Cameron, Texas

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Cameron is a city in Milam County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,634 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Milam County.[3]

Contents

Geography

Cameron is located at 30°51′16″N 96°58′43″W / 30.85444°N 96.97861°W / 30.85444; -96.97861 (30.854544, -96.978716).[4] It is situated at the junction of U.S. Highways 77 and 190, approximately 71 miles northeast of Austin in north central Milam County.[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (11.0 km²), all of it land.

History

Early years

Soon after Texas became a U.S. State, the Texas Legislature authorized a seven-member commission to find a permanent site for the Milam County seat.[6] The commission purchased a sixty-acre tract of Daniel Monroe's headright on the Little River in 1846 and named the new community Cameron after Ewen Cameron, a Scot highlander prominent in the Texas Revolution and a member of the Mier Expedition during the war with Mexico.[7] When the courthouse in Cameron was completed later that year, county records were transferred to Cameron from Nashville – a community situated along the Brazos River that had served as the Milam County seat during the period when Texas was an independent Republic.[5][8] The new town struggled due to its isolated location with the nearest railroad being fifty miles away. In the late 1840s and early 1950s, several attempts were made to navigate the Little River in order to give Cameron easier access to trade routes.[8] The most successful attempts occurred in 1850 after heavy rains made the river rise. J.W. McCown, Sr. persuaded Captain Basil M. Hatfield to bring his steamboat "Washington" through the upper Brazos up to the Little River. The steamboat and the merchandise it brought caused great excitement among the locals, and a two-day celebration was held when the boat tied up two-and-a-half miles east of Cameron.[6] Despite this, however, navigation of the river was impractical on a regular basis and places such as Port Sullivan and Nashville developed into Milam County's dominant business centers during the 1850s and 1860s.[6] More competition came in the 1870s when nearby Rockdale was established on the International-Great Northern Railroad. Faced with these challenges, some Milam County residents began to question whether Cameron should remain the county seat instead of the newly prosperous town of Rockdale. Elections were held in 1874 and 1880 on the issue with the results going in favor of maintaining the status quo.[5]

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