Thorndale City Contact Information
EMERGENCY : 911
Thorndale Police Department
Office - 512-898-2822
Milam Co. Sheriff's Office:
Dispatch - 254-697-7033
Toll Free - 877-697-7887
Baylor Scott & White Hospital, Taylor Tx. 512-352-7611
City Hall: 512-898-2523
Public Works: 512-898-2523
History of Thorndale
THORNDALE, TEXAS. Thorndale is an incorporated community on U.S. Highway 79 and Farm Road 486, twelve miles west of Rockdale in southwestern Milam County. It was established in 1878 about three miles west of its present site, shortly after the International-Great Northern Railroad was built through the area. A railroad employee named the town after the region's abundant thorny vegetation-mesquite thorn, prickly pear, and sagebrush. A post office, a store, and a hotel opened at Thorndale in the late 1870s. In 1880 the store was sold and moved east to the present site of the community on the railroad, and eventually the other businesses moved as well. By 1884 Thorndale had a church, a school, and 130 residents. The local economy was largely agricultural, and Thorndale served as a shipping and supply point for area farmers. In 1903 it had a two-teacher school for sixty-six students, and in 1913 the Thorndale Independent School District was formed. In 1929, the year in which Thorndale decided to incorporate, its population was reported as 1,500, but the onset of the Great Depression reduced the number of residents to about 1,000 by 1931, and it had fallen to 851 by 1952. During the mid-1950s, however, the population began to grow again, possibly because of the construction of an aluminum plant at nearby Sandow. For the next three decades the community grew steadily, and reported 1,338 residents and sixteen businesses in 1988. In 1990, however, its population fell to 1,092. According to the U.S. Census Report the population was 1,278 in 2000, and 1,336 in 2010.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Milam County Heritage and Preservation Society, Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984).
HISTORY OF MILAM COUNTY
Robert Leftwich, a representative for the Texas Association of Nashville, Tennessee, obtained a colonization grant from Mexico in 1825 that included the Milam County area. The grant's boundaries followed the Navasota River, turned southwest along the San Antonio road to the divide between the Brazos and the Colorado rivers, then northwest to the Comanche Trail, and east back to the Navasota. Sterling Robertson assumed leadership of the colonization effort in 1827, but in 1830, because the company had made no progress in settling the area, the contract was suspended. The following year Stephen F. Austin and his partner, Samuel May Williams, persuaded the Mexican government to transfer the grant to them. In 1834, with Austin out of favor with the Mexican government, Robertson regained control of the grant, and actual settlement of the region began. The colony was known to the Mexican government as the Municipality of Viesca, but in 1835 the legislative body of the Provisional Government of Texas renamed it the Municipality of Milam, in honor of Benjamin Rush Milam. It was during the first Congress of the Republic of Texas that the municipality came to be called Milam County. At that time the boundaries of the county were roughly the same as those of the colony granted to Leftwich, comprising one-sixth of the land area of Texas. In addition to the present Milam County, the counties of Bell, Bosque, Burleson, Coryell, Erath, Falls, Hamilton, Hood, Jones, McLennan, Robertson, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, and Williamson were eventually carved out of the original Milam County. Brazos, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Eastland, Haskell, Hill, Johnson, Lampasas, Lee, Limestone, Mills, Palo Pinto, Parker, Stonewall, Throckmorton, and Young counties also received land from Milam County. By 1850, with the exception of a small area between Williamson and Bell counties, Milam County had been reduced to its present size.
Bibliography: Ann Arthur, "An New Era for Milam County," Texas Historian, March 1972. Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Cecil Harper, Jr., Farming Someone Else's Land: Farm Tenancy in the Texas Brazos River Valley, 1850–1880 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Texas, 1988). Katherine Bradford Henderson, The Early History of Milam County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1924). Curtis Henley, "Alcoa's Impact on Milam County," Texas Historian, September 1974. Margaret Eleanor Lengert, The History of Milam County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1949). Morris Zim, "Milam County's Oil Industry," Texas Historian, January 1975.