by Ernest Mae Seaholm
A cemetery, especially an old abandoned one, offers the opportunity to study history and genealogy, as well as folk art, ethnic customs, and religious trends. So it is with the Clear Creek Cemetery.
The old cemetery is located on CR 250, less than one half mile from its intersection with FM 2144 and just after its intersection with CR 248. The area of the Clear Creek Cemetery includes the town of Oakland, originally called Prairie Point, which was settled in the early 1840's. Into this area came Anglo settlers most of whom were from the Southern states. Two of the well-known names connected with this area are James Bowie, who received a land grant in the area on which the town of Oakland is located, and Jesse Burnham [also spelled Burnam], who received a grant, part in Fayette County and part in Colorado County where the Clear Creek Cemetery is located.[Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles, Vol. I (Austin: Eakin Publications, Inc., 1986), p. 92; Sesquicentennial Committee, Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, TX: Hengst Printing & Supplies, 1986), p. 447-49.]
While Jesse Burnham lived on a grant in Fayette County, his daughter Nancy, who married George Tandy Holman on 22 December 1840, lived near the Clear Creek area. Nancy Burnham Holman, who may be the first Anglo child born in the Austin Colony in Texas on 22 February 1822, is buried in the area, but not in the cemetery. She died on 27 January 1848 and was buried on the home place. In 1921, her son Jesse Austin Holman (born 4 June 1842) wrote about his mother: "She was buried at my father's home on the Navidad-about six miles north of the present village of Oakland. I visited in company with old Dr. Brown [Dr. John Duff Brown, Sr.] who was with her when she died and was at her funeral at the cemetery, but absolutely unable to locate it. The spot had been long since, that was in 1881, cleared of timbers and had been in cultivation." [Jesse Austin Holman, "Recollections and Legends of My Maternal Grandfather and His Family" dated Saturday, Feb. 5, 1921, original in the Center for American History at University of Texas, Austin, Texas.]
The areas of Oakland and Clear Creek became active because of the "Old Gonzales Road" which ran from San Felipe to Columbus, through Oakland to Gonzales and on to San Antonio. Oakland had first been called Prairie Point by A. C. Hereford, a Mexican War veteran, who platted the town in 1856. The name was changed when Colonel Amasa Turner agreed to have a post office in Colorado County if they named it “Oakland” for his plantation where the nearest post office was in Lavaca County. [The New Handbook of Texas, Vol. 4, p. 1092; Paul Boethel,. Colonel Amasa Turner: The Gentleman from Lavaca and Other Captains at San Jacinto (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1963), pp. 45-47]
As for Clear Creek Cemetery, it began in 1856 when Edward Musgrove Glenn, an early citizen of Texas and an attorney from Jackson County, started buying land in Colorado County. He first bought land in 1852, but in 1856 he bought 1000 acres from John B. Cunningham in the Jesse Burnham land grant. At the same time he agreed to give land for the building of a church. He set aside land "lying and situated in Colorado County on the waters of the Navidad " to Zachariah Payne, O. B. Crenshaw, and John Tooke, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church South," provided they should in a reasonable time cause to be executed a suitable building on the same for church purposes...in consideration of the premises and for the promotion of the cause of Crist (sic). He gave title to the land to the trustees on 13 March 1860. [Colorado County Deed Book K, p. 537].
Apparently a church had been built as early as 1859, for Wesley Smith recorded in 1898 in his book A Family History Fifty-Two Years of Preacher Life that he went to the Clear Creek Church to attend the Rev. Q. M. Menifee's quarterly meeting of the Navidad Circuit on April 23. A cemetery had been started in 1858. [Wesley Smith, A Family History and Fifty-two Years of Preacher Life. 1898, p. 148; tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery.]
For the next thirty years or so, a number of citizens of Oakland and surrounding countryside were buried near the Clear Creek Church. While none of those so far identified were famous or notorious people, the cemetery provides a comment on a small community in Texas in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Individuals buried here were farmers, teachers, civil servants, attorneys, dentists, doctors, musicians, wives, and, children. Not found here, however, was E. M. Glenn who gave the land for the church or Jesse Burnham who first acquired the land from the Mexican government. Glenn moved to Columbus where he practiced law and held various county positions. He died on 14 November 1873 in Columbus during the yellow fever epidemic and was buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery. [Obiturary for Mrs. E. C. Glenn in Colorado Citizen, May 22, 1884.]
Jesse Burnham moved his family to Blanco County and died the on Double Horn Creek on 30 April 1883. [F. B. Largent, Jr.,“Jesse Burnam,” New Handbook of Texas, Vol I, pp. 847-848].
The earliest stone found that can be read is for Martha Burgess who died in 1858. She was the daughter of James and Sarah Miles, early citizens of Texas who had a land grant in Fayette County with a small part of that grant in Colorado County. When her father, a veteran of the War of 1812, died in Colorado County on 14 April 1834, she was only a year old, and she and the other Miles children had as their guardian Jesse Burnham. She married Gideon Burgess in Fayette County on 13 January 1851 and lived near Round Top, but she became the first on record to be buried in Clear Creek Cemetery. After her death, her two children (Sarah, b. 1853 and William, b. abt 1855) lived with her mother in Fayette County. Gideon Burgess, her husband, eventually moved to Bastrop County and then to Lampasas, where he died and was buried. Both of her parents were buried in Florida Chapel Cemetery in Fayette County. Her tombstone with a carving of an ivy leaf at the top also carried the prophecy of the future use of the land:
"Remember well as you pass by
That you must die as well as I."
Martha Burgess died on 18 February 1858. [Fayette County, TX Marriage Volume B, p. 23; information from notes of Sarah Jane Burgess May, daughter of Martha Burgess, and notes of Florinda Porter, Ft Worth, TX, great, great granddaughter of Martha Burgess; Mary Smith Fay, War of 1812 Veterans in Texas, New Orleans: Polyanthus Inc., pp. 220-221; 1860 Census of Fayette Co., TX, p. 54].
Buried near Martha Burgess, one who qualifies as a citizen of the Republic of Texas, are at least five members of the Bass family and two Overbays. Elmira P. Bass was a Burgess before she married Wm. P. Bass. Her stone, outside a picket fence, apparently moved there since the top part sits off the base nearby, states that she was born in Burk (sic) Co., N. C. on 5 November 1827 and died on 16 October 1906. It also carries the epitaph often found on a mother's stone;
Rest mother rest
In quiet sleep
While friends in sorrow
O'er thee weep.
An obituary in the Weimar Mercury on 20 October 1906 said that she was born in Alabama [The 1860 census and the 1880 census state that she was born in North Carolina] on 13 November 1827 and had been a member of the Methodist Church since age 14. She married William Bass in 1850 and then moved to Texas. Her death certificate stated that she died from acute bronchitis. She was the mother of four children, survived only by the youngest, C. A. Bass. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery; Colorado County Census 1860 and 1880; Weimar Mercury, 20 October 1906; Colorado County Deaths, Book 1, p. 7.]
William P. Bass, Elmira's husband, was buried inside the picket fence. He was born in North Carolina on 7 June 1817. William P. Bass was in Texas as early as 1842 as mentioned in a deed in Colorado County. He also owned land in Lavaca County and apparently lived there for a time since he is mentioned in county court records. In 1850 he was living in Colorado County with Eliza Hopson. In 1860 he was still living in Colorado County near Oakland and listed as a farmer. He had as neighbors the Paynes, Egglestons, Carsons, Fowlkes, and De Graffenreids. Besides his wife Elmira, listed with him are his children W. T. Bass (age 6), Sarah Bass (age 3), George C. (age 1) and two BurgessesJesse (age 16) and Mary (age 9). When the Civil War started in 1861 William Bass became a member of the Oakland Guards under Captain T. C. Benthall, a local militia unit formed at the beginning of the Civil War. On his stone are the initials W. M. P. Bass, apparently a mistake for Wm. P. Bass. His epitaph reads:
"Although he sleeps his memory doth live
And cheering comfort to his mourners gives
And followed virtue as his truest guide
Lived as a christian, as a christian died." [Colorado County Deed Book C, p. 27; Colorado County Census 1850 and 1860; Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles, Vol. I, p.105 ; tombstone in Clear Creek.]
Supposedly buried inside the picket fence beside William Bass was George C. Bass, the son of William and Elmira Bass. No head stone has been uncovered, but there is a footstone with the initials G. C. B. Back of the fence are other Bass graves. A stone with a hand pointing upward and holding a rose, marks the grave of W. T. Bass, also a son of William and Elmira Bass. He was born on 22 July 1854 and died on 10 October 1880. The 1880 census states that he had consumption. While little is know about him, the epitaph proclaims:
Green be the turf above thee
Child of our happier days
None knew thee but to love thee
Nor named thee but to praise. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; 1880 Census of Colorado County, TX]
The other Bass stone is for Myrtle Elmire Bass, the daughter of C. C. and Mattie Bass and the grandchild of William and Elmira Bass. The stone of the little girl, who was born 12 September 1895 and died on 14 January 1898, is topped with a little lamb and the traditional epitaph for a child:
Budded on earth
To bloom in heaven. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery]
Sarah, the daughter of William and Elmira Bass, is buried near the Bass section. She was born on 9 August 1857, married Eugene L. Overbay on 25 November 1875 at William Bass' home, and died on 26 July 1877. Her son, San Antonio, must have died before she did. His stone marked with a lamb states only his name and the fact that he was the son of Eugene L. and Sally Overbay. In the obituary in the Schulenburg Argus for Sallie Overbay is the statement: "She was a most exemplary wife and mother, and leaves a desolate grief stricken husband, and a host of sympathizing friends...." making no mention of the infant son. Norman C. Krischke in the Navidad Baptist Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX assumes the child San Antonio died about 1877 from a resolution in the Lyons Masonic Lodge records. [Tombstones at Clear Creek Cemetery, Schulenburg Argus: March 30, 1877-March 8, 1878 , prepared by Norman C. Krischke (Schulenburg, TX: Schulenburg Historical Museum, Inc.), p 47; Norman C. Krischke, Navidad Baptist Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX, p.58; Colorado Co., TX Marriage Book C2, p. 63]
A very active member of the community buried at Clear Creek was Oliver B. Crenshaw. He was born on 26 January 1823 in Tennessee and came to Texas in 1839 during the days of the Republic, receiving a land grant in Colorado County. He also owned land in Lavaca County. In a sworn statement on 14 June 1897 in Llano County to accompany a petition for a widow’s pension for Mary Ann Crenshaw, L. M. Mayes identified himself as having been married to Parthenia Andrews, the sister of Crenshaw's wife (Mary Ann Andrews). He testified about the service of O. B. Crenshaw in the Mexican War. He said that he remembered Crenshaw telling stories about the battle at Salado, but Mayes’ statement was in reference to Crenshaw's service in the Mexican War so he may have been mistaken as to the time or battle. Crenshaw, however, did serve in Captain C. C. Herbert's Company of the 1 Regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles commanded by Col. John C. Hays. He enlisted on 10 June 1846 at Point Isabel, Texas, and was discharged on 11 September 1846 in Mexico. He returned to Colorado County to farm and to marry Mary Ann Andrews on 11 March 1847. Mary Anne Andrews was the daughter of Alfred Gray Andrews and Winifred Hyman Andrews who lived across the Navidad River in Lavaca County. O. B. Crenshaw was also a charter member of the Masonic Lodge at nearby Lyons in Fayette County and its first treasurer in 1857 and a trustee of the Methodist Church when the land was given for the cemetery. In 1861, O. B. Crenshaw joined the Oakland Guards, one of the local militia units in the area. He died on 5 October 1863. His stone is a simple one with a Masonic emblem at the top. Near him is a small cradle-like grave with a small stone with a rose at the top. It is for J. J. Crenshaw, born 29 January 1862died 5 December 1862. The grave is apparently for the youngest child of O. B. and Mary Anne Crenshaw. [Tombstones at Clear Creek Cemetery; Widow's Service Pension for Mexican War #13914, National Archives; Colorado County Marriage Book B, p. 87; 1850 Census Colorado Co., TX Microcopy 432, Roll 910, and 1860 Census of Colorado County, TX, Microcopy 653, Roll 1291, p. 131; Norman C. Krischke, Navidad Baptist Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX, p.7; Deed Records in Colorado County and Lavaca County; Colorado County Chronicles, Vol. I, p.105.]
In the vicinity of the Crenshaw graves is the false crypt for Zachariah Payne. The false crypt is built above the ground over the grave where the person is buried. Apparently, some do not know that there is no body in the crypt, and the crypts are often damaged by vandals. The top slab on the Zachariah Payne crypt was removed and broken, but the two sections rest nearby, and the inscription can still be read. Zachariah Payne was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, on 14 March 1794, making him the one who has the earliest birth date in the cemetery. His father and both of his grandfathers were Revolutionary soldiers who were at Fort Blakemore in the western part of Virginia, protecting that section from the Indians. After the war they received land grants in Tennessee and moved there in 1785. After the deaths of both parents, Zachariah married Nancy Turner on 4 October 1821. From Davidson County, the Paynes moved first to Dyer County, Tennessee, and then to Haywood County where they were not only involved in farming but also in land speculation in an attempt to establish the town of Dancyville. Here they also met Cleveland Windrow who married one of Zachariah and Nancy's daughters, Mary Jane Payne, on 25 December 1845. After her death on 5 July 1846, Cleveland Windrow moved to Colorado County where he quickly became involved in the county government serving as county clerk from 1848 to his death in 1863. The Paynes followed him to Colorado County in March of 1847, settling first on the John Haddon Survey on the eastern side of the Colorado River across from Columbus and then moving to the W. W. Thompson Survey between the Jesse Burnham Survey and the James Bowie Survey near Oakland and Clear Creek. Eventually Zachariah Payne acquired land with his sons in the J. Thompson league, the J. W. Dabney Survey, and the Breedlove Survey. Zachariah Payne along with his sons Don Fernando, Josiah Frederick Turner, and Daniel Cherry acquired, at different times, a number of other pieces of land, often at sheriff's sales for delinquent taxes, usually in the names of the sons. Many of these pieces of land were later sold at sheriff’s sales. All of the Paynes were members of the Clear Creek Methodist Church, and Zachariah Payne was one of the trustees when E. M. Glenn deeded the land to the church. Zachariah Payne died on 14 March 1870, and his crypt became the center of a number of graves connected with the Payne family. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Draper MSSSeries XX Tennessee Papers Vol. I, pp 20 and 26; Deed Records in Davidson Co., TN, Dyer Co., TN; and Haywood Co., TN. Tombstone in Methodist Church Cemetery in Dancyville, TN; Deeds in Colorado Co., TX]
Cleveland Windrow, who had married Sally Ann, another daughter of Zachariah and Nancy Payne on 12 December 1848, also owned land in the Clear Creek area. However he lived in the town of Columbus where he also became active in the Caladonia Masonic Lodge, serving as worshipful master from December 1861 to December 1862. [Colorado County Marriage Records Book B, p. 92, Records from Caladonia Masonic Lodge in Columbus, TX]
Two markers record the deaths of Windrows in the area where Payne members are buried. Close to the Zachariah Payne crypt is the grave of Irene Windrow, the daughter of Cleveland and Sally Anne Payne Windrow. She was born about 1857 and died in March of 1871. No head stone has been located, but a footstone marked I. W. does exist. A memorial in the Colorado Citizen from the Clear Creek Temple # 7 stated that she died in March of 1871. The other Windrow grave is that of Claude Windrow, the small son of Henry Zachariah Windrow and Maggie Mercer Windrow. H. Z. Windrow was the oldest son of Cleveland and Sally Ann Windrow who married Maggie Mercer, the daughter of Levi Mercer. The H. Z. Windrow family lived in Weimar for some time where he was a merchant and postmaster until they moved to Frio County and then to Tom Green County in the late 1880's. According to the tombstone the little boy Claude was born 22 April 1874 and died 15 November 1875. [Tombstones at Clear Creek; 1860 Census, Colorado Co., TX, p. 137; Marriage Records of Colorado County, TX , Book E, p. 198; Colorado Citizen, March 1871]
Next to the false crypt of Zachariah Payne is the little grave of Josiah Pembroke Payne, the young son of Don Fernando and Sallie Andrews Payne. According to the family Bible, the little boy had been named for his uncle Josiah Payne and his uncle Pembroke Andrews. The little stone marked with a little lamb at the top indicates that he was born on 23 April 1859 and died on 3 May 1865. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery; Bible of Don F. and Sallie Andrews Payne; 1860 Census Colorado County, TX]
Don Fernando Payne was buried somewhere near the grave of his son and his father, Zachariah Payne, but the stone has been knocked off its base. Don Payne was born in Nashville, Tennessee, on 29 September 1823. He came to Texas with his parents in 1847 and quickly became involved in life in Colorado County. In 1848 he was District Clerk, and at other times he worked as deputy clerk in the County Clerk's office for his brother-in-law Cleveland Windrow. He was licensed to practice law in Lavaca County and served as a notary in Colorado County. It was Don Payne who often bought land at sheriff's sales, and at one time was part owner with George Metz of some 1100 acres on Eagle Lake. On 26 May 1858 he married Sallie Elizabeth Andrews, the daughter of A. G. and Winifred Andrews of Lavaca County, after a courtship opposed by Sallie's father. However, he did win the acceptance of Andrews, and in 1868 he bought some of the Andrews' land when A. G. and Winifred Andrews moved to Tuxpan, Mexico, after the Civil War. [Tombstone in Clear Creek; Lavaca County Marriage Book; Paul C. Boethel, Colonel Amasa Turner: The Gentleman from Lavaca...(Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1963), pp. 122-123; Deed records of Lavaca Co., TX and Colorado Co., TX]
During the Civil War, Don Payne had served as a lieutenant in R. V. Cook's company of Griffin's Regiment which was stationed at Sabine Pass. He and Cook were tent mates, and he was in a detachment of the Cook Company that participated in the Battle of Sabine Pass. According to an account of John Marshall Carson, Don Payne was among those boarding of the ship Sachem. Carson also remembered that Don Payne acquired a rifle carried by a federal soldier in that battle. [Letter from John Marshall Carson on 8 Sept. 1909 to Editor of Dallas Semi-Weekly News, also see Richard V. Cook and the Battle of Sabine Pass” compiled by Ernest Mae Seaholm and Bill Stein, Nesbitt Library Memorial Journal, Vol. 1 (February 1991), pp. 243-260; military record from National Archives; “Colorado County Confederate Soldiers,” compiled by Bill Stein, et al, Nesbitt Memorial Journal, Vol. 7 (May, 1997), p. 116]
After the war, Don Fernando Payne returned to Colorado County to farm. In the 16 November 1871 issue of the Colorado Citizen was an article in which the editor wrote of a journey to Oakland. Stopping at Don Payne's, at Content, for lunch he described an enterprise by which Don Payne intended to irrigate his land by damming Payne's Creek. The editor wrote: "... we judge that he will first have to devise some means to supply the branch with water, as it is now almost dry. We saw him in the distance swinging the 'echoing axe' like he was hewing the timbers for his locks and dams." In the next issue, however, (23 November 1871) appeared the article which read, " We learn that the citizens of Content have applied for a writ of injunction to restrain Don F. Payne from obstructing the natural courses of the waters of Payne's creek." Since the bed of the stream was higher than a large portion of the town of Content, the people of that place were apprehensive that the water would flood the town during unusual freshlets. The result of the water controversy was brought to a swift conclusion when Don F. Payne died on 6 December 1871 to be buried at Clear Creek. His stone has the old symbol of the hand with the index finger pointing upward to the "one true way," but it is further embellished with oak leaves and an acorn, a rather timely symbol since it has often been covered with oak leaves after being dislodged from its base. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery, Colorado Citizen Dec., 1871]
Nancy Turner Payne, wife of Zachariah Payne, also must lie near his burial place, but no stone has yet been discovered. The daughter of Frederick and Mary Jones Turner, she was born in Craven County, North Carolina on 21 March 1797, moved with her family to Smith County, Tennessee in the early 1800's, married Zachariah Payne on 4 October 1821 in Tennessee, and died on 28 January 1879. She died twenty-three days before her son Josiah Frederick Turner Payne whom she had made the administrator of her estate. [Bible of Zachariah and Nancy Payne, Copy of record from Frederick and Mary Turner Bible; Craven County, N. C. Deeds; Smith Co., TN Deeds; Colorado County, TX Probate Records]
Since Daniel Cherry Payne, the youngest son of Zachariah and Nancy Payne had died in 1862 during a measles epidemic in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a member of Co. F., 8th Texas Cavalry (Terry's Texas Rangers), the only other son was Josiah Frederick Turner Payne. He was buried a short distance from the false crypt of Zachariah Payne. His stone is of sandstone, probably taken from Clear Creek, and in a disintegrating state. His name is still visible, but the dates are difficult to read. According to the Zachariah Payne family Bible, Josiah was born 1 October 1825 in Davidson County, Tennessee and named for his two grandfathers. Although A. G. Andrews had opposed the marriage of Don Payne to Sallie Andrews, he supposedly heartily supported the marriage of Josiah Payne and his daughter Bashie Winifred Andrews, who according to George Q. Turner were the two ugliest people on earth. They were married in the Andrews home in Lavaca County on 20 September 1859 and went to live in Colorado County. When the Civil War started, Josiah Payne joined the local militia unit the Oakland Grays with most of the men around Oakland and later joined the R. V. Cook unit in which his brother was lieutenant. However, he found a substitute to take his place in the company and returned to Colorado County to farm with his father while his brothers Don and Daniel were at war. Josiah and Bashie had eleven children, and he also found himself guardian or administrator to his sister Sallie Windrow's children after the death of Cleveland Windrow and to his brother Don's children after his death in 1871. When he died, his wife Bashie declared that she did not feel confident to handle the estate and the care of eleven children, and her nephew C. G. Crenshaw became the administrator. [C. C. Jeffries, Terry's Rangers, (New York: Vantage Press) p. 29; Military Records of D. C. Payne, Don F. Payne, and Josiah Payne National Archives; “Colorado County Confederate Soldiers,” compiled by Bill Stein, et al. Nesbitt Memorial Journal. Vol. 7 (May 1997), p.132; tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery; Paul C. Boethel, Gentleman..., pp. 122-123; Bible of J. F. T. and Bashie Payne; Colorado County Probate Records; 1880 Colorado Co., TX Census; Colorado Citizen , Feb. 27, 1879; Colorado Co., TX probate records]
One of the eleven children of Josiah and Bashie Payne, Bashie, is buried in Clear Creek although no stone has been found. Bashie was born on 3 May 1874 in the Clear Creek area of Colorado County, and according to the Colorado Citizen of 2 July 1885 died on the evening of 30 June 1885 of typhoid fever. The Weimar Gimlet of 2 July 1885 reported that she was buried at Clear Creek in the family plot. [Family Bible of Josiah F. T. and Bashie W.Payne]
Three of the A. G. Andrews' daughters' husbands are buried in Clear Creek Cemetery--O. B. Crenshaw, Don Fernando Payne, and J. F. T. Payne, but none of the daughters are. The Crenshaw and D. F. Payne families moved away from Colorado County in the 1880's, and Mary Anne Crenshaw, who lived into the 1920's is buried in Brady, Texas where she was living with her daughter. Sallie Payne died in Ozona in 1902 and was buried there, but when some in her family moved to San Angelo, they moved her body there. And Bashie is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Weimar where she had lived. She died in 1916. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery, Masonic Cemetery in Weimar, Texas; San Angelo, Texas; and Brady, Texas]
Two other graves near the Paynes in Clear Creek, those of Elvy Ann Carson and James W. Carson, have family connections to the Windrows. Elvy Ann was a Windrow and was a first cousin to Cleveland Windrow. James W. Carson was born in Tennessee on 1 November 1801 and died in Colorado County on 31 August 1861. He married Elvy Ann Windrow on 16 Oct 1831 in Rutherford County, Tennessee. Nine children were born in Tennessee, the youngest, Cary, in 1853, and in 1855 the family moved to Colorado County, settling on three hundred acres on the J. Thompson League. Three sons joined the Confederacy during the Civil War, and John M. Carson wrote an account of the Battle of Sabine Pass in which he participated as a soldier in R. V. Cook's company of Griffin's Regiment. In 1931, Cary Carson, the youngest son, recalled his early life in Colorado County in a letter to the Dallas Semi-Weekly Farm News, remembering especially the stage coach which brought the Galveston News to Oakland. "As a boy when I with all the other boys in town gathered around the stage when the horses were being relayed, and the driver looked down from his dizzy height, I felt that if ever man had reason to feel that his cup of ambition was filled, he was that man. My first and earliest ambition was to be a stage driver. Alas, this embryonic aspiration was never achieved." Cary eventually moved away from Colorado County to attend Trinity University at Tehuacana, Texas, and later was in Paris, France, when Germany invaded Belgium in World War I. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Cary Leigh Carson,“Another Old-Timer Calls; Says Members of All Texas Vacation Tour Are Fortunate,” Dallas Semi-Weekly Farm News, July 7, 1931; family notes from Rella Aldrich and Bill Pierce, descendents of the Carsons; Deed Records in Colorado County, TX; Rutherford Co., TN Marriage Records; military records in National Archives; “Colorado County Confederate Soldiers” compiled by Bill Stein, et al Nesbit Memorial Journal, Vol.7 (May 1997), p.116; ”Richard V. Cook and the Battle of Sabine Pass,” compiled by Ernest Mae Seaholm and Bill Stein, Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Vol. 1 (February, 1991), pp. 262-255.]
Four of the Carson children-- John M., James W., Henry Stuart and Mariam Z.--married in Colorado County and settled near by. When Elvy Ann Carson died, the tombstone, a flat stone which covers the grave, was ordered from Galveston at a cost of $80.75 plus $7.52 for freight. The estate held a public auction in 1867 for household and farm items, and for a year the farm was rented, but in 1868, the land was sold at public auction and was bought by the son Henry Stuart Carson. No other identifiable stones in Clear Creek belong to Carsons, but an article in the Weimar Mercury of 12 October 1889 was the notice in the Oakland Remarks that "Mrs. Josephine Carson, nee Fowlkes, wife of Jas. W. Carson" died on the 8th of October at her home in Lavaca County and was buried in "the old Clear Creek church graveyard. Mrs. Carson was born in this county, and had lived near here all her life. She leaves a husband and three sons." [Notes from Rella Aldrich; tombstones; Weimar Mercury Oct. 12, 1889 ; Probate records in Colorado Co., TX; “Windrow, Mystery Hamlet;” Murfreesboro, TN, The Daily News Journal, p. 16]
One other tombstone in Clear Creek, although at some distance from the Windrows, Paynes, and Carsons, has a connection to the Windrows. That is the stone for Levi Mercer. Levi’s daughter, Margaret Ann Mercer, married Henry Zachariah Windrow in Colorado County on 23 November 1870. [Colorado County, TX Marriage Book E, p. 198; Colorado County, TX Census Record 1880]
Levi Mercer, born 22 July 1815, was the son of Eli and Nancy Thompson Mercer of Amite Co., Mississippi, who came to Austin’s Colony in November, 1829 and settled near Egypt in what is now Wharton County. Levi’s sister, Penelope, married to Gail Borden, Jr., followed the Mercers to Texas in December, 1829. During the Texas Revolution, Eli and his son Elijah, but not Levi, joined the Texans at San Jacinto with W. J. E. Heard’s company. In 1838, Levi married Sarah Menefee, the daughter of William Menefee, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. After her death in 1844, Levi married Sarah Blaine Hankins in Fort Bend County on October 29, 1845, and in the 1850’s they moved to Colorado County, near Oakland. Besides two daughters of his first marriage, Levi had nine other children. In 1863, Levi enlisted in Captain John Harcourt’s company of militia for three months. Levi died on 14 February 1865 in Colorado County and is buried under a false crypt. When Levi died, he owned 700 acres of land in Wharton County, 1000 acres in Colorado County (the Glenn Place), 600 acres (the Barton Place) in Colorado County, 2310 1/2 acres in Burnet County, 640 acres in Llano County, and 680 acres in Bexar County. The inscription on the cover of the crypt reads:
Death is the close of Life’s alarms
The watch light on its shores,
The clasping in immortal arms
Of loved ones gone before. [Probate Records in Colorado County; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; family notes of Don Mercer, Houston, TX and Mrs. Sam (Jackie Mercer) Lucchese, San Antonio, TX, Colorado Co., TX Marriage Record B, p. 11; Deed records in Colorado Co., TX]
Several sandstone markers are located near his crypt but no names can be deciphered. One, however, may be for his son Thomas L. Mercer, born about 1847. He was a member of Captain Benthal’s Oakland Guards during the Civil War. Apparently he died before 28 January 1865, when Levi made his will. A second son, Eli, may also be buried in Clear Creek. He too died before Levi made his will. Sarah Hankins Mercer with the rest of the family left Colorado County in the 1880’s. She died in Frio County in 1902 and is buried in Pearsall. [Tombstones in Clear CreekCemetery and in Pearsall, TX; Colorado County Probate Records]
One of the key names linking many of the individuals in Clear Creek is Henderson. Thomas J. Henderson, the patriarch of the family, was born about 1814 in Georgia, but lived in Alabama and Mississippi where he met the Mayes, Woolridge, and Joiner families. He married Martha Hendricks in Lawrence Co., Alabama, on 5 July 1831. They came to Texas in 1847, moving to Seguin, but because the Indians were still a threat in Guadalupe County, they moved to Colorado County in 1849. Tom and Martha Henderson had one son and seven daughters who married into other families--Overbay, Britton, Rutledge, Darby, Tooke, Lamkin-- in the Fayette-Lavaca-Colorado area. When Thomas Henderson died in February of 1878, a note in the Colorado Citizen announced his death calling him “Colonel” Henderson, but unless the title belongs to some local militia group, it seems to be honorary. A number of crypt-looking structures exist in the cemetery marking graves, but no inscriptions exist on them. Probably Thomas Henderson is buried under one, but the exact location of his grave has not been identified. Included in the announcement of his death was the statement that the old cemetery was “sadly neglected” and in need of attention and care. The church that was located at Clear Creek was no long as active as it was in the 1850’s and 1860’s and by the 1880’s a number of families were moving away. For some time, though, the cemetery continued to be used, especially by Henderson descendants. [Colorado County Census 1850, 1860; Alabama Marriage Records; Colorado Citizen, Feb. 14, 1878.]
Martha Hendricks Henderson lived on in Colorado County until 1900. She was born in Alabama in June 1818 and died 7 October 1900 near Rock Island, TX. At the time of her death she was living with her son A. N. Henderson. [Colorado Citizen, Oct. 11, 1900]
The earliest dated tombstone for a Henderson daughter is for Loucintha Henderson Darby. She was born 22 May 1844 in Mississippi and married James A. Darby in Fayette County on 21 April 1858. They had two sonsEustace and Ambrose. She died on 16 December 1869 and is buried at Clear Creek. She shares a tombstone adorned with a willow tree with her daughter Lou who was born 12 December 1869 and died 18 March 1870. From the dates it appears that Loucintha may have died from complications of childbirth with the child living only for three months. James A. Darby married Fannie soon after the death of his wife. Fannie A. Darby was born 25 March 1842 and died 25 December 1871. She too is buried at Clear Creek, under a single stone with clasped hands at the top. James A. Darby married a third time, but he and that wife are buried in the Weimar Masonic Cemetery. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX Marriage Records 1838-1870, p.17,p.42]
Another of the early graves for a Henderson descendant may be for Penina E. Henderson who married Henry P. Overbay on 25 November 1856. She was the second daughter of T. J. Henderson and became the second wife of Henry who already had a son, Eugene L. Overbay. Penina became the mother of five children Lamar H. (b. 1858), Vattell A. (1860), Aroma (b. 1862), Henry P. Jr. (1865) and Rebel Lee (1869). While she was enumerated on the 1870 census taken on 26 June 1870, she probably died soon after, since Henry married again on 17 November 1870. No stone has been found for her in the cemetery, but a number of markers in the area of the Overbays and Henderson descendants exist. [Fayette Co., TX Marriage Records 1838-1870, p. 15; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; 1870 Census Lavaca Co., TX, p. 446; Norman C. Krischke, Navidad Baptist Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX , p. 58.]
A third Henderson daughter to be buried at Clear Creek was Ella N. She was born about 1857 in Texas and was married in Colorado County on 8 November 1872 to John Anderson Lamkin, who was born near Philadelphia, Mississippi on 25 December 1856. They had seven children: Guy Albert (b. 1881), John Anderson (b.1884), Clyde (b. 1885), Charlie William (b. 1887), John Henry (b. 1879), Martha Anna (1873), and Mary F. (1876). One of the children John Anderson Jr., who was born on 14 October 1884, died on 14 September 1885. [Colorado Citizen, September 17, 1885.] He was buried at Clear Creek. A stone may had existed, but it no longer can be found. On 16 October 1891, Ella N. Lamkin died of consumption and was buried next to her son. Today no headstone exists, but a footstone with the initials E. N. can be seen. John Anderson Lamkin married a second time to Sarah Frances Butler and had seven more children. [See a photo of John Anderson Lamkin family with second wife. Photo owned by Ernestine Lamkin Roeder and submitted by Ernest Mae Seaholm] However, when he died on 14 July 1929, he was buried beside his first wife at Clear Creek. So far as there are any records, John Anderson Lamkin was the last one to be buried at Clear Creek. The stone marking the grave of James Anderson Lamkin is marked “Father” at the top and “Asleep in Jesus” at the bottom, and the grave is covered with a concrete slab. This is one area which has consistently been well kept since the Lamkin family has had reunions in the area and have maintained the Lamkin plot. [Colorado County Marriage Record Book E, p.291; “Oakland Remarks,” Weimar Mercury, 24 October 1891; Weimar Mercury, 26 July 1929; Lamkin Family Bible; Tombstone in Clear Creek ; Family notes from James A. Lamkin, Richmond, TX; 1880 Census Colorado Co., TX]
Probably another daughter, Cornelia (Camella) Henderson Rutledge is buried at Clear Creek. Camella was born in Texas abt. 1855. She married P. A. Rutledge in Colorado County on 7 November 1876. In 1880 Camella, P. A., and a daughter were living in Lavaca County with her brother-in-law W. D. Rutledge, but when her husband died in 1892, she was not mentioned in his obituary. P. A. Rutledge, who was born in Mississippi about 1850. When “Pink” Rutledge died on 8 September 1892, he was at the home of Mrs. Tom Henderson, his mother-in-law. A death notice in the Colorado Citizen said that he died of consumption and that he had returned to Colorado County six weeks before his death to be among relatives. He was survived by three children. At Clear Creek Cemetery, a sandstone marker with the letters P A RU exists in the area of the Lamkin graves. Apparently this is the marker for P. A. Rutledge. [Colorado Citizen, Sep 15, 1892; Lavaca County Census 1880; Colorado County, TX Marriage Record; stone in Clear Creek Cemetery]
None of the other Thomas J. Henderson children are buried at Clear Creek, but some of the spouses and grandchildren are. James Alfred (also known as Brown) Britton was born in North Carolina about 1839 and came to Texas in the 1850’s. He was living in Lavaca County in 1860, and when the war started he enlisted as a private in Captain John Duff Brown’s company of volunteer cavalry of Waul’s Legion. Later he was promoted to 4th corporal in Co. D, Willis’ Battl’n Texas Cavalry. At Harrisburg, Mississippi, he was wounded in the head by a musket ball just above the left eye on 14 July 1864 and was sent to the hospital at Lauderdale Springs. The wound in his forehead continued to give him pain for the rest of his life. When he returned to Colorado County to farm after the war, he married Emma Caroline (Carrie) Henderson on 20 August 1868. They had eleven children. He died on 3 February 1892 at his home of congestion of the brain and was interred at Clear Creek. No identifiable stone has been found in the cemetery for James Britton, but on private property on County Road 214, a Confederate-veteran marker was located. Apparently at some time relatives secured a government marker, but did not know the exact location his grave at Clear Creek and failed to place it there. The marker has been taken recently to Clear Creek Cemetery and will be erected in the Henderson area as a memorial to James Britton. [Lavaca County Census 1860, Colorado County Census 1880; Colorado County Marriage Book E, p. 113; Military Record of J. Britton in National Archives; J. Britton in Card File of Texas Muster Rolls in Austin, TX; Widow’s Application for Pension File for Carrie Britton, Austin, TX; “Britton ‘Grave Site’ “, Nesbitt Memorial Library Cemetery Records, Volume II; Obituary for James T. Henderson in Colorado Citizen, Oct. 8, 1891; family notes of Joyce Lucas Morris, Chappell Hill, TX]
One child of James and Carrie Britton was also buried in Clear Creek Cemetery. According to family descendents, Allen Britton, born around 1875, fell in the house and hit his head on the hearth, dying from the injury. He was buried in Clear Creek before 1880 in what is now an unmarked grave. Also buried in unmarked graves are four young grandchildren of James Britton. Martha T. Britton married George B. Glaze. They had thirteen children. Two little boys died at a very early age and were buried in Clear Creek. A second daughter Nora Britton married John E. Glaze. Two little girls, Mittie and Lillian, born after 1900 are buried in the cemetery. One was eighteen months old when she died, and the other was three years old. One fell from the porch and died from the fall. Neither child has an identifiable marker. Early in the 1900’s the Glazes, the Brittons, and the Henderson son left the Oakland area and moved to Wharton County in the vicinity of Hahn. Carrie Britton, Albert N. Henderson, the only Henderson son, and some of his family are buried in the Hahn Cemetery, but Albert N. Henderson’s son James T. Henderson, who was born about 1873 near Oakland and died 2 October 1891, is buried at Clear Creek. [Family notes of Joyce Lucas Morris, Chappell Hill, TX and Lorraine Taylor Koeing, El Campo, TX; tombstones in Hahn Cemetery]
Not a Henderson descendant, but the sister of James Britton, Sophie J. Britton is buried in Clear Creek in an unidentifiable grave. She was born in Pitt County, North Carolinia about 1853, the daughter of Patrick (or Patrone) and Lucretia Britton. She probably followed her brother to Texas where she married James O. Cherry on 1 March 1877. They had 7 children: John, Lula Frances, Rosie, Mack Gilbert, Laura, Emma Daisy, and George Cleveland. Sophie died on 25 January 1888 in Lavaca County and was buried in Clear Creek. [Colorado Citizen, Feb. 2, 1888; 1850 and 1860 Pitt Co., NC censuses; Colorado Co., TX Marriage Book F, p. 20; 1880 Census of Colorado Co., TX, p. 365]
Perhaps there are other Henderson descendants buried at Clear Creek for in the area of the marked Darby and Lamkin graves are a number of stone markers indicating graves, but if there ever were inscriptions on them, time and weather have made them unreadable.
Another family closely connected to the Henderson family is the Mayes family. Mary Henderson, a sister of Thomas, married Michael Warren Mayes. Their son Joshua Pritchard was born in Courtland, Alabama on 5 December 1832. Along with the Hendersons and Joiners he lived in Guadalupe County and then withdrew to the Fayette-Colorado County line because of the Indians. On 26 January 1860, in Colorado County, he married Eliza A. Fowlkes, the daughter of Ethelbert Bruce and Mary (McClelland) Fowlkes. She was born in Texas on 7 July 1841. They had seven children all born in the Oakland area where the Mayes family farmed. He too joined a local militia group, the Oakland Guards under Captain T. C. Benthall, at the beginning of the Civil War and then joined Captain R. V. Cook’s Company A as a private of Colonel Griffen’s regiment. Detachments of this company served at Sabine Pass and at Galveston. After the war, he returned to Oakland where he reared his family. Eliza Ann died on 23 April 1901 to be buried at Clear Creek next to her father. Joshua Pritchard lived on until 5 July 1925 when he died of influenza. His obituary described him as “...a staunch manly character... widely known as one of the substantial citizen of the Oakland section.” He was buried next to his wife. [Family notes of Mildred Mayes Campbell; Colorado Citizen, 8 July 1925; Muster rolls of Co. A., 13th Regiment and Captain T. C. Benthall’s Reserve Company at Texas State Archives, Austin, Texas; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; death certificate in Colorado County, TX Marriage Records of Colorado Co., TX, Book D, p. 65; “Colorado County Confederate Soldiers,” compiled by Bill Stein, et al,Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Vol. 7 (May 1997), p. 128]
Ethelbert Bruce Fowlkes, the father of Eliza Ann Mayes, was one of the wealthiest men in the area. He was born in Culpepper County, Virginia, on 12 September 1816. The son of Edward Bass Fowlkes, a veteran of the War of 1812, the family moved to Arkansas, living for a time in Hempstead County, Arkansas. On 24 January 1839, Ethelbert Bruce married Mary McCleland and soon after moved to Texas where he lived for a time in Fayette County. He supposedly spent some time teaching at Rutersville in Fayette Co. and in fighting Indians. In 1853 he inherited slaves and land in Arkansas from his father which added to his large holdings in Texas. In the 1860 census of Colorado he was listed as having real estate valued at $54,850 and personal estate valued at $80,000. He and his first wife Mary McCleland had four children: Edward Bruce, Eliza, John A., and Josephine. After the death of his wife Mary, he married Caroline Wooldridge, the widow of Thomas A. Wooldridge on 26 May 1857. They lived near the town of Oakland. He died on 8 March 1880 in Colorado County and was buried almost in the center of the cemetery. The stones marking the graves of E. B. Fowlkes, J. P. Mayes, and Eliza A. Mayes are in the best condition of any in the cemetery. The three matching vertical shafts are some of the more recent ones since J. P. and Eliza A. died in the twentieth century, and all three are made of granite rather than the local sandstone. [Family notes of Mildred Mayes Campbell, tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans, Vol. III ; Marriage Records of Colorado Co., TX, Book D, p. 7; 1860 Census of Colorado Co., TX]
The John Duff Brown family was also connected to the Mayes and Hendersons. Two members of the John Duff Brown family are buried at Clear Creek. Mary Annah Mayes Brown was the daughter of Joshua Pritchard and Lucinda Henderson Mayes. Lucinda, the sister of Thomas J. Henderson, married Caleb Joiner after the death of Joshua Pritchard Mayes in Alabama. The Joiners and the Mayes children moved to Texas with the Thomas Henderson family. Dr. John Duff Brown was the son of Waco Brown who had survived living with the Waco Indians. He was also a cousin to John Henry Brown, the historian and newspaper writer, who had lived in Lavaca County as a young man. John Duff Brown was educated in Kentucky after his father died and moved to Texas in 1847. He served as a surgeon in the United States army during the Mexican War and stayed in Texas after the war. He had known the Mayes, Joiners, and Hendersons in Guadalupe County, and married Mary Annah Mayes in Guadalupe County. When they moved to Colorado County, they settled near Oakland. John Duff Brown was a strong supporter of states’ rights, but he was also a strong supporter of the Union. Nevertheless when the war started, John Duff Brown, although overage for military service, organized a company in Waul’s Legion and saw service in Mississippi. Ill much of the time from what he believed to be the beginning of consumption, he decided to leave the service near Holly Springs, but remained in command of Company D until he saw that he could do no more for the company. George McCormick remarked in a letter home that Duff Brown would be sorely missed. When he did finally return home in 1865, he found his wife dying of consumption and his property dissipated. He buried Mary Annah at Clear Creek. He described the situation of the county in his Reminiscences.
The war left the country in apparent ruins. The negroes were freed, the fences rotted, our houses were leaking, our stock of all kinds scattered, and society was disorganized. I was owing nearly five thousand dollars of debts contracted before the war. I sold all my stock and one track of land and was thus enabled to pay all but six hundred dollars of my indebtedness. Finally, by hard work and rigid economy, I paid every dollar, thus saving my good name, and adding greatly to my own happiness. [Military record of John Duff Brown, National Archives; John Duff Brown, “Reminiscences” Texas State Historical Quarterly, XII (April, 1909), 296-311; Marriage Records of Guadalupe Co., TX; “The Experiences of George McCormick in Waul’s Texas Legion,” edited by Bill Stein, Nesbitt Memorial Journal, Vol. 1 (December, 1989), pp.44-46.]
On 8 Sep 1867, Dr. J. Duff Brown married Alice J. Blackburn in Fayette County, Texas. They continued to live in Colorado County until the 1880’s when they moved to Llano where he died on 10 May 1908. His reminiscences were eventually published in the Texas Historical Quarterly in 1909. The stone erected for Mary Annah by her children is a large shaft of granite, in good condition, giving her birth date as 12 August 1833 and her death date as 28 May 1865. It also carries the inscription “Our Mother.” [Fayette County, Texas Marriage Records, 18381870, p. 33; 1870 Census; tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery.]
A grandchild of John Duff and Mary Annah Brown is also buried at Clear Creek. Lizzie Brown, the daughter of Dr. John Duff Brown, Jr. and Kate C. Kinnard Brown, was born 13 December 1877 and died 2 May 1879. A well-preserved stone of marble was erected to her, and although the stone was dislodged from the base and covered with dirt, it is easy to read the inscription. A rose is engraved at the top of the stone and at the bottom is the inscription: “Beautiful lovely she was and green…a fair bud to earth, to bloom in Heaven.” John Duff Brown, Jr. was educated at Vanderbilt University in 1876 and 1877 and was given permission to start practicing medicine in Colorado County. He later continued his education at Kentucky School of Medicine and graduated with his M. D. from Vanderbilt in 1882. After three years of practicing medicine in Oakland, the Brown family moved to Llano. [A History of Texas and Texans, ed. By Eugene C. Baker, III (1914), 1423-1424., tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery.]
A doctor who stayed in Oakland was Dr. Thomas M. Laidley. He was born about 1827 in Cabell County, Virginia (later West Virginia) the son of John Osborne Laidley, a lawyer, and Mary Scales Hite Laidley. John Osborne Laidley was influential in establishing Marshall Academy, now Marshall University, in 1837. Thomas M. Laidley became a physician in Virginia and began practicing in Cabell County. He married Hezina (Hezena) Beall in Virginia. Hezina was born in Virginia abt. 1837. In 1850 she was living in Jefferson Co., VA. According to an obituary the Laidleys came to Texas in 1857. In 1860, he, his wife H. B. and nine-month old son John M. were living with V. D. Latulle, who was also from Cabell Co., VA. Two more children, Helen and Thidia ? (T. B.), were born in the 1860’s. When the war started, T. M. Laidley joined the local militia, the Oakland Guards, under Captain T. C. Benthall. Laidley became the first lieutenant of the company. As did many others who had joined the local militia group, Thomas Laidley later joined another military group. He was enlisted by his friend Victor Dean Letulle into the 2nd Company C of Ragsdale’s Regiment of Cavalry on 15 March 1862 as a sergeant; however he was ill much of the time and on 12 July 1862 was discharged because of chronic diarrhea. [The West Virginia Heritage Encyclopedia (Edited and Published by Jim Comstock, Richwood, West Virginia: 1976), pp 2689-2690; 1850 Census of Cabell Co., VA; 1860 Census of Colorado Co., TX; George Selden Wallace, Cabell County Annals and Families (Richmond, VA: Garrett & Massie, 1935), pp 425-429; Colorado County Marriage Book E, p. 236; 1850 Census of Jefferson Co., VA, p.377.]
He returned to Colorado County to practice medicine. Hezina, his wife, died between 1870 and 1871, and in all probability is buried at Clear Creek since it was the main burying ground at that time. Dr. Laidley then married Sarah Elizabeth Lackey in Colorado County in 1871. A daughter Mannie Belle was born about 1873. He continued to practice medicine in Colorado County until his health began to fail. Then he served as a justice of the peace in the Oakland area during his last years. In 1889 Dr. Laidley became suddenly ill and on December 12 died. The notice in the Weimar Mercury and the Halletsville Herald gave the place of burial as Clear Creek Cemetery. [Weimar Mercury, Dec 28, 1889; Halletsville Herald, Dec 19, 1889]
Mrs. Sarah Laidley and her family soon left Colorado County to live in Luling where her father and sisters had moved.
Another doctor buried in Clear Creek Cemetery was Dr. Thomas Tscharner DeGraffenreid. He was born on 6 May 1832 in Mecklenberg, Virginia and came to Texas with his two brothers William G. DeGraffenried and Fleming Taylor DeGrafferied around 1855. Although he had a medical degree, when he moved to Columbus in March of 1861, he advertised in the Colorado Citizen that he was “rendering his professional services to the citizens of Columbus and the surrounding country” as a dentist. When the Civil War began, T. T. DeGraffenried enlisted in John Shropshire’s Cavalry of Mounted Riflemen, but later enlisted in Captain John C. Upton’s company formed in Colorado County as a private. This company went to Virginia where it was attached to the 5th Texas Regiment of Hood’s Brigade as Co. B. He was then detailed to a hospital as a nurse from September of 1862 to December 1863. Most of 1864 he was ill in various hospitals around Richmond. In November 1864, Colonel Bass detailed him as Brigade Dentist, and he served in that capacity until he surrendered and was paroled at Appomattox. He returned to Colorado County and again practiced dentistry. On 18 March 1867, T. T. DeGraffenried married Adrienne Townsend, daughter of Stephen and Sabrina Townsend in Fayette County, TX. Three children were born in Colorado County: Mary Willie (1868), Fleming Taylor (1869), and Thomas Tescharner (1871). His obituary in the Colorado Citizen described him as a kind-hearted husband and father who was never robust but who was “one of the most worthy and useful citizens.” He practiced dentistry until a short time before his death. He died at the residence of Mr. P. H. Hargan on 16 August 1875 of consumption and cancer of the tongue. He was buried at Clear Creek Cemetery. Later the family of T. T. DeGraffenried moved to Falls County, TX. [Fayette Co., TX Marriage Book C, p. 218; Obituary in Colorado Citizen, Aug. 19, 1875; Military Record, National Archives; Colorado County Chronicles, Vol. !, pp 102 and 115; 1880 Census of Falls Co., TX, p. 257; “Colorado County Confederate Soldiers,” compiled by Bill Stein, et al, Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Vol. 7, (May 1997), p.116.]
Very close to the T. T. DeGraffenreid stone is a false crypt for T. E. Degraffenreid. He was born on 9 August 1825 in North Carolina and died on 31 July 1867. The false crypt is in remarkably good condition, looking as though it has been repaired, but who might have been responsible for the repair work is unknown. T. E. DeGraffenreid was a large landowner in Fayette County owning some 1109 acres in the Maxwell survey, 580 acres of the Jasper A. Sargent survey, 280 acres in the Brookfield grant of Fayette County and 90 acres in the John Toliver grant in Colorado County. T. E. DeGraffenreid’s wife was named Catherine; she was buried in Weimar. During the Civil War, T. E. DeGraffenried enlisted as a private under Capt. William Upton in Fayette County in August of 1863 for 6 months. He is later listed on two monthly returns as a private in Co B under C. W. Tait in the 4th Battalion headquartered at Sabine Pass. Thomas E. DeGraffenried died intestate, and his four children Mary Lillie, Charles, Addie A., and Fannie Emma were placed under the guardianship of Freirich Simpson. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery and in Weimar; Deed Records in Fayette Co., TX and in Colorado Co., TX; Probate Records of Colorado Co., TX Irene Bush Spence, The Family of Christopher DeGraffenried IV: in Switzerland and America.... Camilla, GA: Enterprise Pub., 196?]
While the spelling of the two DeGraffenrieds is not always the same, it is quite probable that they are both descended from Baron Christopher de Graffenried and Regina Tschaner who came to this country in 1710 and settled in New Berne, N. C., naming the city for his native home in Switzerland. Just what the connection is between the two is not known at this time. [ Irene Bush Spence, The Family of Christopher DeGraffen3ried IV; in Switzerland and America…,Camilla, Ga.: Enterprise Pub.]
The Cleveland family also had at least two members buried at Clear Creek. The family history The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleveland Families states that Cynthia Carley who had married Horatio Johnson Cleveland was buried at the Methodist Church in Colorado County, Texas, six miles east of Prairie Point. Quite probably this was at Clear Creek. As early as 1848, tax records show that H. J. Cleveland, a non-resident owned 200 acres of land in the Jesse Burnham league. According to volume F, page 372, George T. Holman sold this land to Horatio John Cleveland. This land was in the area of Clear Creek. The 1849 tax records show that H. J. Cleveland was a resident in Colorado County. The 1850 census for Colorado County lists Cynthia as being 56 year old, born in New York. There were three children living with Horatio and Cynthia in the 1850 Census: Emmeline (b. abt. 1832), Cynthia (b. abt. 1835) and William (b. abt. 1840). Probate Records in Colorado County indicate that Cynthia Cleveland died between November 1858 and 29 March 1859. The appraisers of her property in 1859 were J. F. Payne, C. J. Ward, and J. C. Dean. Two of the threeJ. F. Payne and C. J. Wardare buried at Clear Creek. No stone for Cynthia Carley Cleveland has been found, but probably one of the many deteriorating stones in the cemetery marks her grave. [Edmund James Cleveland and Horace Gillette Cleveland, comps. The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families (Hartford, Conn.: The Case, Lockwood & Grainarb Co., 1899), Vol. I, pp.1043-1043; Probate Records, Colorado Co., TX, Vol. F, pp 71-79; 1850 Census of Colorado Co., TX, ; Colorado Co., TX Deeds Vol. F, p. 372; family notes of Olivia E. Cleveland Milberger of Victoria, TX]
Another Cleveland connection is through the Huggins family. From a note in the newspaper was the report of the death of Mrs. Anna J. Huggins from pneumonia on 6 January 1888 and burial in Clear Creek Cemetery. Anna, the daughter of Larkin Cleveland, had married Americus V. Huggins. Their children were Catherine Elizabeth, Larkin Pickney, Ora Christian, Fanny Stublin, Anna Cleveland, and Benjamin Burlage. [Colorado County, TX Deed Record Book V, p.327 and Vol. U, p. 328; Tax Records in Colorado Co., TX; Colorado County, Texas Probate Minutes Book I, pp. 105-106; 1850 Census of Colorado Co., TX]
According to the 1880 census she was born in Mississippi about 1849. Larkin Cleveland in a letter to Nannie (Nancy) Cleveland Dike, written on 27 November 1877 from Weimar, wrote of the death of Anna’s infant son, born on 26 November 1877. Since Anna was buried at Clear Creek in 1888, it is possible that her son was also buried there. No identifiable stones have been found for either. [Colorado Citizen, Jan. 12,1888; 1880 census of Colorado Co., TX; family file on Clevelands in Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus, TX]
It may be that the Cleveland families have no connection with each other. Horatio J. Cleveland was born in Maryland in 1790, and his wife Cynthia Carley Cleveland was born either in Vermont or New York. Larkin Cleveland was born in Georgia; his daughter Anna was born in Mississippi. Thus it may be that the two Cleveland families may have only the burial at Clear Creek as their connection. [1850 Census and 1880 Census for Colorado Co., TX]
A family that did leave some identifiable tombstones was the Ward family. C. J. Ward was born on 4 January 1814. In 1850 he was living in Fayette County, TX with the G. Thomas family and working as a blacksmith. He was married in Fayette County, Texas, on 24 July 1851 to Mrs. Mary A. Barnett. In 1860, the C. J. Ward family was living in Colorado County where he was still working as a blacksmith. He had two other blacksmiths and an apprentice blacksmith working with him. He died on 1 January 1872 and was buried at Clear Creek. His tombstone is adorned with an open Bible and the fact that he was born in New Hampshire. The year 1872 was also the year of the death of his son, Junius P. Ward. Junius was born in Texas about 1856. A footstone has been found for him and a portion of a stone nearby has the year 1872 clearly marked. Probably this is a part of his headstone. Also buried at Clear Creek is Martha A. (Mattie) Ellis, the daughter of C. J. and Mary A. Ward. She had married Charles C. Ellis in Colorado County on 8 December 1869. Martha A. Ellis was born 14 January 1853 and died 9 May 1875. The Ellises had two children, Junius, born about 1873 and Clara, born about 1871. In 1880 the Ellises were living with Mary Ward. According to the Colorado Citizen, Charles C. Ellis married again. His second wife died in San Antonio on 25 September 1883 but was buried at Clear Creek on the 26th of September. According to the Colorado Citizen she was survived by her husband and one child; no other information was given about this Mrs. Ellis. [1850 Census for Fayette Co., TX; 1860 Census for Colorado Co., TX; Fayette Co., TX Marriage Records: 18381870, p. 7; 1880 Census of Colorado Co., TX; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Colorado Co., TX Marriage Record Book E, p. 169; Colorado Citizen, Oct. 4, 1883]
Two Barnetts are buried at Clear Creek. J. C. Barnett, who was born on 25 December, died on 24 October 1855 (?). John C. C. Barnett was the son of Joseph and Mary A.Barnett. Mary married Captain Joseph Barnett in Kentucky. From Kentucky they moved to Lexington, Missouri. Joseph Barnett died in Missouri around 1849 and the Barnett family moved to Texas from Missouri, settling in Fayette County. Mary Barnett was left with three minor sons: Charles Davenport, John C. C., and Alonzo. She soon married C. J. Ward in Fayette County on 24 Jul 1851, but it was not until 1856 that Mary Barnett Ward went to the probate court in Colorado County to be named guardian of her three sons. The other Barnett buried at Clear Creek is Dankrita Hayes Barnett, nee Jordan. She was born in Arkansas ca. 1852 and married Alonzo Barnett, the youngest son of Joseph and Mary Barnett, on 1 July 1868. The 1880 census lists three children for Alonzo and Dankrita: Willie age 11, Lula age 6, and Anna age 2. Dankrita Barnett died on 28 December 1883. [Colorado County, TX Probate Minute Book D, p. 398; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; 1880 census for Colorado County; Colorado County Marriage Book E, p. 115; 1850 census of Fayette Co., TX; 1860 census of Colorado Co., TX ; email from Kenny Wood, descendant, of Pearland, TX]
Mary Barnett Ward, who outlived two husbands, is buried in the Weimar Odd Fellows Cemetery. [Tombstone in Weimar Odd Fellows Cemetery]
In a wrought iron fenced area are buried members of the Powell family. A broken triple stone labeled to “My Darling Dead” and adorned with a rose at the top gives the names and dates of James B. Powell age 33 years who died 1 March 1864; Middia A. Powell, born December 1857 and died 8 August 1866; and James D. Powell, born 27 March 1855 and died 4 October 1867. Aside from this tombstone information, provided seemingly by the mother of the family, little is known about the Powell family that lost three of its members in a span of four years. [Tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery]
The Powell burial area is not far from the Lamkin, Rutledge, Henderson area, and it may be that Sara Jane Powell who married Albert Nelson Henderson, the son of Thomas J. and Martha Henderson, may be related to this Powell family.
Another family with scant information about their sojourn in Colorado County is the Long family. There are two Long tombstones. One is for Louisa Jane [Boren] Long who is identified on the stone as the wife of Rev. J. A. Long. The date of her birth was given as 29 Feb 1835 and the date of her death, as 12 Feb 1876. The other stone is for Abner W. Long, the son of John Almer and Louisa Jane Long. On Abner’s stone the date of his birth is given as 27 Dec 1856 and the date of his death, 11 Feb 1876. The cause of death for the two Longs is unknown. The Tennessee census records for 1850 and 1860 list J. A. Long as a farmer, but he may also have been a lay preacher. According to Ricky Long, a descendent of this Long family, the surviving family members returned to Tennessee, but two of the children Stephen Gloud Long and Susan Frances Long who married Bennett Lincoln Powers returned to Texas in the late 1880’s, at least for a few years. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Tennessee census records for Decatur and Perry counties for 1850 and 1860; email correspondence with Ricky Long, Jackson, Tennessee.]
Three members of the Whitley family are buried at Clear Creek. Hardy L. Whitley and his wife Sarah were born in North Carolina. H. L. Whitley was listed in the 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860 censuses as living in Martin County, N. C. He was also listed as one of the charter members of the Bear Grass Primitive Baptist Church in Martin Co., NC on 23 August 1828 and was chosen clerk of the church from 1845 to 1849. The A. G. Andrews family (Winifred Hyman had married Alfred Gray Andrews in Martin County, N.C.), the Kenneth Hyman family, and the Kinchen Mayo familyall living in Lavaca Countyhad come from Martin County, N.C. The Andrews and the Hyman families had also been Primitive Baptists in North Carolina. Some of the Whitleys of Martin County had married into Andrews and Hyman Families. The Cherry family and the Britton family had also lived in Martin and Pitt counties North Carolina. Whether the Whitleys came to Texas because of neighboring families is unclear, but it is a possibility. Regardless of the reason, the Whitleys came to Texas around 1874 or 1875. Sarah Whitley, the wife of Hardy L. Whitley, was born on 18 August 1809 and died in Texas on 26 August 1875. From the ages of the children, she probably married Hardy Whitley about 1831 in North Carolina. Near the stone of Sarah Whitley is one for G. W. Whitley, born 29 February 1856 and died 14 August 1875. Obviously there is a connection with Hardy L. and Sarah Whitley, but exactly how they are connected is not known. [Martin County, North Carolina census records for 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860; Colorado County, TX census 1880; tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Francis M. Manning and W. H. Booker, Religion and Education in Martin County 1774-1974 (Williamston, N. C.: Enterprise Publishing Co., 1974), pp 57-58.]
In the 1880 census of Colorado County, Hardy L. Whitley was listed as living with his son Samuel A. Whitley. The census gives the information that Hardy was seventy-five years old, born in North Carolina, and had a disabled hand. The tombstone gives his date of birth as 18 October 1804 and his death as 21 June 1881. His son Samuel Arthur Whitley, who served in Co. H, 27th North Carolina Infantry Regiment during the Civil War, is not buried at Clear Creek but at Willow Creek Cemetery in Lavaca County. [1880 Census for Colorado County, Texas; tombstone in Clear Creek Cemetery; R. E. Kelnar, The Final Muster: Lavaca County Civil War Pensioners Hallettsville, TX: Old Homestead Publishing Co.]
While the majority of the individuals buried in Clear Creek Cemetery came from the Southern states, there was one who immigrated from GermanyClemenz Boettcher. Three Boettcher brothersFrederick Wilhelm, Carl, and Clemenztheir sistersJohanna and Hellan, along with their mother and stepfather Johann A. Knipscheer, had emigrated from Prussia in October 1847. They arrived in Galveston on the Johann Dethardt in January 1848 and settled first in Fayette County, moving to Colorado County in 1860 or 1861. Clemenz August Boettcher, the son of Johanna Margerette Boettcher Knipscheer, was born on 15 October 1840 in Elberfeld, Prussia. When the Civil War started, Clemenz enlisted on 21 June 1862 in R. V. Cook’s company of Griffin’s Texas Infantry (Company D, 21 Reg’t, TX Inf.) with many others in the Clear Creek area. He probably served in a detachment of his company at the battle of Sabine Pass in which the federal ships were repulsed on 24 and 25 of September 1862. According to family lore, he received a saber wound that would not heal. Whether this is true or not is speculation, but according to his military record, he was in hospitals at Beaumont and Houston much of 1863. By April 1864 he was detached to a government tannery in San Antonio and in September 1864, he was on detached service as a teamster. He died on 18 July 1865, three months before his 25th birthday and is buried at Clear Creek under a false crypt. His mother and other Boettchers were buried in Weimar, and some eventually left the area. [Military record in National Archives; tombstone in Clear Creek; family notes from Charles and Beth Boettcher]
J. Boahmar (or Boehmer) was a music teacher from San Antonio who had taught in Oakland for several summers. He died on 20 Jul 1886 at the home of Thomas J. Rohde after a short illness. He was 79 years old. He apparently had no family with him, and he was buried in an unmarked grave at Clear Creek according to a note in the Weimar Gimlet and the Colorado Citizen. [Colorado Citizen, July 29, 1886; Weimar Gimlet]
Besides the Glaze children, a number of other families who had young children who died, buried their children in Clear Creek before the families moved away or abandoned the old cemetery. There is a large tombstone with the name Murdock McKinnon on it, but it is made of sandstone and is very difficult to read. There was a Murdock McKinnon, the son of Laughlin (misspelled as Louison in the census of 1860) and Elizabeth McKinnon, who was born on 5 Dec 1859 and died in the 1860’s (1862 according to one family member). Laughlin was a carpenter who was born in North Carolina about 1826; his wife Elizabeth was born about 1830. Their three daughters, recorded in the 1860 census, were born in Tennessee, but Murdock was born in Texas. However in the 1870 census, Elizabeth gave her birthplace as Alabama, and the places of birth for two of the daughters and the son Laughlin, Jr. as Texas. From the dates in the 1860 and 1870 censuses, the Laughlin McKinnon family came to Texas some time in the 1850’s. Laughlin and Elizabeth McKinnon are buried in the Andrews Chapel Cemetery in Lavaca County as well as their daughters who married in Lavaca County. No Murdock McKinnon is buried at Andrews Chapel Cemetery in Lavaca County. Some of the McKinnons were also located in Fayette County, and a Murdock and Neil McKinnon had a store in Lyons on the Fayette-Colorado line. This adult Murdock McKinnon who owned the store in Lyons had his name and date of death recorded in the Lyons Masonic Lodge Resolutions, but there is no evidence that he was buried at Clear Creek. [Tombstone in Clear Creek; 1860 Census of Lavaca Co., TX; 1870 Census of Lavaca Co., TX; Norman C. Krischke, Navidad Baptist Cemetery, Fayette Co., TX]
Another child buried in Clear Creek was a son of John Halbert. and Mary A. Mullin. The unnamed boy became ill at 10 A. M. on Thursday, 5 Oct and died at 1:45 A.M. on 6 Oct 1882. He was buried at 4 P. M. the same day. John Halbert Mullin was a native of Mississippi who had come to Texas in 1853 and to Oakland in 1866. He served in R. V. Cook’s Co. D, 21st Regiment, Texas Volunteer Infantry. He fought at the Battle of Sabine Pass, assisting in the capture of the federal ship Sachem, and in other battles on the Texas-Louisiana border. John H. Mullin married Mary Alice Farley in La Grange on 19 October 1870. J. H. Mullin was the owner of a grocery store in Oakland, a justice of the peace of the precinct, and a postmaster at Oakland. He and his wife Mary Alice were not buried at Clear Creek but in Weimar. [Colorado Citizen, Oct 12, 1889, Oct. 8, 1896; “Richard V. Cook and the Battle of Sabine Pass,” compiled by Ernest Mae Seaholm and Bill Stein, Nesbitt Memorail Library Journal, Vol. 1, (February 1991), p.258; tombstones in Weimar]
Another burial in Clear Creek is connected with the Mullin family. Walter Halbert and his mother Margaret Halbert came to Colorado County and the Clear Creek area probably because his uncle John Halbert Mullin lived there. After his mother died to be buried in an unidentified grave in Clear Creek, Walter Halbert left Colorado County, but he and his wife Martha and two children returned from Lee County to visit his uncle John Halbert Mullin in 1891. The Walter Halbert family eventually moved to San Antonio. ["Oakland Remarks”, Weimar Mercury, Aug. 8, 1891; 1860 census and 1870 census of Pickens Co., AL; 1880 Census of Lee Co., TX; 1900 Census of Bexar Co., TX]
Joe Pierce had two young children buried at Clear Creek. Lottie Pierce was born about 1886 and died on 17 Nov 1889 from croup, and an unnamed Pierce daughter was born on 22 Apr 1891 and died on 1 May 1891. The little girl died from trismus. [Weimar Mercury, Nov. 23, 1889; Colorado Citizen, May 7, 1891]
Not only the child but also the wife of Thomas Phillip Moore was buried at the old cemetery. Annie (Georgianna) Bowen, born about 1869, was the daughter of J. T. Bowen. They lived on the old Col. Henderson place, nine miles south of Weimar. On 21 Apr 1892, twins were born but one daughter died on 23 Apr 1892. Two days later, on 25 Apr 1892, Annie died to be buried in Clear Creek with Capt. J. M. Woolsey officiating at the funeral. [Colorado Citizen, May 5, 1892]
The identity of several individuals buried in Clear Creek shows how closely the community around Clear Creek was with relationships of family or neighbors. Thomas W. Williamson is one of these. His well-preserved stone records that he was born on 18 August 1800 and died 11 December 1866. The census records in Colorado County, Fayette County, and LaVaca County do not show any Thomas W. Williamson. However, a search for a Thomas W. Williamson who was born in 1800 does reveal one in Teladegra County, Alabama in 1850 and 1860. The 1850 census names his wife as Ruth who was born in Virginia about 1810. It also lists two childrenSophronia (age 19) and John (age16), both children born in Georgia as was their father. In 1860, Thomas W. Williamson and Ruth were still in Teladegra. Sophronia had married Joel T. Fain on 27 Oct 1852, but he had died on 29 May 1857 and she was again living with Thomas W. Williamson. The son John H. had also married and was living next door to his father. John had a wife named Frances and three childrenAlabama (age 3), Ella Linda (age 2), and Elizabeth (age 5/12). Further checking of Teladegra County records showed that Thomas W. Williamson had married first Elizabeth J. Townsend , the eldest daughter of John and Martha Townsend of Floyd Co., GA, but she died on 30 Oct 1843, and was buried in Teladegra. Thomas had then married Ruth J. Atkinson on 6 Apr 1844 in Teladegra County. Just when Thomas and Ruth Williamson moved to Texas is unclear, but after he died in 1866, Ruth married Caleb Joiner, a resident on the Clear Creek area, on 29 Oct 1868. Caleb Joiner had been married to Lucinthia Henderson Mayes (sister of Thomas Jordan Henderson and widow of J. P. Mayes). Since so many Henderson connections are buried in Clear Creek Cemetery as well as Mayes and Brown family members, it is possible that Lucinthia and Caleb Joiner are also buried there. By 1880 there is no record of Caleb Joiner, and Ruth Joiner is living with W. J. Williamson in Flatonia, Fayette County. In 1900 since there is no Ruth Joiner, born abt 1810 in Virginia, apparently she was dead. In 1870, there is a Sophronia Fain living with a William Williamson in Belmont, Gonzales Co., TX. Possibly William is a brother of Sophronia Fain. [Census records of 1850 and 1860 from Teladegra Co., AL , 1870 in Gonzales Co., TX; 1880 in Fayette Co., TX; Buna Mayes Van Hekken in letter of 1989 also assumes that Loucintha Mayes Joiner and Caleb Joiner are buried at Clear Creek; marriage records of Teladegra, AL and Colorado Co., TX; cemetery records of Teladegra Co., AL]
A small but well-preserved stone lying on the ground gives the date of birth of R. E. Nunn as 21 December 1831 and the date of death as 15 October 1861. John Benjamin Nunn married Sallie Ann Chandler on 20 Dec 1877 in Weimar, Colorado County, TX. John B. and Sallie Ann Nunn later moved to McColloch County but returned on visits to Colorado County. Whether there is a connection between R. E. Nunn and John B. Nunn or his father John R. Nunn is unknown at this time. [Tombstones in Clear Creek Cemetery; Fayette County, TX Marriage Book]
Most of the burials at Clear Creek occurred in the 19th century. However, occasionally a twentieth century burial occurred, usually because a close member of the family had been buried there. This seems to be the case of David C. Calhoun. Calhoun was born in South Carolina in January of 1832. He came to Texas in 1857 and in 1860 was living with Teresa E. Ivey. He worked as a wheel wright and carpenter. When the Civil War began, Calhoun joined Co. G of 2 TX Inf. as a private. After he was paroled on 17 Jul 1865 at Columbus, TX, he gave his residence as Lavaca County, but apparently continued to live near Oakland, TX. He married Martha Ann Conner, the daughter of Teresa Ivey, in Fayette County on 1 Jan 1865, but when it was revealed that she had not been divorced by her husband, Stephen Conner, he waited until 1866 and then married her again in Colorado County. They had two children John C. Calhoun and Mattie R. Calhoun. Martha Ivey Calhoun died before 1880, and Teresa Ivey gave her support to her son-in-law and grandchildren by taking them into her home until her death. When David Calhoun died on 17 Feb 1911, he was buried at Clear Creek. Teresa Ivey was buried at the Woolridge Cemetery, but her daughter Martha’s grave is not marked either at Woolridge Cemetery or Clear Creek. Since he was one of the few buried at Clear Creek in the twentieth century, it seems possible that his wife may have been buried there in the 1870’s when the cemetery was one of the main burial places in the area. [Colorado County, TX death certificate, Book 2, p. 42; 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 censuses of Colorado County, TX; Colorado County, TX probate records; obituary in The Mercury, Feb. 17, 1911; Fayette County, TX Marriage Records, 1838-1870; Colorado County, TX Marriage Book E, p. 46 Military records in Natioal Archives]
The 1870’s also proved to be the beginning of the end for the Clear Creek Methodist Church and the use of the cemetery. The GH&SA railroad in 1872 decided to go through the area which came to be Weimar. This decision to build the railroad connecting Houston and San Antonio to the north of Oakland effectively isolated the Clear Creek area. [Weimar Centennial Committee, Inc., Weimar, Texas; First 100 Years, 1873-1973, Austin, TX: Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1973. p. 1.]
As early as 1878 when T. J. Henderson died, the cemetery was described as being unkept. In 1885 a notice in the Colorado Citizen (Oct. 22, 1885) from J. H. James announced that on November 28, 1885 the Clear Creek church building would be sold in Weimar for cash to the highest bidder. This decision to sell the building brought complaints from people in the Clear Creek area, primarily from those who had “loved ones buried at the Clear Creek grave-yard.” The article continued, “Some seem to think that is almost sacrilege to sell that old church that has stood there for so many years as a monument to the memory of those who founded itall of whom, with few exceptions, are taking their eternal sleep, and their bones lie mouldering almost within the evening shade of the old church, and insist that it’s better to let follow its followers and mingle its dust with its founders.” The matter seemingly was settled when a letter from Presiding Elder C. H. Baccus of the Methodist Quarterly Conference to J. H. James arrived. Elder Baccus said that the “Quarterly Conference was the sole authority in such matters.” He added, “If I remember rightly, the Quarterly Conference ordered it sold, and appointed you their agent to sell…No one has right to stop, or forbid the sale.” On 26 November 1885, however, was the announcement that at the quarterly meeting of the Methodist Church the order to sell the old Clear Creek church was revoked since there had been so much opposition to the destruction of the historic building. But within eight months another notice appeared. From the Oakland Notes in the Colorado Citizen on July 22, 1886 was the following notice: “The old Clear Creek church, that was built some thirty years ago, through the aid of some of the first settlers of this section, has been torn down and moved to this place. All the material, that is of worth, will be used in building the Methodist church at Oakland.” [Colorado Citizen, Oct. 22, 1885; Oct. 29, 1885; Nov. 19, 1885; Nov 26, 1885, July 22, 1886.]
As Weimar continued to grow with the railroad, not only Clear Creek but also Oakland went into decline.
Eventually Methodists from Clear Creek and Oakland transferred to Weimar. In the booklet “Methodism in Weimar: 1874-1974” complied by Catherine Gunn and Jack Montgomery, a list of members of the Clear Creek Church and the Oakland Church from 1879-1890 were given as follows:
James, Thomas H.
Laidly, G. E.
Pierce, G. C.
Clear Creek Members:
Barnett, H. D.
Burnett, W. H.
Burnett, F. B.
Crenshaw, Mary A.
Hollingsworth, R. B.
Hall, Frank M.
Jordan, J. W.
Payne, Basha (Basheba Winifredwife of Josiah F. Payne)
Payne, Sallie (wife of Don F. Payne)
Payne, (booklet says Cone, but it should be Ioneeldest daughter of Josiah Payne)
Taylor, James P.
Taylor, N. C. (Nannie C. Windrow Taylor)
Whittington, J. C.
Whittington, Mary J.
A number of the surnames in these two lists correspond with the names of some buried at Clear Creek.
Finally some of the annual reports of the Methodist Church provide the names of some of the early ministers who served the Navidad Circuit which included the Clear Creek Church.
1855---Allen M. Box
1856---Allen M. Box
1857---Charles J. Lane
1858---Quin M. Menifee
1859---Charles W. Thomas
1860---C. W. Thomas
1861---Chas. J. Lane
1862---C. J. Lane
1864---to be supplied
1866---C. W. Thomas
1867---C. W. Thomas
1868---A. L. P. Green
1869---C. J. Lane
1870---J. W. B. Allen
1873---to be supplied
1875---P. B. Saffold
Also provided in the annual reports were the number of white members, white probationary members, colored members, colored probationary members, and the number of local preachers. The numbers apply to the Navidad Circuit and not just the Clear Creek Church, but after 1877, the Navidad Circuit is no longer listed.
White Mem.; White Prob.Mem.; Colored Mem; Colored Prob; Local Pr.
1855: 64; 34; ; ; 3
1856: 145; 88; 32; 25; 5
1857: 145; 91; 27; 45; 3
1858: 129; 64; 12; 42
1859: 200; 120
1860: 228; 129; 15; 3
1861: 169; 55; 69; 55; 5
1862: 200; 140
1863: 397; 221
1864: 202; 90
1867: 260; 4
1868: 205; 3
1869: 322; 3
1870: 249; 5
1871: 250; 4
1872; 209; 2
1874: 102; 1
Ernest Mae Seaholm researched each of the families in this cemetery and self-published her information in Clear Creek Cemetery, Colorado Co., TX in 2007. Additional information was included in a second edition, edited by Corky and Joye Johnson in 2009. Judy Talkington is the current historian for the cemetery. If you have any corrections, additions or obituaries pertaining to this cemetery, please contact the county coordinator or Judy Talkington.
A 2005 cemetery clean up day
Left to right: Joseph Senn, Cindy Senn, Patricia Lucas, Ron Lucas
MERCURY REPORTER VISITS AN OLD OLD CEMETERY
A Mercury reporter last Sunday afternoon took It upon himself to pay a visit to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, cemeteries of this section--the Clear Creek Cemetery, located some six or seven miles southwest of Weimar. At one time this cemetery was fairly well kept, but of late years It has not been so well cared for. This cemetery is located on land donated for the purpose in the early sixties by the Ward family (C. J. and Mary A. Ward), both now numbered among the dead. Land for a church was also donated about the same time, and at one time a church edifice stood upon the property, but same was removed many years ago.
This cemetery is still used for burial purposes by several families of the south end of the county. As stated, this cemetery was established in the early sixties, and a walk. among the graves reveals wherein lies the remains of many who passed away some sixty-five to seventy years ago--familiar names, too, of many of the early settlers of this section. Some of these who passed over the river In the long ago, we noted from headstone inscriptions, were born as early as 1800 and 1801.
Many of these graves are surrounded by sandstone slabs used in the form of bricks, and surmounted by a marble slab containing the name of the deceased. These marble slabs and sandstone foundation show but little wear and tear of the elements, even after so long a time. Some of the headstones at the graves are simple pieces of sandstone, roughly inscribed with the name, most of them now being almost illegible. In one instance a rough attempt was made to build a concrete headpiece, but this is now crumbling into fine particles. Many of the sandstone headpieces have been displaced by stock breaking into the cemetery, and all trace of the grave has disappeared. We are told that it is not an unusual thing for the grave diggers to discover they have dug into an old grave.
A spot was pointed out where it is said the first person was buried in this cemetery. It was also stated that a cedar tree was planted at the spot--near the center of the cemetery. At this location are to be found two giant cedar trees, the like of which are not to be found anywhere in this section. Much brush and undergrowth are to be found in this cemetery, which if cleared out and burned, would make the old Clear Creek Cemetery a much nicer and more inviting looking place.
One of the curiosities noted in this city of the dead was a homemade fencea fence hand carved and fitted together without nails. Caving in of the earth and depredations of stock have broken down this meritorious piece of hand-work, but pieces of same still remain in a perfect state of preservation. The pieces forming the fence were originally hand-carved, as you might call it, and in putting the long pieces into the corners the corner had a diamond-shaped piece chiseled out and into this the long piece of fencing was driven; afterward an auger bored a hole through the corner piece and into the plank, into which hole a wooden peg was driven, the whole forming a substantial fence built without the sign of a nail. Pieces of this fence are still in evidence and are as substantial today as they were fifty to sixty years ago. In fact one piece handled by the writer appeared to be petrified, so solid and substantial was it even after this long lapse of time. The wooden pegs, except where portions of same are exposed to the weather, are as “tough as nails” even to this good day. To see and study this fence--put together without the use of a nail--is alone worth a trip to this old cemetery.
It is an interesting study to visit this city of the dead, and although it is not the first visit of the writer, yet on each successive visit he sees many new things of interest.
Weimar Mercury, April 5, 1926, page 1