Scottish immigrants took historic road to Milam
Joy Graham

Editor’s note: This column continues a series based on the reminiscences of Dorothy McQuary Callaway, longtime resident of the Lilac community. J ohn McQuary, Scot t ish immigrant, came to America in 1746 when he was captured by the English after a battle in Scotland.

In 1747 he was put on a prisoner ship of war, transported to the American Colonies and sold as an indentured servant.

John was purchased by Thomas Stout who owned a plantation on the James River in the colony of Virginia.

John served out a seven year term before he became a free man. He married and William Stout McQuary was born in 1822 in Virginia.

William’s folks hired a teacher to teach him to read and write. He worked on a farm growing up and oversaw workers on a plantation along the James River.

After his 25th birthday, he moved to Kentucky where he met and married Martha Jane Bunting.

Wagon trains were beginning to head west for California gold fields.

William’s family and others organized a wagon train, boarded up their cabins and wrote GTT (“Gone to Texas”) on their front door.

The wagon train traveled slowly as the oxen and horses need to graze along the way. Babies were born to families as the procession moved westward toward Texas and California.

The wagon train moved into an area yet unknown that was occupied by Spain.

The empire of Spain was offering Land Grants to families. Spanish impresarios arranged for people to occupy land in Texas to hold it for Spain against the French government that claimed all of Louisiana and had its eye on Texas.

In 1821, after the Mexican Revolution freed Mexico from Spain, the new nation of Mexico offered land grants to pioneers to settle in Texas.

Mexico wanted these new settlers to hold Texas for the nation of Mexico against the roving Indian tribes.

Texans did not want all the restrictions and revolted, resulting in the War for Texas Independence,

In 1836 Texas gained its independence and proclaimed itself a sovereign nation.

The Republic of Texas was headed by a president. Money was a problem for the republic. Texas offered cheap land inviting people to settle the area and keep it safe from Mexico.

In 1845 Texas officially joined the union as the 28th state. Texas kept her public lands and established a shoreline boundary among other reservations.

The United States waged war on Mexico which ended in a treaty signed that settled land disputes.

There are many untold stories of what was happening in Texas between 1836 and 1845 and many of these records are now becoming available as families are researching their genealogy.

The McQuaries moving into Texas answered many questions of how people coming from the eastern and southern states have answers to what was happening right here in Milam County.

Research: “Lilac Before Lilac Festival Dorothy McQuary Callaway , Scriptorium, Beaumont, TX.

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