Cameron is a city in
County, Texas, United States.
The population was 5,634 at the 2000
is the county seat of Milam
Cameron is located at (30.854544, -96.978716). It is situated at
the junction of U.S. Highways 77 and 190, approximately 71 miles northeast of
Austin in north
central Milam County.
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.
Soon after Texas became a U.S. State, the Texas Legislature
seven-member commission to find a permanent site for the Milam
County seat. 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.
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
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. 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. Despite
this, however, navigation of the river was impractical on a regular
basis and places such as Port
and Nashville developed into Milam County's dominant
business centers during the 1850s and 1860s. More competition came
in the 1870s when nearby Rockdale was
established on the International-Great
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.
Incorporation and growth
In 1881, the Gulf,
Colorado and Santa Fe Railway
arrived in Cameron. This improved
the local economy and led to subsequent population growth. In the
six-year period between 1878 and 1884, the total number of
residents rose from around 500 to 800, an increase of sixty
percent. Cameron had attempted to incorporate in 1856, 1866, and
1873, but each time the charter was allowed to lapse. It was
officially incorporated in 1889. The San Antonio and Aransas
arrived in 1890, giving the town another positive
boost. By 1892, the population stood at nearly 2,000.
Although cotton dominated the economy of Cameron during the 19th
century, the 20th century brought more diversified industries. The
discovery of oil in neighboring Williamson County
in 1915 prompted
Milam County residents to initiate their own exploration. The
Minerva-Rockdale oil field was discovered in 1921 and provided new
opportunities for investment. In the 1920s and 1930s, several milk
product companies were operating in Cameron, including the
Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation. At the 1930 census
, the population was
4,565. That figure rose to 5,040 in 1940.
Cameron residents received much needed job opportunities in the
1950s when the Aluminum Company of America built a plant southwest
of Rockdale. Jobs at the plant as well as the lignite
industry that supplied the plant's power
revitalized the economy of Milam County. Between 1950 and 1960,
Cameron registered an increase of 588 residents, from 5,052 to
This level of growth would not continue, however. The Texas and New Orleans
Railroad discontinued its track from Cameron south to Giddings. Southern
Pacific, which had taken over the Texas and New Orleans,
abandoned its track from Cameron north to Rosebud.
population would continue to experience slight fluctuations
throughout the remained of the late 20th century.
A "Welcome to Cameron" sign.
of the census
of 2000, there were 5,634
people, 2,090 households, and 1,404 families residing in the city.
The population density
1,327.9 people per square mile (513.0/km²). There were 2,383
housing units at an average density of 561.6/sq mi
(217.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.68% White
, 20.66% African American
, 10.17% from other races
, and 1.72% from two
or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 26.66%
of the population.
There were 2,090 households out of which 32.9% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples
living together, 17.2% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families.
31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.25.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age
of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to
64, and 20.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
37 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $25,878, and the
median income for a family was $30,927. Males had a median income
of $23,988 versus $18,497 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$14,122. About 20.8% of families and 22.0% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 26.8%
of those under age 18 and 22.4% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Cameron is served by the Cameron Independent School
Rapper/Producer E.L. was Born in Cameron, Texas