A visit to any African-American cemetery in Matagorda County will
reveal the handiwork of Lawyer Patterson, Jr. His custom-made
concrete markers stand on hundreds of graves. His service provided
affordable gravestones to families who wanted to mark the final
resting places of their loved ones.
Mr. Patterson worked for the Steves family in Bay City, but as a
sideline, he made affordable concrete cemetery markers in his
garage. His hand-made markers can be found in most African-American
cemeteries in Matagorda County as well as some adjoining counties.
Their distinctive styles make them easy to recognize.
To make the inscription for the marker, Mr. Patterson fashioned
boards into the size and shape of the face of the marker. He then
formed the letters and numbers from rope. Each figure was attached
to the wooden board with tiny nails in mirror-image as to appear
correctly when finished. The board was then pressed into the face of
the wet concrete. When the concrete was set, he painted inside the
letters with black paint. Most of the markers he made were single
upright markers, but examples of double markers exist in the county.
The same shape was used in making most of the markers, but
occasionally a different shape is found. The markers were durable
and could be easily read from a distance. Only a few have cracked
after years of exposure to various types of weather. A cemetery
visitor might see a Patterson marker that has fallen over, but
rarely will it be cracked.
Mr. Patterson tried unsuccessfully to interest younger men in
carrying on his work, but found no one willing to accept the
challenge. Tops of two of his molds have been preserved and are
artifacts in the Matagorda County Museum.
He is buried at Matagorda Cemetery with a gray granite marker which stands near a handcrafted one he made for his own father.
Visitation will be until 9 p. m. today at Duncan-Roberts Funeral
Mr. Patterson was born March 28, 1916 in Matagorda to Lawyer and
Wilhemena Lewis Patterson Sr. and died Feb. 2, 1993 at his home.
He was a member of the Baptist church and a former employee of
Taylor-Steves Furniture Co. for many years.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Emma Martin Patterson of Bay
City; a sister, Willie Mae Parker of Houston; a brother, John
Patterson of Matagorda and a number of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a sister and a brother.
Pallbearers will be Thomas Edison, Odean Taylor, Jimmy Scott, Tommy
Castilow and Preston Casey.
Honorary pallbearers are members of the Ushers Board, Nurses Board
and the Senior Missionary Society #2.
Arrangements are with Duncan-Roberts Funeral Home in Bay City.
The Daily Tribune, February 24, 1993
BAY CITY--Funeral services for Emma Patterson, 92, of Bay City, will be held t 2:30 p. m. Saturday, April 7, 2007, at Mother Zion Baptist Church in Bay City, with the Rev. Murray Martin officiating. Burial will follow at Eastview Cemetery.
Visitation will be 2 - 8 p. m. Friday at Duncan-Roberts Funeral Home in Bay City.
Arrangements with Duncan-Roberts Funeral Home, Bay City, 979-245-5197.
The Victoria Advocate, April 5, 2007
Copyright 2013 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Apr. 1, 2013
Apr. 1, 2013