The History of Milam County

 

Milam County has a long and colorful history. It has supported human habitation for many years, with ancestors of the Tonkawa Indians being present along what is now the San Gabriel River since 4500 B.C. The San Xavier Missions date back to 1746. In 1691, one strand of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail traversed the area.

 

The history of Milam County as a county begins in 1825 when Robert Leftwich, a representative from the Texas Association of Nashville, Tennessee, obtained a colonization grant from Mexico that included the Milam County area. The boundaries of the grant followed the Navasota River, turned southwest along the Old San Antonio Road which today is a part of the El Camino Real National Historic Trail, The Road was followed to the divide between the Brazos and Colorado rivers, then northwest to the Comanche Trail and back to the Navasota. The land comprised approximately one-sixth of the land area of Texas.

 

The colonization grant for this land was transferred to Sterling Clack Robertson in 1827. However, he made no progress, and in 1830, the contract was suspended. The next year the Mexican government transferred the grant to Stephen F. Austin and his partner, Samuel May Williams, In 1834, Robertson regained control of the grant and settlement of the region, then called the Municipality of Viesca. The legislative body of the Provisional Government of Texas renamed it The Municipality of Milam in honor of Texas hero Benjamin Rush Milam. During the First Congress of the Republic of Texas, the grant became known as Milam County.

 

As colonization progressed, the counties of Bell, Bosque, Burleson, Coryell, Erath, Falls, Hamilton, Hood, Jones, McLennan, Robertson, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens and Williamson were carved from Milam County. Land from Milam County was also received by Brazos, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Eastland, Haskell, Hill, Johnson, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Mills, Palo Pinto, Parker, Stonewall, Throckmorton and Young counties. By 1850, Milam County was the size that it is today except for the transfer at a later date of a small area of land between Williamson and Bell Counties. The land remaining after these transfers of land is the land which is Milam County today.

 

The government of Milam County was located at Nashville and at Caldwell for a brief time. In 1846, citizens of Milam County selected Cameron as the county seat. By 1850, the population of Milam County was 2,907,

Milam County today covers 1,019 square miles of land. Elevation ranges from 200 to 600 feet above sea level. The land is drained by the Brazos River, Little River and the San Gabriel River.

 

Information from the Handbook of Texas was accessed on March 23, 2011.
Also used was a brochure published by Joy Graham (Milam County History)

This information submitted by Lucile Estell, Geri Burnett and Joy Graham