Bull Hill Cemetery
also known as
The Carter Munch Cemetery
Lott, Falls County, Texas

GPS Coordieantes 31.23466    -96.94716


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Texas Historical Commission Award Winner Seeks

Descendants of Those Buried in Historic African American Cemetery

     AUSTIN, Texas –– A grant recently awarded to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) will help record and protect an historic African American cemetery and help researchers find living descendants of those buried there. 

     An old slave cemetery known as Bull Hill and also Carter-Munsch near the town of Marlin is slowly re-emerging from the landscape that once completely covered the markers and simple rocks that serve as head stones. Researchers predict there could be several hundred graves at the site, part of the former Churchill Jones Plantation. A $5,000 grant from the Summerfield G. Roberts Foundation of Dallas will enable THC staff to record and document the cemetery and to conduct oral histories with living descendents of those who are buried there. The Summerlee Foundation of Dallas recently bought more than 400 acres to preserve the cemetery and the old town site of Sarahville de Viesca, the capital of the 1830s Robertson Colony of Central Texas.

     The recipient of the THC’s new Preservation Fellows Award, Nedra Lee, will work with THC archeologists to protect Bull Hill-Carter-Munsch Cemetery and locate and interview descendants as the foundation for her master’s thesis at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is a graduate student in anthropology. Before beginning her graduate studies, Lee worked for the Historical Society and the City Museum in her hometown of Washington, D. C.

     “I want to use the skills I will gain as a Preservation Fellow to facilitate research and organize programs that aim to provide more inclusive representation and understanding of the past,” said Lee.

     The THC’s Preservation Fellows Program was created to build interest in and awareness of historic preservation among college students from underrepresented ethnic groups. The program targets talented undergraduate and graduate students to encourage their interest in pursuing fields of study in history, preservation, architecture, archeology, landscape architecture, downtown revitalization and heritage tourism. Fellows work with THC staff for eight weeks during the summer.

     “Documenting this historic cemetery, and hopefully, finding and interviewing descendants of those buried there is an important and exciting project for our first Preservation Fellow,” said THC Archeology Division Director Jim Bruseth. “We hope its success will encourage other students to pursue a Preservation Fellow award that will eventually lead to a career in historic preservation.”

     An elderly African American woman from Marlin whose grandparents are buried in the cemetery has already been located. If you know of someone who has relatives and family members buried at Bull Hill-Carter-Munsch, or if you are a descendant, please contact Jim Bruseth at (512) 463-5863 or Nedra Lee.  To learn more about the THC’s Preservation Fellows Program contact THC Development Officer Toni Turner at (512) 936-2241 or visit www.thc.state.tx.us

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Submitted
Barbara (Caddell) Fox

Waco Tribune-Herald
Waco, Texas
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
front page

A Treasure Rediscovered

Families Trace Roots To Falls County Cemetery

By Wendy Gragg
Tribune-Herald staff writer

     Sharon Styles stood in the dirt road, flanked by her aunt and cousins, talking with Churchill Jones, whose forefather had been “master” to Styles’ enslaved ancestors. The young black woman and older white man talked and laughed easily, dwelling not on controversy but savoring their shared roots.

     They were brought together by the rediscovery of a little cemetery, called Bull Hill, southwest of Marlin in Falls County.

     “I don’t have any negative feelings toward this man,” Styles said about Jones. She wanted to uncover her family history, and slavery was an undeniable part. She said she and Jones may be able to help each other enrich their family histories.

     “In this way, we can remember (our ancestors), and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”

     Styles flew in from Sacramento, Calif., last week to meet Jones and visit the cemetery, the resting place of at least three of her ancestors. The visit was the culmination of historical research that began about a year ago.

     It started when folks from the Summerlee Foundation, which owns the land and has interests in Texas history, stumbled across a hidden cemetery and contacted the Texas Historical Commission to look into it. The commission found the small cemetery has more than 100 graves, spanning roughly the 1850s to the 1960s.

     “When I first came out here, I thought, ‘How do I begin to people the past. How do I give a story to it?’ ” said Nedra Lee, a University of Texas graduate student and a Texas Historical Commission preservation fellow. She is part of a program that aims to bring minorities in to learn more about historical preservation.

     Lee dove headfirst into research in the Marlin area, knocking on doors and talking to anyone who might have information about Bull Hill Cemetery.

     At the same time, halfway across the country in Sacramento, Calif., Sharon Styles was working on her family’s genealogy, and a relative mentioned an old cemetery — Bull Hill. Styles contacted the historical commission and shared information. She has death certificates that show that her great grandmother, Pearl Sneed Paul, and Styles’ great, great grandparents, Eliza and Sam Sneed, were buried at Bull Hill. She may have more relatives buried under that soft dirt, including George and Harriet Jones, slaves who took the surname of the master they followed from Alabama to Texas — the elder Churchill Jones.

     In 1850, Jones built a large plantation near the Middle Brazos River Valley, bringing many slaves with him. According to the commission’s research, Jones was the fourth wealthiest slave-owner in Texas by the start of the Civil War.

     “The trip here may not have been one of joy and pleasure, but the day is one of joy and elation,” said the Rev. Robert Paul, a Falls County resident and Styles’ cousin. Paul offered up a prayer before the assembled group of family members and historians walked into the overgrown cemetery last week. Soft, sweet strains of Amazing Grace came from Paul’s wife, Dorothy, and were carried away on the cool spring wind. Styles and her aunt, Paralee Johnson Williams, hummed along with the old hymn.

     “Just thinking about it now and being here is actually overwhelming to me,” Styles said. “I didn’t think I would get that emotional just talking about it. It’s history. It’s everything.”

     ‘A rare event’

     Today, Bull Hill Cemetery is largely hidden under thick carpets of clover and healthy sprigs of the greens called “poke salad.” Tall, weedy, white wildflowers stand at attention throughout much of the burial grounds, and a towering cedar tree offers shade to a grave marked by a worn and broken stone. Most of the graves had been indicated by temporary metal funerary markers or wood that has long since rotted away. Lee said a metal pail, broken ceramic jars and a pipe sticking out of the ground also were found, possibly used to mark the final resting places of local slaves.

     A couple of fence lines and the well-used dirt road are the only footprints man has left in the area. Jones said his family always made a point to keep the grazing cattle off the sacred land.

     “This cemetery was always very, very important to my family,” Jones said. As a child, he would come out with his mother and grandmother and sow wildflowers.

     Roughly one mile to east of the cemetery, a green hill crests, then falls away gradually to the bends and falls of the Brazos below. Jones said when he was a boy, the river was even closer, and the pasture to the east of Bull Hill was a thick sea of bluebonnets and the site of the Falls County Bluebonnet Festival.

     Jim Bruseth, director of the archeological division for the Texas Historical Commission, said the commission plans to make Bull Hill an officially registered Texas cemetery. John Crain, president of the Summerlee Foundation, said the foundation plans to protect the cemetery and possibly place a plaque or some sort of monument in it. Though it’s on private property, Crain said the foundation will work with families of those interred at the cemetery to see that they can come pay their respects.

     Bruseth said, in his career, he hasn’t seen research into a slave cemetery come full circle like it has with Bull Hill. He said, sadly, much of the African American history of Texas has not been written down.

     “This is just a rare event,” Bruseth said. “It’s unique that we’ve been able to connect the dots and find descendants.”

     He said the historical commission would like to find more of these opportunities.

     “We’re trying to tell everybody’s history,” he said.

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Last Name

First Name

Birth

Death

Notes

BROADUS

Bettie (Paul)

Mar 04 1871

Dec 22 1938

Daughter of Robert & Edith (Stewart) Paul, Sr.

Wife of Tom Broadus Sr.

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Callie (Brown)

Abt 1872

Nov 11 1930

Daughter of Mark & Dinah (Steward) Brown

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

E. C.

Sep 10 1914

Apr 29 1956

Son of Wyman & Leanna (Moore) Broadus

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Johnie May

Dec 19 1938

Feb 27 1939

Infant Daughter of Gasena Broadus

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Oliver Cromwell

Mar 05 1897

Mar 19 1947

Son of Tom & Bettie (Paul) Broadus Sr.

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Pearline

Jul 23 1919

Sep 16 1931

Daughter of Wyman & Lee (Moore) Broadus

Age at time of death was 12 years 1 month 24 days

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Shelby

Jan 08 1921

Aug 27 1950

Son of Wyman & Leanna (Moore) Broadus

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

BROADUS

Wyman

Apr 07 1889

Jun 04 1943

Son of Alex & Callie (Brown) Broadus

Husband of Leanna (Moore) Broadus

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

COLEMAN

Mary Lee (Johnson)

Jul 08 1911

May 20 1945

Daughter of Lee & Emmer Baillosk Johnson

Mary Lee was born in Rosebud, Falls Co., Texas & died in Lott, Falls Co., Texas

33 yrs 11 mo 12 days

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

COLLINS

Celestia (Webbs)

Sep 17 1913

Jul 12 1935

Daughter of Ellis & Rebecca (Paul) Webbs

Wife of Allen Collins

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

GUY

Frances

1856

Dec 27 1926

Born in Louisiana

JOHNSON

Leanna (Stokes)

May 16 1912

Jun 28 1933

Daughter of Sam & Mary Belle (Franklin) Stokes

Wife of A. J. Johnson

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

LINVILLE

Caldonia (Stokes)

Apr 12 1897

Jun 04 1934

Daughter of Peter & Emma McGee Stokes

Wife of Joe Linville

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

MOZEE

Dan

1863

Aug 20 1936

Son of Dan & Nancy Mozee

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

MOZEE

Johnett (Liggins)

Jan 17 1896

Jan 09 1925

Daughter of Tom & Callie (Taylor) Liggins

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

MOZEE

Zelma

Jul 07 1907

1914

Daughter of Jerry & Maria (Paul) Mozee

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

PAUL

Annie

Nov 15 1873

Jun 28 1947

Daughter of Robert “Bob” & Edith (Stewart) Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

PAUL

Churchill

Jan 31 1893

May 15 1955

Son of Ed & Georgia (McGee) Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

PAUL

David

Dec 10 1886

Aug 14 1936

Son of Jim & Ersa (Hailey) Paul

Husband of Delia Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

PAUL

Deliah (Gey)

Sep 26 1884

Jan 15 1950

Daughter of William & Francis (Bailey) Gey

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

PAUL

Eula (Wallace)

Aug 06 1903

Jun 18 1928

Daughter of Dock & Joanna (Landrum) Wallace

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

PAUL

Pearl (Sneed)

Apr 09 1884

Dec 01 1961

Daughter of Sam & Eliza (Broadus) Sneed

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

PAUL

Robert

Sep 24 1888

Oct 22 1956

Son of Robert & Edith Stewart Paul

All info and Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

PAUL

Ruthie

Sep 07 1911

Dec 20 1945

Daughter of Jim & Pearlie (Sneed) Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

PAUL

Thornton P.

1872

Aug 29 1932

Son of Tom Paul & Mattie (Scott) Paul Sr.

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

PAUL

Will

Oct 15 1877

Oct 24 1945

Son of Winfield & Sallie (Beal) Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

SHAW

James Sr.

Apr 20 1893

Jul 08 1963

Son of Gellith & Mary Shaw

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

TAYLOR

Ezekiel

Dec 10 1881

Jun 27 1938

Son of Ezekiel & Mary Susen (Holmes) Taylor

Husband of Dicie Taylor

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

TAYLOR

Roberta (Travis)

Sep 16 1895

Nov 05 1936

Daughter of Milo & Marrie (Paul) Travis

Wife of Hezekiah Taylor

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

TRAVIS

Martha “Mattie” (Paul)

Jun 08 1880

Jun 26 1961

Daughter of Bob & Edith (Stewart) Paul

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

WRIGHT

Pearlie (Young)

Feb 26 1904

Jul 24 1944

Daughter of Jim & Ella (Broadus) Young

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

YOUNG

Annie (Brooks)

Jun 10 1867

Jul 23 1939

Wife of Will Young

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

YOUNG

Ella

Feb 10 1885

Nov 19 1943

Daughter of Charlie & Eliza (Stelworth) Brooks

All info submitted by Pearl (Taylor) Vanderbilt

Death Certificate submitted by Kay Cunningham

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