La Recluta and La Escuelita

La Recluta and La Escuelita (HM1EVN)

Location: Rockdale, TX 76567 Milam County
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Country: United States of America
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N 30° 40.137', W 96° 58.161'

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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. 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.
Marker Number12877
Year Placed2003
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 2:48am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14R E 694544 N 3394673
Decimal Degrees30.66895000, -96.96935000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 40.137', W 96° 58.161'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 40' 8.22" N, 96° 58' 9.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)512
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2219 US-79, Rockdale TX 76567, US
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