History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families Page: 257
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Cullins and C. C. Bowles, and at Port Sullivan
lived A. W. Sullivan and Jonathan C.
Pool. There may have been another family
or two in one of these settlements or at other
points in the county, but I have mentioned
all that I can remember who were here when
I came early in 1842. Not long afterward,
however, the Mercer brothers- Peter and
Jesse-and a man named Orr settled on the
Gabriel, west of the present site of Cameron,
where Peter Mercer, Captain Orr and a negro
servant were killed by the Indians in 1843.
"Just when the first settlement was made
in the county and by whom it was made I
never knew; but I know that settlements
were attempted at a very early date even as
far as what is now Bell county, a mania named
Taylor settling in the valley in Bell county
since named for him, whose widow I afterward
knew and who told me her husband
was killed there by the Indians. W. H.
Walker, afterward county judge of Milam
county, told me that he had located on a
claim on Walker's branch in 1835, where
he had had a fight with the Indians and was
run out. About 1844-'45 settlers began to
come in very rapidly, and the country soon
came to be what we considered in those days
as pretty thickly populated. Milam county
then embraced a considerably larger territory
than now, the seat of justice for which was
located at Caldwell, where most of the public
business was done. Before that, however,
old Nashville was the seat of justice, as it
was the principal trading point, and to that
place we generally went on public business
and to make our purchases. Old Nashville
was then a point of some consequence. I
remember being there as early as July, 1840,
and it was there that I first met some men
who afterward became well known in connection
with the history of this part of the
State, and a few who achieved more than a
local reputation. I have in mind now one
especially whom I remember seeing there at
a horse-race which I attended on the 4th of
July, 1840. He was then a boy and a rider
in one of the races, which I think lie won,
this being the subsequently famous Indian
fighter and late distinguished Governor 'Sul'
" The first court I ever attended for this
county was held at Nashville, and was presided
over by Judge John T. Mills. My
recollection is that the court was a very informal,
and I may add unimportant, affair;
for the people then seldom had to appeal to
the law for aid, those who were here being
in the main law-abiding or able in extreme
cases to redress their own grievances.
& "By act of the Legislature of 1846 Burleson
county was created and Milam county was cut
down to its present area, the county seat of
which was fixed at Cameron, then a sandy spot
among the scrub oaks. I happened to be
one of those honored with office at the first
election and I therefore retain a very good
recollection of the early incidents attending
the launching of the new government, as
well as a pretty good idea of its personnel.
The county seat was located by three commiissioners,
Israel Standifer, Josiah Turnham
and, I think, Daniel Monroe, appointed
for that purpose. I am not able to give the
exact date on which they rendered their decision,
but it must have been early in 1846,
for in June of that year, I remember, the
town was laid off by A. W. Sullivan, Benjamin
Bryant, John Hobson and Daniel
' The first building erected was a courthouse.
If I were an expert draughtsman I
believe I could draw an exact picture of
Milam county's first temple of justice, for I
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Lewis Publishing Company, publisher. History of Texas, together with a biographical history of Milam, Williamson, Bastrop, Travis, Lee and Burleson counties : containing a concise history of the state, with portraits and biographies of prominent citizens of the above named counties, and personal histories of many of the early settlers and leading families, book, 1893; Chicago. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth29785/m1/266/ocr/: accessed February 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .