Commentary

MILAM HISTORY

Sugarloaf sacred to Native American tribe

This is the first in a series on Sugarloaf Mountain, located in southeast Milam County.

S ugarloaf Mountain is located near the mouth of Little

River at the confluence of the Brazos River. Indian legend says that on this mountain was carved a monument in the form of an Indian with a skull in his teeth. Some believe this monument was a marking which led to a burial ground which has never been found.

The mountain is capped with red sandstone rock and overlooks a broad stretch of flood plain land that has been under cultivation since American settlers arrived in the early 1800s.

From 1700 to 1720 a large Native American village known as “Rancheria Grande de los Ervipiames” was located in the vicinity of these same two rivers.

This village was visited by several Spanish Explorers including Diego Ramon. In 1716 the village consisted of approximately 2,000 individuals.

Another Spaniard, A lvarez Barrero, stated that the Rancheria Grande was made up of 22 nations that had been broken up by the Apache.

The dominant members of these 22 nations appeared to be Ervipiame and were first seen by the Spanish in northern Mexico during the 1670’s and 1680’s.

Seeking a safe place they moved northward to escape the Spanish and Apache encroachments.

In July, 1994, Virginia Combrink, president of the Tonkawa Tribe, in a letter to the editors of newspapers in Hearne and Rockdale, wrote:

The earliest “ white man’s” documentation of the Tonkawa’s habitation of “La Tortuga” called the Turtle, or Tortoise, was made in the 1600’s by the Spanish Missionaries.

“ In the early 1700’s, reference was made to a large Native American village known as the Rancheria Grande de los Ervipiames.”

It is also known that the Ervipiames became a part of the Tonkawa tribe during the last decades of the 1700’s.

The Tonkawa Tribe also refers to the sacred place of their origin as “Red Mountain” and it is depicted in their tribal seal.


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