Cemetery Preservation News
Program Designates Historic Texas Cemeteries
The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is using a new preservation tool to help save historic cemeteries in Texas. The program will include designation of qualified cemeteries and recognize the first group of sites this month [July 1998].
The following cemeteries have completed the application process and have
received the Historic Texas Cemetery designation:
New Tabor Cemetery near Caldwell, Burleton County
The Historic Texas Cemetery designation was developed to address destruction of cemeteries and removal of cemetery fixtures. Any individual or organization is eligible to submit an application for this designation. If a cemetery is at least 50 years old and deemed worthy of preservation, a Declaration of Dedication will be issued to the applicant to be recorded in the appropriate county clerk's office. For more information, contact Gerron Hite History Programs Division, Texas Historical Commission. Locally you may contact Sylvia Smith Chairman, Ellis County Historical Commission or Pam Tekell, Ellis County Cemetery Preservation.
The following information, contributed by Sylvia Smith, concerns some of the recent activities being made toward restoration and preservation in Ellis County.
Ferris Memorial Parks Celebrate Memorial Day
Memorial Day weekend this year was celebrated in a very special way. The Ferris Memorial Parks placed over 200 American Flags in the north cemetery and eight in the south cemetery to honor the men and women who served our country in the armed forces. A participant was quoted as saying that graves of veterans from the Vietman War, Korean War, World War II, World War I, Civil War and War with Mexico were found.
Resurrection of a Cemetery
A few weeks ago, hardly a tombstone was visible in the Boren- Reagor Springs Cemetery because of the overgrowth of briars and weeds. But due to Pam Tekell's interest, as well as that of Barry Hazelwood in the gravesite of Confederate Veteran J. W. Bell, a cleanup campaign has begun. The O. M. Roberts Camp #178, Sons of the Confederate Veterans, are committed to place markers at all Confederate Veterans' graves in the county, and soon offered their help. Many hard, hot itchy, scratchy hours have been volunteered, but there is still more to do before the job is complete. Through Ellis County Historical Commission's exposure on the Internet, others are joining the campaign to restore and maintain this cemetery. There is talk of forming an association, opening a bank account and obtaining Historical Markers. Visit Boren-Reagor Springs Cemetery for a look at activities there.
Bluff Springs Cemetery
On Sunday, February 9, 1998, Pam Tekell and Sylvia Smith met with James Henderson of Grand Prairie and James Pratt at this cemetery. They found that the graveyard had been vandalized over the years and many of the remains of early graves had been washed down Red Oak Creek. "I didn't know about Bluff Springs until I began to research my ancestry," states Henderson. "I was very disturbed to find this terrible condition. I furnished material and enlisted help from members of an Eagle Scout Troop to install a gate in order to help prevent further destruction." Pratt found the fence around his family plot suspended over the bank of the creek and his ancestors' graves threatened by flood waters.
Someone has used a bush-hog to clear pathways and eliminate many of the briars. Henderson and Pratt would like to see enough interest generated locally and among descendants, to form an association to repair and maintain this piece of hallowed ground.
Ancestors' Graves Moved
Early in 1998, Max Harper, Jr. and some of his cousins visited the Couch Cemetery on Bell's Chapel Road between Red Oak and Rockett where their great-grandparents are buried. They were puzzled as to why Dr. Henry Douglas chose to bury his wife and sons in this cemetery rather than a few miles away in the Douglas Family Cemetery. Mr. Harper made arrangements to move their remains to the Douglas Cemetery.
Volume 1, page 48, and Volume 3, page 28, Ellis County Cemetery Records, should be corrected to reflect exhumation of the names listed below and location of re-interrment.
Douglas, Ellen April 21, 1840 - July 8, 1886
Some descendants of these families recently cleared out a lot of brush in that cemetery, made arrangements for a fence to be built, and talked with a monument company representative about cost of restoration of stones.
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