Historic debate site in Cameron being repaired
Joy Graham

Kudos for Cameron. Working together the City of Cameron and Cameron Lions Club are keeping history alive in the county seat of Milam County.

Small rural Texas cities are challenged as a vital part of their economic growth is bringing people to these towns.

Thanks to the efforts of these organizations, a historic site is undergoing needed repairs to sustain Cameron’s historic gazebo and its park.

History of Cameron Park has long been a vital piece of Cameron’s history, dating back to 1841 when Shapley P. Ross, Indian agent and Texas Ranger moved to the area.

He chose the lot where the Cameron Gazebo now stands as the lot for his home. It was the first home in what grew to become Cameron.

The site chosen by Ross had a spring, a much-needed source of good water.

His son Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross (1838-1898) was a Confederate General, during the Civil War, served as senator and two terms as governor of Texas, serving from 1886 to 1891.

Sul Ross was reported to have been involved in 135 military engagements and to have had five horses shot from beneath him. Sul Ross later served as president of Texas A&M College 1891. That university’s prestigious Ross Volunteers are named in his honor.

Cameron was prosperous at this time in history, as the railroads had begun to locate in Texas.

Transportation had a direct impact on the economic structure of the early towns across the state bringing new people, and improving trade routes throughout Texas.

Lizzie Wilson owned the Ross property in the 1890’s and donated 2.48 acres to the City of Cameron for a park.

Word came to Cameron that a location was needed to hold a debate for the two candidates, James Hogg and George Clark, running for Governor.

Back then, meetings were held outside, if a proper location could be found. Cameron was a prime choice for the occasion and was chosen at the site for the debate which was held in 1892.

Think about this. A tree shaded park with a brand new gazebo, all the right amenities needed for such an outdoors event, and on the main route through the city.

Newspapers listed over 5,000 attending the debate.

It is through efforts like this that Cameron Lions Club and City of Cameron are using historic preservation and organizing their efforts to plan for years to come.

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2013-06-27 digital edition

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