Mais oui! The French were indeed in Milam

This is the second in a series on Milam County history between 1750 and 1840.

Questions have been asked regarding the presence of French explorers in Milam County.

Spanish explorers and missionaries explored this area in the late 1600's.

Mission San Francisco Xavier was built in 1748, with the second mission, San Ildefonso, built in 1755 and the final one, Mission Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, was completed in 1749.

There was a question of who committed the murders at Mission Candelaria and the French were mentioned but discounted as being involved.

Texas history reveals the involvement of the French in the east and the southern part of the state.

Missionaries from the San Gabriel missions suspected that French Explorers had been in the area, just from the Indians and their belongings.

Where would they have come by those type supplies?

A cemetery history in Milam County has revealed what historians have questioned for the past two centuries.

The Moss-Ragsdale Cemetery is located on a Spanish land grant which was conveyed in the Village of Nacadoches (sic) on the 6th day of July 1832 from French Le La Sassier, Constitutional Alcalde (mayor) to William H. Smith, attorney for Juan Jose Acosta.

This deed was recorded in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1833.

Moss Ragsdale Cemetery is on the north side of the San Gabriel River and the location of two of the Spanish Missions, San Xavier and Ildefonso.

It is just northeast of Apache Pass and the San Andres Cemetery.

Moss Ragsdale Cemetery is on private property. It is a small cemetery, fenced and well maintained.

In researching the information for a Texas Historic Cemetery, the owner found a copy of the recorded deed that was in the archives of Southern Methodist University.

So yes, we now have evidence that the French were here and owned land before Texas became a Republic.

Now we can wonder, were there other deeds naming French owners in this area of Texas?

Research: Texas Historical Commission: Historic Texas Cemetery Application, Moss-Ragsdale, Milam County, TX. 2008.

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