Old Catholic Cemeteries

Yesterday was certainly the most active Christmas I’d spent in a long time. That’s great, because going on walks with my kids is among the greatest pleasures in my life. I love listening to them talk about their lives, about local history, and about the plants and animals we see along the way.

Another beautiful old stone, right next to what appears to be an old windmill, which was converted to a bathroom, Not a nice one, according to my kids.

The house we are staying in has views of the local Catholic cemetery, past the radio station. So, while our turkey was cooking, we took a walk over to see it. There were many, many headstones in the local granite, so the colors were nice. There obviously weren’t too many Catholic families, since certain names repeated often, such as Klein. There were many, many Klein graves.

Many of the beautiful grave markers in this cemetery are in German.

There was a very large section of children’s graves, which made me sort of sad. You could tell when that flu epidemic occurred in the early 1900s. Declan and Rylie took a lot of artistic photos of each other, which is a charming thing they like to do. Kynan had gone running, which is also a thing he likes to do, but he joined us at the end.

A future bluebonnet coming up between stones.

I can’t share the picture, but on Pinterest there’s a photo of this cemetery in the springtime that calls it the happiest cemetery in the world. It is totally covered with bluebonnets.

Another, Much Older, Cemetery

Kynan (he’s my high-school teacher son) was excited about a very old cemetery he had passed on his run, so right at sunset the kids and I decided to talk down there. That was very brave of me, since my feet were complaining from the 6 miles they walked the day before. Anita stayed in the house for that reason.

This guy was deeply disappointed that I had no treats in my pockets.

We were glad we went, because the road to the cemetery was beautiful and went past both old and new houses, plus cute li’l animals, like Mr. Goat, photographed above. There were also three donkeys, but I felt bad for them, since they really had sad feet and needed a farrier. We also saw lots of healthy deer that seem to have made it through deer season so far.

There were lots of Heinemann graves. I also love that fence.

The cemetery, located on Memory Lane, was the Pioneer Catholic Cemetery, where many of the graves were of people born in Germany, and most of the original stones were in German. Someone has lovingly added more modern stones with the names and dates on them, which makes them easier to read. Here is a list of everyone in it from 2005 that talks about the fact that the new markers were being added, and has pictures of every grave. Dang. Someone cares about graves.

An example of how the old graves have new markers on top, and the interesting notes.

I was curious about the Catholic settlers. I had thought most of the Germans who came over in the 1800s were Lutherans. Then, I thought maybe some of them came to more easily practice Catholicism than where they came from.

Well, they were here first. And eventually, a treaty was signed that was never broken.

So, I actually looked up the history and sure enough, a large part of the original settlers were cultural elites fleeing the current situation in Germany, while others were working-class people looking for land.

I found out that the founder of this town also founded New Braunsfeld, and built a road between the two Germanic towns. It must have been very interesting in the 1800s, where the settlers worked side by side with Native Americans, fought over slavery amongst themselves, and pretty much had to be self sufficient.

I liked the flowers on this one, as well as the fact that you have to calculate thebirth and death years.

Thanks for reading along. I really enjoy looking up the history behind things I see as I wander around Texas and places beyond. I look forward to more in the new year!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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