Early-Day Settlement of Hamilton Chapel
The Hamilton Chapel community, settled in the late 1860's shortly after the end of the Civil War, was located approximately 2 miles southwest of Rockdale off present-day Farm Road 2116. The early settlers cleared the post oaks that covered the rich sandy loam and clay lands and plowed the fields with braces of mules.
The settlement was named after John W. Hamilton who donated the land for the combination Methodist church and school and cemetery in 1877. However, many of the tombstones in the cemetery indicate the settlement was much older than that. The cemetery contains burials as early as 1869 and several in the early 1870's. The tombstone of one former Hamilton Chapel resident, Nancy Gilleland Anders (Born Jan 19, 1829; Died Jan 29, 1870), also carries the special marking indicating Nancy was a citizen of the Republic of Texas.
Hamilton Chapel School and Church (1877). The Hamilton Chapel Cemetery is directly behind the church/school.
Hamilton Chapel became a voting precinct in 1886. By early 1900, the Hamilton Chapel school had two teachers; one for the 63 white students and one for the 14 black students. In 1949, the Hamilton Chapel schools were consolidated with the Rockdale Independent School District in 1949.
Received the following email from Ginger Hill whose mother, Ernestine (Yoakum) Williams attended Hamilton Chapel School in the 1920's.
From: Ginger Hill
Subject: Fwd: Hamilton Chapel School book
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 11:56 AM
Thought you might be interested to see my treasure from Hamilton Chapel School. My mother, Ernestine (Yoakum) Williams went to Hamilton Chapel School as a young girl. I found this little booklet among her belongings, it was given to her by one of her teachers at Hamilton Chapel School, Mrs. Edith Eads, dated December 25, 1927 and signed by Mrs. Eads, it also has a picture of Mrs. Eads. So I suppose that Mrs. Eads gave one to each of her students as a Christmas gift. What a treasure this must have been to a sweet young girl back in 1927.... my mother kept it all of those years in her cedar chest (she passed in 1982). My mother is one of the third grade students listed (Earnestine Yoakum). Also of interest, my husband's mother is listed as one of the First Grade students (Eutha Jackson). My husband is Jerry Caywood and his mother is Eutha Jackson.
Some day I plan to come visit at Hamilton Chapel, just to see where my mom grew up. I was raised in Rockdale, but mom never took us out to see where she grew up. Her mom and dad were Thomas Zack Yaokum and Viola Margaret (Scarborough) Yoakum.
I hope you enjoy looking through it; feel free to post any or all of it if you wish.
Ginger (Williams) Hill
Hamilton Chapel School
Cover page of Christmas Booklet of Hamilton Chapel School 1927
Hamilton Chapel Booklet, pages 1,2 (1927). On Page 1 is a photo of teacher, Mrs. Edith Eads.
Hamilton Chapel Booklet, pages 3,4 (1927)
Hamilton Chapel Booklet, pages 5,6 (1927)
Hamilton Chapel Booklet, pages 7,8 (1927).
Hamilton Chapel Booklet, pages 9,10 (1927). Handwritten on page 10 is a list of teachers at the Hamilton Chapel School with the note: 17 teachers in 8 years!!
Today, the church and school is gone and only the cemetery remains, dotted with its huge cedars standing over 40 feet tall and old tombstones in memory of the Hamilton Chapel settlers.
The tombstones tell of a Confederate soldier (L.W. Roberts )that lived in the community and a World War I hero that died in battle (Hicks Carlile was part of the 36th Division from Texas).
One of the original homes from the Hamilton Chapel community, built in the late 1860's still remains on the Leonard Kubiak farm, adjacent to the old Hamilton Chapel Cemetery.
Some of the prominent people that lived in early-day Hamilton Chapel include:
Hichs Robert Carlile ;Private First Class, U.S. Army, World War I. Robert was born on July 9, 1893 at Rockdale, Texas and died at the age of 25 on
8 Oct 1918 near St. Etienne, France. Robert had attended the
Hamilton Chapel School
and entered Military Service on 10 Jul 1917 at Ft. Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Robert was in the Battle of Suippes, Champagne Front
with Co. C, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division (sometimes found as 147th Infantry Regiment). He was awarded
the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star. Robert was killed 6-kilometers northwest of Somme, Py. Champaigne Front near St. Etienne, France
by machine-gun and small arms fire.His parents were William Penn Carlile and Mary Anders Carlile of Rockdale, Texas. Robert had three brothers
(James Wallis Carlile (killed-in-action, U.S. Army, World War I), George Carlile, and William Cullen Carlile) and six sisters
Mary Rebecca "Mollie" Carlile Spence (Mrs. C. I.), Louise "Lou" Carlile Cunningham (Mrs. R. A.), Boliver Carlile, Johnnie Carlile Berger Bushman, Catherine "Kate" Carlile Merchant (Mrs. J. A.), and Green Carlile Johnson.
Robert was buried on 13 or 14 Oct 1918, Battlefield Cemetery, St. Etienne-A-Arnes, Ardennes, France, U.S. Army Cemetery No. 718 (Grave No. 47, Avery sketch No. 30) as reported by Chaplain C. D. Bowman. He was reburied
on the 16th of Jun 1919, in the Argonne American Cemetery, (U.S. Army Cemetery No. 1232) at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Dept. of Meuse, France (Plot 2, Sec. 85, Grave No. 96). On August 5, 1921, Robert was again reburied, this time in his hometown cemetery at the Hamilton Chapel Cemetery
French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star Citation
"During the combats near St. Etienne October 8-10, 1918, he displayed extraordinary heroism. Was killed while courageously advancing under a violent artillery and machine gun fire."
In a report filed by Sergeant Chester A. Griffin (Service No.: 1,487,291), Co. C, 141st Infantry, he stated that Pvt. Carlile was killed the morning of 8 Oct 1918, by machine-gun fire. He was shot 12 or 15 times in the face and breast. He was buried near the spot he was killed. Location: about 6-kilometers northwest of Somme, Py. Champaigne Front.
The French Croix de Guerre was established on 8 April 1915. Criteria: During World War I, the French Croix de Guerre was awarded for bravery to military personnel mentioned in dispatches. Recipients of the Légion d'Honneur and Médaille Militaire were automatically entitled to the Croix de Guerre. For subsequent acts of bravery, the recipient was awarded a palm leaf for Army citations, a gold star for Corps citations, a silver star for Division citations or a bronze star for Brigade and Regimental citations.
ROCKDALE REPORTER ARTICLE:
"Two Carlile Boys Killed in France"
It has fallen to the lot of Milam county mother, Mrs. W. P. Carlile, of the Hamilton Chapel community, four miles south of Rockdale, to receive the heart-bre
aking news that she had lost two sons in battle in Northern France.
Both boys were killed on the same day, October 8. Mrs. Carlile was notified Nov. 9 of the death of one, and again on Nov. 13 she received a telegram from the War Department advising her of the death of her other son.
These young heroes were both born in the Hamilton Chapel community. Corporal James W. Carlile was 36 years old on Aug. 27, last. He was above the draft age and volunteered in June 1917 at Houston. He was trained at Camp Bowie.
Hicks R. Carlile was 25 years old July 11, last. He registered on June 5, 1917, but volunteered into service the following month, having received a release from draft call by the Local Board. He also was trained at Camp Bowie, and was assigned to Co. C, 141st Infantry, Both boys left with the 36th Di
vision in July, 1918.
Both were evidently in the same command and were killed on the same day in the same battle.
This afternoon, Mayor H. C. Meyer, on hearing the news, called hurriedly together a meeting of Rockdale business men at the Rockdale State Bank, where he told of the two fatalities, and suggested that some suitable action be taken. Upon motion the meeting proceeded in column of two to the city flag pole, where, with heads uncovered the flag was lowered to half mast. After standing in silence a moment, Rev. M. N. Terrell offered a word of prayer, in dismissal. This was quite an appropriate acknowledgment by Rockdale citizens of the inbedtedness felt toward the heroes who had paid the supreme sacrifice for the cause of freedom.
The Reporter joins with all its readers in extending a bereaved mother a tender and sincere sympathy. The following are letters written by the boys from the front before they were killed in battle:
Dear Mother--This is Sunday morning and leaves us both well and doing fine. We are having a nice time considering everything. Of course we don't know much of the language they talk over here but we have lots of fun trying to talk to them anyway.
I wish you could see this country. It's a sight to see how they live here. All the houses are made of rock and you never see a house along the road like in our country. Everybody live in town or what they call town. It's just a few houses in a place and every house has something to sell. They have peddlers here like we used to have over there. And it is a common sight to see a man going down the road with from one to three dogs to a car although they have some fine horses and cows. I haven't seen a hog since I have been here, but I see pork in the wagons they drive around so I know there must be some hogs here somewhere.
We got two Reporters the other day. They were July numbers but they were news to us. It is just like seeing some one from home. We got two letters this morning that you wrote us while we were at Camp Upton.
We sure had fun while we were crossing the Pond. The water was a sight to look at. We were out several days that we didn't see land and "believe me" that was a proud gang when we got in sight of land.
I guess you are all lonesome, since Johnie and Greene left. But maybe you won't have to say by yourself very much longer. Everything sounds might favorable now. Of course we don't know any more about what is going on at the front than you do. But everything seems to be in our favor.
Mother there is a Y.M.C.A. man here by the name of Carlile. Wallis talked with him yesterday. He said he couldn't rake up kinfolks with him I haven't talked with him yet. He doesn't interest me. All that I am after is getting this thing over with and getting back home--I want to do my part to help with the war but old Jack and Daisy would sure look good to me know. Don't think that I am tired of this only I hate to be so far from you all, but you know there comes a time when these things can't be helped and this is one of them. So you take good care of yourself and maybe it won't be long until we meet again.
I seen in the paper where they have raised the draft age. That takes Cull, doesn't it? But they won't take him. Did that get John or not? I sure would like to hear him tell some of his windies.
I haven't had a letter from you since I left the States but I am looking for one on every train. I wish you could see the trains over here. They look like toys to us. They are only half as wide as our trains.
Tell me all about all of the girls and how they are getting along and tell me all that is going on at home. Well, I have told you all I can think of at present, so I will close. Hoping to hear from you soon and my God be with you till we meet again.
Your loving Hicks,
PVT. Hicks Carlile, Co. C, 141 Inf. American Ex. Forces, via N.Y.
"Rockdale Boys killed in Action Honored by French Government"
Mrs. W. P. Carlile, who lives in the Hamilton Chapel community four miles south of Rockdale, was adivsed recently and later received from the French War Department two Croix de Guerre awarded to her two sons, Pvt. Hicks R. Carlile and Corp. James W. Carlile, who died on a French battlefield. The citation is as follows:
"Displayed extraordinary heorism during the combts near St. Etienne, October 8-10. Was killed while courageously advancing under violent artillery and machine gun fire.
Dated April 2, 1919, The Marshal of France, Commander in Chief of the French Armies of the Least.
The citation for Corporal J. W. Carlile reads in a like manner.
These are the first awards for distniguished services received by any Rockdale soldiers and are honors not usually bestowed.
These two brothers were born and raised in the Hamilton Chapel community and had been together throughout their army life. Both volunteered in the summer of 1917 and received their training at Camp Powie, Ft. Worth. They were both members of Co. C, 141st Infantry, going to France together and dying together in the same battle on the same day, October 8th, 1918.
They had only been on the front for two days, taking up their position in the frong line trenches on October 6th. On the morning of the eight an advance was made. Just as he went over the top, Corp. James Carlile was killed. Hicks fell about a half a mile further on. Both died instantly.
Corp. James Carlile age 36 years, Private Hicks, age 25 years.
The highest honor, praise, or award that could ever be bestowed could not recompense the mother in the loss of these two sons but it must be a source of great pride and consolation to the mother's heart to know that her sons not only died for their country as soldiers but also as recognized heroes.
John BOWNDS was born on 25 Nov 1842 in Jasper Co., MS ?.1 He died on 29 May 1893.1 He was buried in Hamilton Chapel Cemetery, Milam County, Texas. His Parents were John BOWNDS and Mary COOLEY.
He was married to Julia Elizabeth JACOBS.and they had the following children:
Andrew Franklin BOWNDS
Ora Lee BOWNDS
George Warren BOWNDS
William Alfred BOWNDS
Luther Thomas BOWNDS.
Jewel Carver Clark