Early Milano involved defending corn, livestock

This is the fifth column in a series on Milano.

M aud Lantrip, a granddaughter of J. D. and

Martha Hooker, pioneers who settled in the area around Milano in 1836, recollects this family history.

Martha Hooker’s father, Erastus Carr, owned land east of Milano. There was a spring on the Carr property, referred to as Carr Springs.

Martha and husband, J. D., lived out in that area in the mid 1850’s. J. D. was in the Confederate Army.

According to Mrs. Lantrip, her grandmother, Martha Hooker said the country had an oversupply of Indians.

Martha had a time keeping them from stealing her corn, chickens and horses. She didn’t hesitate in taking a shot at the Indians and she had a bull whip that she used on them at times.

After J. D. returned from the Civil War, he was able to make friends with the Indians and traded them butter for tobacco.

At the Fortenberry marsh and spring, Christian and Baptist churches built br ush arbors where camp meetings would go on for two weeks at a time.

Cedar Creek ran nearby and converts during the camp meetings, were baptized in the creek.

Cedar Creek School started as a community school.

It was located on the W. H. McGregor Farm, and then moved to the Ellis Jones farm.

This school was just one of many community schools around the Milano area.

Many communities contained a typical rural school for grades one through eight, a church and a nearby cemetery.

Mrs. Barber was a teacher who taught in one of the rural schools for four months at a salary of $30 per month.

The first school in Milano was a one room frame building moved in on the west side of the Milano Cemetery.

It was used until a two-story brick building was built in 1913.

In 1938, the Works Project Administration (WPA) replaced the old brick school with a one story stone school building.

Rural communities around Milano operated their own schools, until they, like other communities across Milam County, consolidated with Milano, Buck holts, Cameron, Gause, Thorndale, and Rockdale school districts.

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