San Andres-Lebanon cemetery in county’s early history

Joy Graham

Nestled among overgrown trees and weeds and across County Road 432 from the site of Mission Candelaria is the cemetery of San Andres and Lebanon community. The town of San Andres was laid off in the 1850’s between the San Gabriel River and Brushy Creek.

Records from dairies researched in Mexico and Spain state that Captain Domingo Ramon named a stream near the mission site San Andres. The history of those missions was short-lived. In 2004 El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail 1691 Upper and Lower routes through Milam County are recognized throughout the U.S. as routes of this National Trail in Texas.

After the missions closed and were relocated, pioneers to Milam County settled the area. The Knob family home was built on the site of the San Xavier Mission near the San Gabriel River. The property was purchased by descendents of Aden Worley who continue to own the property. The private landowner allowed an outdoor prayer site complete with Cross to be placed where Mission San Xavier once stood.

The land where Mission Nuestra de Candelaria once stood was owned by the Porter Family and several others and is now owned by the Frei family. Mission Ildefonso was located high on the hill on property south of the intersection of FM 908 and CR 429 where a private residence is located.

In the summer of 1750 Jose Musquiz surveyed the missions. He also supervised the building of a dam and an irrigation ditch, both up river from the three missions. Whether the dam or irrigation ditch were ever completed, is not recorded. However, traces of the dam and the ditch were found during visits of Dr. Kathleen Gilmore, archeologist, during her work from 2005 to 2009.

San Andres had a post office, a cotton gin, store and a large picnic ground used for patriotic meetings. In 1884 the Methodist Episcopal Church was located in the area adjacent to San Andres and Davilla.

San Andres-Lebonan Cemetery covers about five acres. Some families continue to maintain their plots, but for the most part, tombstones are tumbled over, sunken ground, small trees and a weed infested area remind us of the early history of this area of Milam County and Texas.

A lingering question: “Were the bodies of Missionary Ganzabal and soldier Cebellos killed by a soldier dressed as an Indian buried in San Andres/Lebonan Cemetery?”

Research: “Matchless Milam” 1984, Rockdale Centennial Book 1974 , San Xavier Missions, Dr. Kathleen Gilmore, Master Thesis 1969

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