El Camino Real trail well documented in Milam
The Rockdale Reporter’s column “Looking Back 10-20-40- 100 Years Ago” is a dated timeline of history as it occurred in this small rural town.
I connect history to change. Whether we like it or not, our lives are impacted by change.
In 2004, as legislators signed El Camino Real de los Tejas National Trail, some people doubted that Milam County was part of this trail.
Through efforts of a few people who believed, the three mission sites, the old presidio and Apache Pass River Crossing in the San Gabriel area and Sugarloaf Mountain, near Little River in the Gause Community, now mark six “highly significant” sites in the county.
Today some adult men in the area will remember working with Dr. Kathleen Gilmore as she worked at San Gabriel to validate those missions.
The families of Frank Felton, Jimmy Robinson and the Leyendeckers owned the land where the three missions were located.
Hugo Linke’s property, now owned by Linda Linke Johnson, once housed the presidio where soldiers protected the missions. The Kit Worley family owns the property where Apache Pass river crossing is located.
In 1967 Rockdale High School Pr incipal Tom Underwood allowed Carl Allen, Clift Clark, Brent Caywood, Jim Curik, Paul Lewis, Gary Tuma, Casey Brown, Billy Bob Farr, Jerry Young, Joe Wayne Cleveland, Michael Brannam, James Hirt, Wayne Black and Doug Markwood to work with Dr. Gilmore in her research.
Mary Belle Batte from Cameron and W. T. Pearson, Henry Tyler and Lester Hirt from Rockdale worked along side Dr. Gilmore’s group of archaeologists in the fall of that year searching for evidence of the missions. Some 40 years later, Dr. Gilmore returned to the area at age 94 still seeking to locate the site of the presidio and to validate the specific locations of Missions Ildefonso, and Candelaria.
Her last visit was in February, 2009, on a very cold sleeting winter day as she supervised Texas Historical Commission archaeologists Dan Potter, Bill Pearson, Dee Dee Green of Cameron (retired archaeologist) and members of the Milam County Historical Commission.
Dr. Gilmore, Voice of the Missions, as she is referred to, validated these locations.
Research: “San Xavier Missions,” Dr. Kathleen Gilmore, Report 16, THC.