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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Rockdale in Milam County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

La Recluta and La Escuelita

 
 
La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, June 8, 2014
1. La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker
Inscription. Jose Leal received six leagues of land in this area in 1833. In 1867, coal was discovered, and the railroad reached Rockdale in 1874. Not until 1890 did the first coal mine, owned by Herman Vogel, begin operation. Others opened, and more settlers came looking for work.

Many workers came from Mexico, leaving behind a revolution. These immigrants settled on land owned by E.A. Camp. They sharecropped, growing enough for themselves, and worked in the mines. They named their settlement, just north of the International-Great Northern Railroad tracks, La Recluta, or "recruitment." Family names represented here include Ruiz, Flores, Casarez, Zapata, Aldama, Montoya and Lumbreras. The men, like many other industry workers at the time, received their pay in tokens, which were redeemable only for mine commissary purchases and doctor visits.

Several men were trapped in an International Mine Company cave-in in 1913. Eight men and one mule awaited rescue for six days; one man did not survive. Yards away from the collapsed mine entrance is La Escuelita, the small schoolhouse built for the children of the community. Classes were taught in English, although most students spoke Spanish at home. As part of the Talbott Ridge School District, the students transferred to Rockdale schools in 1944, when the districts consolidated.
La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, June 8, 2014
2. La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker
After 1946, La Escuelita sat vacant. F.L. "Chano" Zapata and his son John maintained the property.Their vision led the cemetery association to pursue permanent plan for the area.
In 1946, Rockdale merchants donated benches to La Escuelita building. In 1953, the school was deeded to the St. Joseph's Cemetery Association, the support group for the community's cemetery, where nearly 300 gravestones tell the stories of La Recluta's families, many of whom remain in the area.
 
Erected 2003 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 12877.)
 
Location. 30° 40.137′ N, 96° 58.161′ W. Marker is near Rockdale, Texas, in Milam County. Marker is on U.S. 79 0.2 miles west of Farm to Market Road 335, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Rockdale TX 76567, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Matinee Musical Club (approx. 2 miles away); Jewish Cemetery (approx. 2.1 miles away); The Kay Theater (approx. 2.1 miles away); Railroads in Rockdale (approx. 2.1 miles away); International & Great Northern Railroad Passenger Depot (approx. 2.1 miles away); Site of the Mission San Ildefonso (approx. 7.3 miles away); Site of Mission San Francisco Xavier de Los Dolores (approx. 8.7 miles away); Site of the Mission Nuestra Seņora de la Candelaria (approx. 9.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Rockdale.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesEducationHispanic AmericansSettlements & Settlers
 
La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, June 8, 2014
3. La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker
La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, June 8, 2014
4. La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker
This little house is nearer the highway and on the same property as the school
La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jim Evans, June 8, 2014
5. La Recluta and La Escuelita Marker
This sign is across the west bound lanes from the marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. This page has been viewed 358 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Jim Evans of Houston, Texas. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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