Tag Archives: family history

Continuing The Visit

Just to give you an idea of the area of the state we were covering here is an image of the page in The Roads of Texas – 5th Edition map book I use to travel our state…

So, now that we have visited Friendship and Bryant Station it’s time to try and find McCann Cemetery. McCann is the only one of the cemeteries on our list that is not marked at the road. Since it’s been over a decade since we last visited it, I was worried we might have trouble finding the cemetery. Once we got close though, my memories from that earlier visit snapped into focus on the landscape of the day and I new where we were.

McCann Cemetery

The drive into McCann is actually across a private field. It’s nothing more than two dirt tracks through some very high grass. It makes you hope you aren’t mistaken and trespassing on someones private land. Through two unmarked field gates, across a dry creek and around a stand of trees you travel before you actually see the cemetery…

Doing some research on this cemetery I have discovered that it is thought to have once been in Bell County before the borders of the counties shifted. It is said most of the folks buried here are thought to have lived around Rogers, Texas in that county.

There are five graves here that interest us. Two belong to Sherry’s Great Great Grandparents Louis and Betti Tippit. Louis was killed while breaking horses at Bryant Station in 1885. Betti died nine years later and their three daughters went to live with Bettie’s brother Redden Johnson who was running a hotel in Buckholts at the time.

The third grave we are sure of is where Josie Bell Bales was laid to rest in 1914 at the age of two. She was Sherry’s Grandaunt. The story is that she ate a green pecan and died of the poison.

The final two graves here are not known to be of her family, but the name of the two boys buried here is the same as a family name that is rare in this part of the country, so they are probably related, just unproven at this point.

As with the other cemeteries we visited, the wildflowers were in magnificent bloom here. Since we were here the last time someone has been busy cleaning and clearing. When we were last here Josie Bell was almost covered with overgrown bushes. I was almost not able to find the grave up against the fence…Today the cemetery is clear and cleaned…Peaceful and beautiful…

The shot above isn’t of Sherry’s relatives, just a general shot of some of the early graves at McCann Cemetery.

McCann Cemetery Listing

Minerva Community Cemetery

It was time to head for the Minerva Cemetery and Sherry’s Grandparents and Step-Father’s resting place. All of the cemeteries we had visited so far had been on Sherry’s Dad’s side of the family, now we were switching over to her Mom’s side. Sherry’s Uncle Jackie take care of the upkeep on this one so after our visit we were planning to swing by and visit for a while before heading toward Brenham for the night.

Minerva, Texas is where Sherry spent a bit of time growing up. Minerva is like a whole lot of small towns in Texas…It once was larger than it is now…

MINERVA, TEXAS. Minerva is on U.S. Highway 77 six miles south of Cameron in central Milam County. It was named for Minerva Adeline Sanders, who donated land for a railroad station when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway built through the area in 1891. A post office opened in 1892. A shallow oilfield was discovered near Minerva in 1921, prompting a small boom; oil production peaked in 1927, with a gross yield of 455,985 barrels for the year. Though the oilfield continued to support a small refining operation, Minerva remained a largely agricultural community. The town lost its rail service in 1959, when the Texas and New Orleans abandoned the section of track between Cameron and Giddings. The Minerva post office was discontinued in the mid-1960s. Two churches and three businesses marked the community on county highway maps in the 1980s, when the population was reported as sixty. It was still reported as sixty through 2000.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Margaret Eleanor Lengert, The History of Milam County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1949). Milam County Heritage and Preservation Society, Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/hnm48.html (accessed April 28, 2010).

The shadows were beginning to get long when we pulled up here…

But, again, the peaceful setting, the freshly painted fences, the wildflowers blooming…All demanded we spend time wandering through the whole cemetery and not just visiting Sherry’s family.

After a bit of walking the heat of the day was starting to become a bit much so we headed for the car. I had to stop and snap a shot that I first snapped over thirty years ago when I was first here for Sherry’s Step-father’s funeral before we were married…

We headed for Sherry’s Uncle’s house for a visit. That is when we heard that Sherry’s cousin had been up in Milam County that day doing the same thing we were. Visiting cemeteries…Visiting ancestors…We also were told about the last cemetery…One we didn’t know about before that point where Sherry’s Great Grandparents were buried…Since it was getting late and we really wanted to see this cemetery we had been unaware of, we said our goodbyes, received directions, and hit the road one more time…

San Andres Cemetery

On the map this cemetery is called San Andres. Sherry’s Uncle called it Lebanon. No mater what it’s called it looks as though it’s just been found and is being reclaimed from the woods that grew up around it. But find it we did…And it was before the light was completely gone…

So The trip was a success all around. We found all of the places we were looking for, added a new site to our list of places to visit whenever we are in the area, and enjoyed a beautiful late spring day in the country. Blue skies, wildflowers and spring greenery…What more could a person ask for on a road trip?

Visiting The Past

This past week my wife expressed a desire to visit the cemeteries where ancestors are resting up around Milam County in central Texas. Since the weekend was one of the few our daughter was off (thus no need for babysitter Paw-paw), I suggested we enjoy the the last of the wildflowers and a beautiful late spring/early summer day in the country. So Saturday morning I shut down the computer, loaded the car and we hit the road.

It was a gorgeous Texas day of blue skies and greenery everywhere. The bluebonnets of a few weeks ago in Austin County were mostly gone by now. The same could be said of Washington County. But the further north we went, the more flowers we were seeing in the fields and meadows. By the time we made Milam county we were back in the flowers of spring.

One of the things that we both noticed was how green the entire area looked. All of our trips in the past have been later in the season and the predominate color we both remembered was the brown of seared grasses. This year, with the decade long drought having broken, the green of the grass was almost blinding in it’s brightness.

Friendship Methodist Cemetery

Our first stop was to visit the little church cemetery where her father and his family are buried, Friendship Methodist Church Cemetery (FM 1915).

FRIENDSHIP, TEXAS (Milam County). Friendship is on Farm Road 1915 eight miles east of Davilla in western Milam County. W. T. Walker established a Methodist church at Friendship in 1872. Its congregation met in a log schoolhouse until 1884, when a church building was constructed on land donated by Edward Wesley Graham. The Friendship schools were consolidated with the Sharp school district in 1948. In 1988 the church and cemetery marked the Friendship community on county highway maps.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Milam County Heritage Preservation Society, Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/FF/htf8.html (accessed April 27, 2010).

As we wandered around visiting the graves of Sherry’s various relatives here, I was taken with the peaceful beauty of the setting here. It always hit me the same way whenever we visit this cemetery. Walking in the gate, this is the view that we saw…

After spending our time here, it was time to go exploring. Our first stop was to be Bryant Station Cemetery.

Bryant Station Cemetery

BRYANT STATION, TEXAS. Bryant Station was on the Little River twelve miles west of the site of present Cameron in northwestern Milam County. It was established by Benjamin F. Bryant in 1840 as a fort to protect settlers from Indians. The village that grew up around the fort thrived because of its location on the Marlin-to-Austin stage line and gradually became a commercial center for the region. The post office at Bryant Station was established and discontinued several times between 1848 and 1876; it was known as the Blackland post office from 1874 to 1876. When the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway was built through the area in 1881, it missed the community by three miles. Bryant Station faded, and Buckholts became the new social and commercial center. A historical marker was erected at the Bryant Station site in 1936. By the 1940s two cemeteries and a few scattered houses were all that marked the community on county highway maps. The Bryant Station school was consolidated with the Buckholts district in 1941.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lelia M. Batte, History of Milam County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956). Milam County Heritage Preservation Society, Matchless Milam: History of Milam County (Dallas: Taylor, 1984).

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. “,” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/BB/hvb98.html (accessed April 27, 2010).

The last time we went hunting for this cemetery we couldn’t find it. So as we drove the gravel roads of the area  decided to do a very un-Gary thing and ask directions. We pulled up to a farm house well back off the road and questioned the young farm wife planting flowers in the yard as her farmer husband was riding a tractor in the field behind the house. She kindly directed us down the road to the gate where we found the small sigh marking the drive back to the cemetery. Along the way we bypassed the old suspension bridge across the Little River. The last time we were in the area, this was the bridge we used to cross the river…

This time there is a new modern bridge to the upstream side of the old 1909 bridge. Though the very fact that they left the old bridge standing says something about the Counties historical mindset. Both ends of the bridge are now blocked to allow for pedestrians only. Even then it is hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that automobiles and trucks still used this as their means of crossing the river.

To the best of our knowledge at the time, none of Sherry’s relatives are buried there. Though Bryant Station was settled and named for the brother of her Great-Great Grandmother.

The Bryant Station Cemetery is located down a dirt track off a gravel road just north of the Little River (CR 106). Much of the cemetery is overgrown with tombstones poking above the greenery. When we parked in the tall grass we were greeted with this site…

Here is another peaceful site. Butterflies, wildflowers, old roses and birdsong were all around you. The warmth of the day was moderated by the cool breeze blowing through the trees around the site. We spent most of an hour wandering through the flowers as we read the inscriptions on the stones  that were still legible. It was a great way to spend a spring afternoon.

Bryant Station Cemetery Listing

I”ll leave our weekend here and continue the story tomorrow…

Cross posted at Boyd-Family.net

After the rains…

Houston ChronicleImage via Wikipedia

The weather here has been very dry…at least until the past week or so. We have been having a spring-like amount of rain. After complaining for so long about the lack, it seems almost sacrilegious to say anything about the water we needed so bad.

After months of not having to mow on a weekly basis around here we need to mow now badly. There is a problem though…Mosquitoes. After so many months of little free moisture in the environment, I had forgotten what it was like to live with the little beasts all summer long. The last couple of days every time you walk out the door you will be covered with hundreds of the bloodsucking, itch inducing little devils.

Lest I seem unappreciative, I am extremely happy to suddenly find myself, at the end of August, looking out the window at what at least looks like spring. The grass and trees that were looking brown and bedraggled in June and July suddenly are green and vibrant. As Leon Hale, our local institution, wrote in today’s Houston Chronicle

Living up here in the woods all summer, as I’ve told you, is an experiment, to see if maybe we’d like to stay permanently. And I have to tell you that it hasn’t been a bushel of fun because the weather’s been so dry and the heat has been withering.

Then last week we started grinning again about being here. We didn’t get all the rain we wanted, but we’re grateful for what we got. It came in a beautiful way, slow and gentle, and the earth soaked up every drop.

Almost overnight the woods and all the growing things have turned green again, instead of looking thirsty and in pain.

After a rain that broke a long dry spell, our Uncle Billy used to sit on a country porch a lot like this one and he’d say if you pay close attention you could hear the ground breathing. Sighing, is what he meant. But he wouldn’t use a girly word like sigh.

I know what he meant. The earth giving up sighs of relief and pleasure, receiving welcome moisture. I’m not sure I can hear it but I can feel it, and so could you if you were here on the front porch.

Leon Hale: Record keeping has gone high tech | Lifestyle/Features | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

I also read this morning that now is the time to see hummingbirds if you live around here…

Beginning in late July and going through October, ruby-throated hummingbirds congregate along the Gulf Coast to build up body fat before heading to Latin America. Their numbers peak in September as females and juveniles join the males that arrived first.

“Essentially, all the ruby-throated hummingbirds that breed in the eastern half of the United States and Canada, estimated at a population of 7.3 million individuals, migrate along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico each fall,” says John Arvin, research biologist for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory.

So now is the best time to watch for the little beauties, the males with bright red throats, the females with gray throats, and sub-adult males with a hint of red on their gray throats. At our home, we’ve already had three males. Arvin tells us there are probably three or four birds for every one bird we see.

Now is the time to see hummingbirds | Lifestyle/Features | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

Personally, I have never had a lot of luck around here with feeders for any kind of birds. There is just too much naturally occurring food available for them to entice them to a feeding station…Even in the depth of winter. For years I tried feeding. All it ever accomplished was planting a bunch of bird seed…Which had a bad habit of actually growing. So finally, I just quit trying and began enjoying the birds as they ate what was actually already growing.

On another note…I am still working on my online presence. Consolidating my numerous  websites into a easier to manage whole. So if you don’t here from me for days on end…That’s the reason.

My work in progress right now is boyd-family.net, my genealogy and family history site. If you visit =, please forgive the broken links and dust as I figure out another publishing system…

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