Texans don’t predict the weather, we deal with it

Joy Graham

Native Americans who lived in this area of Texas in the 1700’s depended on creeks, streams and Rivers for their water sources.

The San Gabriel River supplied those early inhabitants with water until it dried up.

Water had been one of the reasons for locating the missions in this area. The first, San Xavier, opened in 1746 followed lldefonso in 1746 and Nuestra de Candelaria in 1749.

By the spring of 1752, it had become extremely dry and the San Xavier (known later as the San Gabriel) dried up.

No rain fell through the summer and winter months. The smaller creeks in the area continued to have some water flow but became contaminated with slime and dead fish. An epidemic broke out which eventually closed the missions.

If you live in Texas it is hard to predict the weather. If you don’t believe this, ask any “old timer.”

Some of the earliest settlers to this area predicted rain by looking at the sky for “sheep clouds”. Those were fluffy, small clouds.

The old timers claimed you saw these just before a rain. Another prediction was, if you see a turtle crossing the road, that’s a sign of rain. When have you seen either of those predictions happen lately? How long has it been since your stock pond, or as we say in Texas your stock tank, dried up?

In 1946 Sid Culp, a native of the Sharp area, dug a stock tank on the Wesley Graham farm at Nile. That was a big event back then.

It was dug with a diesel powdered dragline in an area behind a barn. As the work progressed, he unearthed a spring and the tank filled with water.

That stock tank served that farm for 65 years until the summer of 2011 when it went dry!

Texas is also known for other extremes in weather. Tornados, hurricanes, floods, and 2011 will be remembered in history as the year of drouths and fires.

A f lood in 1913 sent water raging across the county. The big flood of 1921 left 63 dead in Milam County. Some of the dead were found around the forks of Brushy Creek and the San Gabriel River. Both these floods washed away bridges, homes and almost washed the two-story Phillips Gin away.

In September, 2011, parts of the San Gabriel River in and around the sites of the missions are dry.

Hurricane Carla hit the Texas Coast in September 1961 and sent inland those people living on the Texas Coast. A good many traveled inland to Milam County, only to have the tail end of that hurricane follow them to Milam County.

Tr ue Texans don’t predict weather, we deal with what’s given to us.

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2011-09-15 digital edition

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