 1986, p. 81

George Bernhard Erath, soldier, statesman, and surveyor, was born January 1, 1813, at Vienna, Austria. Specializing in the Spanish and English languages, he finished his education at Polytechnic Institute in Vienna, and left for America. Landing at New Orleans, July 8, 1832, he went first to Cincinnati to live, then on March 22, 1833, he sailed for Texas. By late 1833, he was working for a surveyor at Tenoxtitian. In 1835, he joined Colonel John H. Moore’s ranger force to deal with the Indians, and on March 1, 1836, he joined Captain Jesse Billingsley’s volunteer company, participating at San Jacinto and remaining in the army until discharged on June 1. Soon afterwards he joined Captain William W. Hill’s ranger company, and by 1841 was himself in command of a company of minute men. In the Somervell Expedition in 1842, Captain Erath was detained on the Rio Grande on guard duty when the Battle of Mier took place. In 1843-45, he represented Milam County in the House of the Eighth and Ninth Congresses, and in 1846, was a member of the First Legislature. Having engaged in surveying at intervals, to sustain himself, Captain Erath returned to his profession in 1846, and two years later laid out the town of Waco. He had, in 1840, laid out the Caldwell township. Elected in 1857 to the Senate of the Seventh Legislature, he was re-elected to the Eighth and Ninth sessions, but resigned in 1861 to act as one of a committee of two to arbitrate the differences between the frontier settlers and the reservation Indians. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Erath raised a company of infantry, which became a part of the regiment known as the Fifteenth Texas Regiment, commanded by Colonel J. W. Speight. Due to ill health, Captain Erath was soon discharged and returned to his home in Waco. In 1864, Governor Pendleton Murrah appointed him commander of a regiment for protection of the Second Frontier district, with troops from Brown and Coryell Counties. Returning to the Senate for the last time in 1874, Major Erath represented the Nineteenth District at the Fourteenth Legislature. On May 13, 1891, he died and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery at Waco. Erath County was named in Major Erath’s honor. - See. Kemp, Heroes of San Jacinto, Unpublished MS., Texas State Archives; History of McLennan, Falls, Bell, and Coryell Counties, 97-102; Texas Democrat, May 20, 1846; House Journals of the Eighth and Ninth Congress; Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas, 1846-1939.

We must say a special thank you to Vanessa Deshazer of Menifee, CA, for typing the above biographical sketch for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.

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Created on 9 July 2004 and last revised on ____________