Tombstones for Christopher Osborne(1785 NC – 1854 AL) and his wife Catherine Furr Osborne (1786 NC – 1867 AL) at the Valley Creek Cemetery near Selma, Dallas County, Alabama
(one of my favorite cemetery visits ever)
from the East Texas Piney Woods–
Pines in New Prospect Cemetery
Rusk County, Texas
More from my trip to East Texas
Mary Landrum Ballenger’s mother is probably also buried here but her grave is not marked. She came to Texas with her daughter and son-in-law about 1855. Her husband had died in Tennessee in 1826.
This week’s Genea-Bloggers prompt is to take a genealogical day trip and blog about it.
As it happens, I was lucky enough to take a small road trip last week with my brother. I flew into Houston Hobby and he and I headed to East Texas for a day and a half. As we drove, we reminisced about the last time we’d been to East Texas together. It must have been over 50 years ago as he was a baby and I was about 7. I reminded him that he threw up bacon in the back seat of the car–you know he loves having an older sister with such a good memory. Our great aunt and uncle had a new Mercury (the back window rolled down) and they took our family of five with them to visit relatives in Palestine in Anderson County, Texas, and who knows where else. I do remember stopping at at an artist’s home in Weatherford and meandering through their garden (with real live goldfish in their pond!) while Aunt Eva visited inside. A little surfing reveals that this must have been the Chandor Gardens, recently restored and re-opened in Weatherford. And I also remember the dogwood trees in bloom–my “scorched earth” Texas panhandle eyes had never beheld anything so glorious.
Traveling through East Texas in January isn’t as glorious, but it was still a meaningful journey. Much of our family was in East Texas early. This trip I was chasing Mitchells. I’ve written about my 2nd great-grandfather John B. Cooper who perished in the Civil War, along with 3 of his brothers. My 2nd great-grandmother, his wife, was Mary Mitchell. I knew her father’s name was Ephraim M., and her mother was Rebecca Jones. And I believe I have finally determined that Ephraim’s father was John Mitchell, who died in Mexico during the Mexican War. I’ve recently gone back through some family letters another researcher shared with me and have been able to make some connections that I wanted to explore further.
I had a photocopy of a photograph of Rebecca’s tombstone from Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Shelby County, Texas. It looked huge. When I actually located it, it was a very small stone, only about 18″ high. It was about 5:30 pm when we finally made it to the cemetery, and the sun was setting. The pictures are back lit by the setting sun, but I managed to get decent shots.
The cemetery is a mixture of really old graves and new ones. It is behind a country church–we passed lots of those in East Texas–and it is evidently still in use. There is contact information posted on the gate.
In a day when people freak out about the lack of privacy because of the Internet, I thought it was interesting that these folks have their names and phone numbers posted right up front.
The church looked well kept–I’d like to know how many folks attend on Sunday morning.
I’d also like to know if this is a church where my family attended. Rebecca is buried here with one of her younger daughters and her family. I don’t know if this means that Rebecca was living with them at the end of her life and so that’s where she was buried, or if they all lived in this neighborhood and that’s the reason she is buried at Pleasant Grove. Another big hole left by the lack of the 1890 census records. Finding a larger “Mitchell” plot was helpful in locating Rebecca’s marker. She is buried near-by–that’s her marker on the right in the foreground.
Laura L. Mitchell and her husband David Holland Mitchell are buried in the Mitchell plot. (Laura L. Mitchell married David Holland Mitchell, creating a little Mitchell confusion for me for a while. I still don’t know if David H. was a distant cousin or not.) Laura is the daughter of Ephraim and Rebecca.
The light was golden and I had to concentrate to remember that it was 2009 and I was in a country cemetery in East Texas. This sense of being transported happens to me in cemeteries–I don’t know what it is. But there’s never enough time to stay and figure out what’s going on.
Rest in Peace.
From my recent trip to East Texas, the tombstone of
Rebecca B. Jones Mitchell (1819 TN – 1898 TX)
married to Ephraim M. Mitchell (1814 TN – after 1875, before 1880 TX)
(where is Ephraim buried?)
buried at Pleasant Grove Cemetery
outside of Center, Shelby County, Texas
I broke all my own research rules today. I didn’t call ahead, I forgot that “the courthouse burned,” and I got there late.
By not calling ahead, I didn’t find out that the County Clerk’s office was not in the court house, but in a nearby building. It didn’t take too long to find the Clerk’s office, but we had gotten there late. (In my defense, I did check the GenWeb site and Handybook, but obviously didn’t see the info about the offsite Clerk’s office.)
Let’s back up a bit. My non-genie, though interested, brother offered to go on a short road trip with me to East Texas. He kept saying he needed a break, and so here we are. I’ve just spent the last 4 weeks on the computer day and night getting a class I’m teaching online refined and uploaded, and it started Tuesday. I was due a little break, but working on the class meant I didn’t get to do my usual “up front” prep. I flew to Houston this morning and we “flew” north, via his Jeep Cherokee, as soon as I landed. That meant we didn’t get to Center, county seat of Shelby County, until about 3:30.
When we got over to the actual County Clerk’s office, when I asked to look for a marriage record from 1857, I was met with “The courthouse burned in 1883 and all those records are gone so we won’t have anything like that.” Yikes. Had I done a better job of preparing, I would have remembered this fact. I believe it’s the reason I’ve never found a marriage record for my 3rd great-grandparents, John B. Cooper and Mary E. Mitchell. I did retain my cool enough to ask if any of the records had been recreated, and she indicated that some had been re-registered. Short story, the place was packed to the gills with landmen doing oil and gas work, but I shouldered my way in and looked in the indexes. I was able to find the re-registration of an 1860 deed when 4th great-grandfather Job Cooper sold 218 acres of his original 640 acre headright. Of course, I ‘d like to know what happened to the rest of the land, but that’s for another “mission.” He sold the land June 1860, which does give me a date of removal from Shelby County to Johnson County, and the deed was re-filed 1889. I had a bit of a tussel with one of the young women who worked in the office–there was no sign saying copying stopped at 4:00 and I evidently missed the deadline by a couple of minutes. She was balancing her checkbook when she turned around and told me about the deadline. I had not seen a posted notice, and, swallowing my pride, went up to her desk and asked her very nicely if she would copy one page since I was from out of state and would not be back tomorrow. She agreed. Not cheerfully, but she did it.
Then we went out to Pleasant Grove Cemetery, where Mary E. Mitchell’s mother is buried. Of course we took the wrong road out of town and had to turn around, but MapQuest finally came through. (Did I forget to mention that my iPhone said it was fully charged this morning but was in fact, on the last dregs of the battery?) The photocopy of the photograph I have of her tombstone makes it look very large, when, in fact, it is very small. My brother was sure we could make some money mapping those cemeteries–it’s been fun “educating” him to the ways of genealogists and court house personnel. So I can post the photo on Tombstone Tuesday one of these days.
Right now, I’m beat, and have to rest up for my foray to the Rusk County courthouse tomorrow. John Mitchell’s probate from 1848 is supposedly on file despite “central business district” fire in 1860.
With fingers crossed . . .
This is a map from the Savannah Memorial Cemetery in Rosemead, California.
The yellow highlighted portion at the left shows the burial site of Martha Jane Ball Cromwell, (1858 IA – 1938 CA).
She does not have a tombstone. Another thing on my “to do” list.
Next month is my birthday, maybe this goes on my wish list.
You can read more about her on this blog or at www.findagrave.com.