In a small community ten (10) miles southwest of what is now Spur, Texas, a few people lived, worked and wept together in close neighborly fellowship, as was the custom of the old west at that time of the early 1880's. In order to survive the hardships of the early days. Uncle Ell or E. Luce, lived on what is now known as the old Perkins place. Uncle Clint Garrett lived on the Bill McArthur place. Alf Manning lived south of the old Lambert place back in the shinnery. J. P. (Jess) Adamson lived at the well, he dug by himself and walled up where Tap was later to lie located. A man by the name of Will Barger lived on the old Sparks place where he had located when he brought his wife west for her health, as she had what was called consumption, later known as T.B. There were a few other families scattered over the community whose names I do not have.
Some trouble arose between Mr. Barger and Jess Addamson over a horse. A murder was committed. Jess Addamson shot and killed Will Barger, with a shotgun loaded with buckshot. I have heard a story that after he shot Mr. Barger, Jess Addamson picked out the shots that had struck the man and counted them. 26 shot. (This story is not authentic). This being the first death in this small community he was buried over the hill, on the same place where he was living, and thus began our little cemetery, that each of us have become so closely related to, as our loved ones have passed on and been placed there. Materials were so scarce, anything that was available had to be used. This man's coffin was made by E. Luce, from a set of wagon sideboards. Men were so scarce and few, that the women had to help. Grandma Thomas, mother-in-law of Alf Manning, got into the grave to help lower the casket. As near as can be determined at this time, this first grave was placed here in May of 1886, one month before Butler Manning, son of Alf Manning, the first white child born in Dickens county was born in June of 1886. (or at this place) His mother, Aunt Nerlie, as she was lovingly referred to in later years and as well all remember her, attended the funeral but did not get out of the wagon. I make mention of this fact to verify this date as close by as possible. Only a few months later, Mrs. Barger also died and was buried alongside her husband. The same loving neighbors cared for her in her last hours. Leaving several small children, I have been told there were six (6) of them. Mrs. Clint Garrett (mother of Mrs. Forrest Martin) nursed the infant child along with her own baby. The Luce's cared for some of the older children and possibly others helped until such a time as their folks could be notified and they had time to drive from somewhere in east Texas in a wagon. After the children were carried away, nothing more was ever known of them as far as this writer knows. As the county was not organized at this time, Jess Addamson was never punished for his crime. Thus ends the first chapter of our cemetery.
As years went on the other graves were placed here and soon this became the burying place for the surrounding communities. I do not know exactly who the next person to be buried there was, but to mention a few of the early graves were; Adelia Parrish and her baby were two (2). She was a sister of Alf Manning. R. A. Baker was a schoolteacher who died in the spring of 1894 while in a school at what was known as the Uncle Toby Smith school in lower Red Mud. A Whatley baby died with the whooping cough. Annie Smith, a child of Uncle Tobie and Aunt Mattie Smith. Just to mention a few of the early ones. This was known as the Tap Cemetery for a number of years until the Post Office was moved away in 1910 after Spur was organized. At about this same time, a new school building was erected near the cemetery and the top was painted red. This gave it the name of "Red Top". The community went by that name and soon the cemetery was called Red Top. After this building was wrecked and moved to a new location in the 1920's, the name was changed. The cemetery began to be known as the Red Mud Cemetery, due to the fact of it being located near the little creek of Red Mud.
A man from Walled Lake, Michigan whose father was buried here in October of 1907, came to Dickens in 1957, trying to locate the Tap Cemetery. He contacted Mrs. Avy Johnson now Avy Williams who could direct him to this cemetery. She directed him to my home for more information as I have made a map of the cemetery. He was trying to locate the people with whom they had stayed after his father had been fatally injured by a team of horses. He was moving with his family from Fisher county to Hall county by the way of the wagon road used by the freight wagons going to and from the railroad at Colorado City and points south. He was kicked by the horses when he stepped upon the doubletree and his foot slipped off, he fell under the horses. This happened in the lower Red Mud community near where the Fuquas lived. He was taken to the Grice home where he was cared for and died three (3) or four (4) days later. He was buried in the Tap Cemetery. After the funeral the family spent the night in the home of Will and Belle Martin before going on to Hall County. Showing that the cemetery is still referred to as Tap by the older ones still living. This son of Homer W. Parrish left a donation of $10.00 to be used in the construction of a memorial building. Mrs. Clint Garrett, the same who cared for the Barger baby died in the year of 1900. Her tombstone being the first one to be placed in this cemetery was removed to make room for a double marker after her husband, Uncle Clint, passed away in 1954. Other graves of tragic interest, just to mention a few include; a Kindbro child who died from eating rat poison. The Ples Nutt child who was accidentally shot and killed. Dock Hoover, Dick Deen and Billie Sacks who were killed by horses. Gordon Wilkerson who was drowned. Bessie (Fuqua) Stoneman who was fatally burned when her house was destroyed by fire. Alice Howell burned to death when her clothing caught fire. Elza Cross kicked by a horse. Lee Fry who was drowned while in the service. The Hinson child who ate poison and others perhaps I have forgotten. There are four (4) old confederate soldiers and two old Rangers buried here. H.C. Cravey, L.G. Garrett, Mr. J.H. Sparks, and A.J. McClain who was the first county judge. Rangers were J.I. Greer and R.D. Williams. A total of approximately 235 graves have been place here in the past 71 years.
I would like to mention another occurrence that happened in the early days during the time when things were very scarce and hard to get, when everything had to be hauled from the railroad in wagons. Two people passed away in the same family, by the name of Wilson, Frank and Josie. The weather having been bad, no one had been to the railroad lately, so the material had run out to make caskets. W.C. Garrett (Uncle Clint) had just recently built a petition in his half dugout. He was living just south of the cemetery on the Manning place, so he removed this partition from his house and built the caskets. People had to do things the hard way then, yes and even later. A local boy, Keith Fry, while serving in the army during W.W.II, had a child to die. he was stationed in one of the eastern states at this time, so he, along with his wife and two other children, brought this baby in his own car back here for burial. Anyone who has ever lived on Red Mud never forgets their old home and friends.
As this cemetery was in an open pasture, persons of the community began to see the need of protection from the stock. I have a story that Mrs. Manning out looking for her milk cows and Mrs. Airhart looking for her cows met near the cemetery. They stopped for a chat and were the first to discuss the need of a fence around the cemetery. Anxious to get something done about it, there was a box supper held in the Airhart home to raise the money for the first fence to be placed around this cemetery. The post were to be cut out of the Spur Ranch pasture. Each man was to be allowed the privilege of cutting twenty (20) post to be used for this purpose. A work day was set to put up this fence which I suppose could be called the first cemetery working ever to be held here, this was in 1904. This was a barbed wire fence, later another box supper was held in the school house for the same purpose and a small mesh net wire fence was put around it. Later in about 1925 a hogwire fence with cedar post was built, some of which is still being used. When this first fence was to be put up, Grandpa Sparks, who owned the Barger place at this time gave an acre of land to be used. W.H. Martin, who owned the adjoining place north of the cemetery gave another acre. These two (2) men measured off this land and the fence was put up. It never occurred to these men that any one would ever question their right to do this so no legal papers or documents were deemed necessary. After the death of W.H. Martin in 1908, Mrs. W.H. Martin went to Dickens, the county seat, for the purpose of having the proper papers fixed up. She was told, there being no one to have a deed made out to, there was no way to have the papers fixed up. However the one acre was dropped from her tax roll and no more taxes was paid on it. I also heard Wallace Hinson make the statement that he did not pay taxes on this one acre. When Mrs. Martin sold this place, she very carefully specified the fact to the lawyer that she was not selling the one (1) acre of the cemetery to him. Several work days were conducted to clean the cemetery grounds through the years and repair the fence but no definite date was set until the year 1909. The community had settled up until quite a number of people lived here. By then two (2) active churches were in the community. Also an active chapter of the W.O.W. Lodge with S.S. (Seth) Alcorn as the first acting chairman. A marching team consisting of Faunt Harrell (captain), John Crump, Barney McDaniel, Walter Garrett, Vernie Williamson, Brookie Martin and Forrest Martin (who has a picture of this group dressed in their robes) were a lodge attraction. A few still have policies in effect now, that were charter members of this W.O.W. Lodge. Jeff Smith and Eldridge McClain are two (2) I am told. Butler Manning still has his original policy issued in 1908. This lodge played an important part in the history of our cemetery.
On June 6, 1957 it was voted to move the building to the cemetery by a majority of 60 to nothing. It was moved on June 17, 1957 and placed across the road directly opposite the gate for the sum of $500.00. All repair work to be done later. There was 155 attendants at the working in 1957. The work was completed by noon with the help of the county grader. This has been furnished each year for about 10 years without any charge. A working committee consisting of Dock Love, Chairman, Buran Jones, Elmer Cross, Abb Fry, Henry Slack and C.F. Martin and Wallace Hinson was appointed to have authority over the repair work to be done. A contract was let to Ish Hahn for the sum of $700.00 on April 26, 1958 to stucco the building on the outside, sheet rock the inside, repair the windows and doors and build concrete steps. To be completed before June 6, 1958. On May 30, 1958 a group of the people who live nearby came and cleaned the building, scrubbed the floor and painted the wood work. The county grader cleared the lot around the building for the approximate distance of one acre square for parking space. The grader also drug the vacant part of the cemetery and the drives. The money was borrowed at the Spur Security bank to have the building moved signed by the working committee. In 1954 a working committee with Donnie Pace as chairman, Buran and Glenn Jones, and Henry Slack was appointed to build 5 tables to serve the lunch on.
They met at the Tri Co. Lumber Yard and built the 5 tables 3' X 8' which are a great help but are really not sufficient to spread all the food at times. Nothing was done in 1959 as the note to the bank was our first concern which was taken care of in three years. In 1960 Elmer Maben donated 3 doors and delivered them to the building the 6th of June. S.H. Jones was paid $16.00 for adjusting the doors at the planeing mill. Rev. J.E. Lee of the Bethel Baptist church at Spur was paid $30.00 for adjusting the door frames and swinging the doors. There was a lumber bill of $11.97 for materials to used for door frames. In 1961 Pew type benches were bought for the price of $75.00 as an historical event I want to state where the benches came from. They were built by men of the Espuela Community to be used as church pews. They were used by that church until it disbanded. During a cyclone, the Soldier's Mound church was blown away in June of 1949. The Espuela church building was donated to them and moved over on the highway and used by the Soldier's Mound Baptist group, later to be donated to Bethel Baptist Church in Spur when the Soldier's Mound church was disbanded. The cemetery association of Red Mud Community purchased these same benches from Spur Bethel Baptist church and they are being used at the present time of 1963. In 1962 Mr. Chas. Hawley and sons, Hubert and Curtis were employed to finish the interior of the building, do some bracing of sheet rock and paint the interior of the building. It was painted a pale green and was completed to be ready by the 6th of June 1962. He was paid $125.00 for the job. It was voted in 1963 to have the piano tuned and build restrooms near the buildings. In 1960, 183 persons were registered. In 1961 it rained and the crowd was small. In 1962 there was a record crowd. In 1963 there was a large group. A new map of the cemetery was made in 1963 by Mrs. Donnie Pace assisted by her granddaughter, LaDonna Rinehart, Hobbs, New Mexico. More and more graves are identified each year until a very few are still unidentified. Mrs. Pace has been working on this project for the past 10 years and hopes to interest some younger person to take over after she is gone. To continue the record of the Red Mud Cemetery (originally Tap Cemetery) the work still goes on in the year of 1975.
In the year of 1964 it was voted to build a ladies restroom. The working committee, consisting of Donnie Pace, Forrest Martin, Buran Jones, Elmer Cross and others taken care of this project. A couple of years later it was voted to construct a gentleman's rest room also. Workmen have been hired to clean the entire cemetery before the set date of June 6th for the past 10 years from 1964 to the present time of 1975. The Shackeford boys, Jess and Jake do the work assisted by someone. Mrs. Charlie McClain did the overseers job in 1974. Kay Brantner was the overseer in 1972 and 1973. He used a group of Mexicans. Forrest Martin was overseer during the years of 1960-70. A new fence was constructed using the telephone posts in and new wire where needed. Elmer Maben welded the name of "Red Mud Cemetery" for the cross bar of the gate made of high iron post at the entrance gate. Later Clyde Smith assisted by Troyce Smith and welded the inscription of "Tap Cemetery" and placed it on the gate. This was the original name of the cemetery but as the old timers gradually passed away, the name was changed. The community was known as Upper Red Mud before Tap originated. There is a lower Red Mud community who use the same cemetery.
In the year of 1972 a motion was made by Mrs. Ava Johnson to start a memorial fund to be placed on interest for the care of the cemetery in later years after the care of the place has been stopped. The motion carried and a sum of $717.00 was contributed the first year. A historical marker of the history of the cemetery was constructed in the year of 1972 and placed by the entrance gate. The chairman of the construction committee was Forrest Martin, Jr., the grandson of the man W.H. Martin who helped in starting the cemetery.
In 1975, the cemetery had to be cleaned twice in the year due to lots of rain. Mrs. Kenneth Stoneman and small son, along with some assistance from Kenneth were hired to do the work in the fall. In May of 1976, some Mexicans were hired too. A very large sandstone and gravel rock from the former E. Luce estate, was donated by the present owner, Deward Woodard and wife, Louise Woodard. The boulder is about 4' X 5' which is well set in about 2' of the earth. The inscription of steel and lead is very nice and durable.
Sometime, somewhere, we'll fall asleep and from a dreamless slumber deep
We'll waken never more to weep... sometime, somehow, somewhere
Sometime, somewhere, some blessed place, through wonders of amazing grace
We hope to see the Savior face to face... sometime, somehow, someplace.
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