Commentary

MILAM HISTORY

Ben Milam has statues in Cameron, San Antonio
Joy Graham

During a planning session in 1935, the Texas Board of Historians selected historical figures to be the subjects of statues and locations for the statues.

Board members were Louis Wiltz Kemp, J. Frank Dobie and Paul Folk. Public hearings were held in Austin for proposals from cities or counties interested in a statue.

Kemp, a native of Milam County dominated the committee. He was very traditional, was known for his Anglo-centric view of Texas history and made his preferences known, focusing on politics and Texas government as components of the Lone Star State’s past. The board’s decision included every appointed and elected president of the Republic of Texas along with Moses Austin, Stephen F. Austin, R.E.B. Baylor and military heroes James Bowie, Richard Dowling, Sidney Sherman, James Butler Bonham and Ben Milam.

Two cities vied for the Milam statue. San Antonio insisted on his statue being placed in Milam Park downtown. Cameron wanted the statue placed in the county named for him.

So, two statues of Ben Milam exist, one in Cameron and one in San Antonio.

Once the statues had been selected and loc at ions were chosen, sculptors were chosen and issued contracts with state funds

On March 26, 1936, several sculptors brought about 60 small statue models to the Capitol in Austin. They were displayed in the Capitol’s basement and checked for historical accuracy and artistic value.

The selection committee awarded only four bronze statue contracts. Those four statues carry the credit line “Erected by the State of Texas 1936.”

After funds set aside by Texas were depleted, the United States Centennial Commission came to rescue the project.

By the start of 1937 contracts for the remaining 16 statues were issued. These were underwritten by the United States Centennial Commission and each carry the notice: “Erected by the State of Texas 1936 funds appropriated by the Federal Government to commemorate one hundred years of Texas Independence”.

Most of these statues were finished in 1937 and 1938. maryjoygraham@yahoo.com


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2011-08-04 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


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