Commentary

MILAM HISTORY

Gause owes location, name to railroad

The Gause community emerged when the International & Great Northern Railroad pushed westward across the Brazos River.

William J. Gause donated 100 acres of land and right-of-way to the railway and the railroad platted a townsite of 12 blocks and named it for Gause.

On July 14, 1874, three towns were dedicated along the rail line westward: Gause, Milano and Rockdale.

Rail lines, depots and section houses along the tracks soon sprang up.

Having rail extended to this area of Texas caused Gause to bloom into a rural town for 50 to 75 years.

The depot supported passenger service, mail delivery, transported merchandise in and shipped livestock and agricultural products out to larger markets.

Just having the railroad brought in the telephone, telegraph and improved the mail service.

Gause had six saloons in its earlier days.

Frank Thomas’s saloon, located in the rear of his general store, was the finest of the lot. It had a gold leaf mirror behind the long mahogany bar.

Then the temperance movement came to town. After Prohibition became law, bootlegging was popular after the Eighteenth Amendment ratified in January, 1919.

A man named Scarbrough opened the first store even before the town was laid out.

Descendants of Gause’s Scarbrough operated Scarbrough and Hicks in Rockdale, which burned in 1933.

Soon after the fire store owner E. M. Scarbrough built a new store in Austin on Congress Avenue known as Scarbrough’s. It grew to become an Austin landmark,

That business continued as an Austin institution until the 1970s, with a location at Austin’s Highland Mall. John Fraim first operated a general store in Hix, ten miles from Gause.

He closed that operation and opened a general mercantile business in a new brick building on Front Street.

He had fresh dairy products and vegetables from local farmers in exchange for commodities he sold.

The mezzanine level of the store above the store supported millinery and dry goods. Carrie Wright, his sister-in-law made and trimmed hats for sale.

In 1915, the businesses were destroyed by fire.

Research: Gause, A Legacy in Pieces, Edrie Browder 1997.


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