Banner Photograph of BRAD CEMETERY - Highway 180 West of Palo Pinto. Taken by Judith Richards Shubert 2009.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Will of Mr. Farmer - Lingleville, Texas

West End Cemetery

A lot of the childhood memories I have took place near the small, neatly manicured cemetery of West End in the tiny, dairy community of Lingleville in Erath County, Texas. When my father remarried after having been left with three small daughters to raise with the help of my mother’s immediate family, we spent half of our time in the little frame and rock house that resides beside this still used cemetery which is so typical of the ones you find in this part of my home state.

We spent many hours “visiting” the dead, carefully tiptoeing past the headstones, and depending on the time of day or night, marking our escape route with wary eye as we dared one another to go to the far end at the top of the hill. As we grew to adulthood we enjoyed watching our children enjoy the same fascination with our childhood playground.

I don’t remember any of us being disrespectful. It was a natural thing to do – walking and playing in the cemetery. Every visit to the “home place” is punctuated with time taking a leisurely walk, traveling the same path we once took as children. And now the grandchildren are the ones running from stone to stone, reading the inscriptions and calling out to one another to hurry.

This Thanksgiving as my sisters and I joined the grandchildren in the afternoon we saw a memorial we had not noticed. How we missed it before is a mystery. We read it and laughed as we remembered the gentleman whose life it spoke of. I will not share the names and dates on the gravestone since one of them is not deceased, but I wanted to share the epitaph with you here.


I leave:
To my wife, my overdraft at the bank – maybe she can explain it.

To my banker, my soul – he has the mortgage on it anyway.

To my neighbor, my clown suit – he’ll need it if he continues to farm as he has in the past.

To the ASCS, my grain bin – I was planning to let them take it next year anyway.

To the county agent, 50 bushels of corn to see if he can hit the market – I never could.

To the junk man, all my machinery – he’s had his eye on it for years.

To my undertaker, a special request – I want six implement and fertilizer dealers for my pallbearers, they are used to carrying me.

To the weatherman, rain and sleet and snow for the funeral, please – no sense in having good weather now.

To the grave digger – don’t bother, the hole I’m in should be big enough.

All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert
at West End Cemetery, Lingleville, Erath Co., Texas Copyright 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More from Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood County, Texas

June 25, 1894 – Aug. 8, 1917
“Darling we miss you.
God calls away when He thinks best.”

dau of
Born July 9, 1908 – Died Feb. 7, 1909
“Weep not, papa and mamma, for me.
For I’m waiting in Heaven for Thee.”

4-14-1859 – 11-25-1913
“Gone but not Forgotten”

Ollie, wife of H. L. HASTINGS
Born Sept. 22, 1881 – Died May 3, 1909
“Rest on, Rest on, in Peaceful Rest,
Eternal Life God Gave
Where Friends with Sorrow Ore The Wept
When you they had __________."

Born Feb. 14, 1901 – Died Aug 5, 1919
“At Rest”

Born July 12, 190(2) – Died Oct. 13, 1927
“Asleep in Jesus”

Ollie Hastings, Guy Wallace Hastings and Ola Mae Shack were side by side in the same area.

May 7, 1936 – May 16, 1936
“Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven

You can see the footstone that has the initials CLH.

All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert
at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood Co., Texas Copyright 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Masons, Order of the Eastern Star & Woodmen of the World

Mount Pleasant Cemetery is located at latitude - longitude coordinates (also known as lat-long or GPS coordinates) of N 32.36653 and W -97.8692. The nearest town is
Tolar, Texas and the nearest major town is Granbury, Hood county seat.

My brother-in-law’s parents are buried in this cemetery so I decided to begin my Covered Bridges research with Mount Pleasant.

Shubert and I chose a beautiful, sunny day to explore the tiny cemetery and before we were through we had shed our jackets and the cool weather we Texans have been having lately seemed to disappear! We traveled south on Hwy. 377 from Granbury towards Stephenville, and just outside of the little community of Tolar we turned left onto Powell Cemetery Road. The cemetery is on Brushy Road which turns left off of Powell. You can see the cemetery from Powell Cemetery Road and it is surrounded by a sturdy fence with beautiful oaks and cedar trees.

The large gates used for vehicle access are padlocked and at first I thought I was not going to be able to go inside; however, after closer inspection I found a smaller gate. I found some vandalism but overall the cemetery looked like it was well taken care of.

Upon entering the cemetery through the second gate on Brushy Road I could see my brother-in-law’s parents’ double headstone to the left.

June 18, 1908 – May 10, 1992
Married June 3, 1938

Aug. 29, 1917 – Jan 17, 1992

has Masonic Square and Compasses symbol indicating that Baylor Pruett, Sr. was a member of the Freemasons. There is also an Order of the Eastern Star symbol under each of their names. My sister told me they were both members of the Eastern Star.

The Square and Compasses (a square and a set of compasses joined together) is the most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect's tools, and are used in Masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. According to Wikipedia some Lodges and rituals explain these symbols as lessons in conduct: for example, Masons should "square their actions by the square of virtue" and learn to "circumscribe their desires and keep their passions within due bounds toward all mankind". However, as Freemasonry is non-dogmatic, there is no general interpretation for these symbols that is used by Freemasonry as a whole. As measuring instruments, the tools represent judgment and discernment.

The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world that both men and women can join. It was established in 1850 by Rob Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts who had been an official with the Freemasons. It is based on teachings from the Bible, but is open to people of all monotheistic faiths. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately one million members under its General Grand Chapter. Members of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Originally, a woman would have to be the daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a master Mason, but the Order now allows other relatives.

Nov. 17, 1844 – Nov. 25, 1922
“Gone but not forgotten”

Tombstone also has the Freemasonry Symbol at the top.

Also listed in Civil War Military Veterans of Hood County by Virginia Hale:

Swaim, Thomas J.
CIVIL WAR Veteran of Hood County
Born 11/17/1844 in Georgia
Died 11/25/1922
Buried Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood County, Texas

The most unusual monument was the one for Civil War Veteran, Levi Gifford (His tombstone is the very large unusual monument not too far from 1st gate.) He was also a Mason. The Square and Compasses symbol is at the top of the arch.

Born Apr. 9, 1839 – Died November 1, 1916

Born Jan. 2, 1841 – Nov. 25, 1916
“Earth has no Sorrow that Heaven cannot Heal”

Also listed in Civil War Military Veterans of Hood County by Virginia Hale:
Gifford, Levi
CIVIL WAR Veteran of Hood County
Born 04/09/1839 in Tennessee
Died 11/01/1916
Buried Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood County, Texas

Nov. 4, 1873 – Dec. 5, 1918
“At Rest”

This monument indicates that S. L. Fowler was a member of Woodmen of the World, the largest fraternal benefit society with open membership in the United States. Woodmen of the World was founded in 1890 by Joseph Cullen Root in Omaha, Nebraska.

According to their website, the Woodmen of the World provides life insurance protection to members. Root believed that Woodmen of the World members, through their local lodges, should be an active volunteer force within their communities, helping those in need. One of the founder's objectives was to provide a decent burial for all members.

Woodmen of the World Markers Vary

According to their website, “Woodmen gravestones vary greatly in size and shape. Some resemble a tree stump, others a stack of cut wood. There are elaborate hand-carved monuments, simple stone markers and stake-type markers driven into the ground. Woodmen gravestones were originally intended to be a uniform design sent by the Home Office to local stonecutters, but not all the cutters followed the design. Some used their own interpretation of the Woodmen design which they felt was more appropriate.

The result was a wide range of designs that reflected members' personal tastes and included elements that were symbolic of Woodmen ceremonies or rituals. A tree stump, part of the Society's logo, is the most common symbol used on gravestone designs. Many stand approximately four to five feet high.

Over the years, the once popular gravestones have become a rarity. Woodmen gravestones are still scattered in cemeteries throughout the United States. But in Laredo, Texas, there is a special section of the city cemetery reserved for Woodmen members that has been there for more than 40 years."

Woodmen of the World gravestones were found here in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, as well.

8, 22, 1888 – 4, 10, 1919
“Rest on, rest on, in peaceful Rest”

Woodmen of the World Monument

July 22, 1857 – Apr. 15, 1913
“She was a kind and affectionate wife.
A fond mother and a friend to all.”

Woodmen of the World Monument

May 1, 1882
Died May 7, 1907
“We miss thy kind and loving hand,
Thy fond and earnest care,
Our home is dark without thee,
We miss you everywhere.”

Woodmen of the World Monument

Jan. 12, 1873 – Aug. 13, 1905
“Gone but not forgotten”

Woodmen of the World Monument

I will be posting more from Mount Pleasant Cemetery in the days to come.

Sources Accessed November 16, 2008:
Mount Pleasant Cemetery Topographic Map


General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star

Order of the Eastern Star

Hood County Genealogical Society

Woodmen of the World

All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert
at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hood County, Texas Copyright 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

St. Thomas Episcopal Church and Cemetery

During my trip to North Carolina this past October we made a stop at the historic community of Bath to view the St. Thomas Episcopal Church and Cemetery. Bath became the first incorporated town in North Carolina in March of 1705. Twenty-nine years later construction began on the little church that was started in 1734 by the Rev’d John Garzia. Today it is the oldest existing church building in the state.

Within the church itself we found a quiet and calm that was hard to leave. The day was bright and sunshine poured through the windows while we quietly and reverently enjoyed the beauty of this little building which seemed to whisper that it held over two and a half centuries worth of history.

A table just inside held a visitors’ log and several pamphlets. There also was a large beautiful, old Bible safely ensconced in a wood and glass case. I tried to get photos that would do it justice.

The New
Of our Lord and Saviour

Newly Translated out of the Original Greek,
And with the former
Diligently Compared and Revised..

By His Majesties Special Command..
Appointed to be Read in CHURCHES.

Printed in London in the year 1703 by
Charles Bill, and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb, deceas’d
Printers to the Queens Most Excellent Majesty

I did not find tombstones that were as old as the church. Upon reading “A Short History of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Bath, North Carolina” by Dr. Wilson Angley, North Carolina Division of Archives and History and edited by The Rev. Gary Fulton, Rector, I discovered the reason. The booklet states that there are no tombstones older than the 1820s in the church cemetery.

“There are several possible explanations for this," the booklet read. "One plausible theory is that parishioners were interred beneath the church floor, a practice common in England.” In 1932 a newspaper article said there were as many as sixty persons buried under the floor at St. Thomas. Those buried were possibly interred under the pews in which they normally sat, and they were buried with their feet toward the aisle.

There is evidence of at least one burial under the floor. A Lady Margaret Palmer’s grave is marked by a plaque beneath the window to the left of the altar. There is anecdotal evidence passed down through the generations that the Rev’ds John Garzia and Alexander Stewart are also buried under the church, as perhaps is Thomas Boyd, buried in 1864. A marble plaque to his memory is set to the left of the west entrance of the church.

An archaeological study conducted on the north side of the church in 1993 revealed eleven unmarked gravesites dating from the earliest years of the church. “It can now be assumed that many other such graves, interred before the 1820s, surround the church.”

A Short History of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Bath, North Carolina” by Dr. Wilson Angley, North Carolina Division of Archives and History and edited by The Rev. Gary Fulton, Rector

Historic Bath County North Carolina Genealogy

Accessed November 8, 2008

All photographs taken by Judy Richards Shubert October 20, 2008
at St. Thomas Episcopal Church Cemetery, Bath, North Carolina. Copyright 2008.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Greetings! I’m so glad you decided to stop and visit. This blog was started in response to an invitation by Terry Thornton, Founder of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

“The Association promotes only the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. Members of the group all promote the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical / historical information written in cemeteries.”

Why Graveyard Rabbits, you ask? That was the brainchild of Terry and was taken from a poem by Frank Lebby Stanton., the American poet from the Deep South.

“In the white moonlight, where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops among the graves---
A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell where the dead men dream,” that is the Graveyard Rabbit.

Although my primary focus on this blog will be the small country cemeteries found virtually down every other country road in Texas, I also will post comments and photos from trips to other states while vacationing or visiting relatives. I would like to do research on and learn more about the burial customs in small, out-of-the way places such as Brad, Lingleville, Whitt, and Tolar; taking photographs of monuments and stones I find unusual or beautiful and doing my best to faithfully transcribe the information found on them.

My emphasis may change, but the focus will not. The Association of Graveyard Rabbits has been given the charge to publish a dedicated blog to graveyard study. I hope you will visit my Covered Bridges often and find something useful or interesting occasionally.


While looking for a copy of "The Graveyard Rabbit" I ran across a book on my shelves published in 1907. POEMS With Power to Strengthen the Soul, compiled by James Mudge, Author of The Best of Browning, Etc. sat there just begging me to open it. I leafed through the pages and upon finding the poem entitled, “The Burial of Moses,” I felt it was perfect to include in a post here at Covered Bridges. I began to research the author, Cecil Frances Alexander, whom I was not familiar with. I should have been, seeing as how she was so prolific and was the author of some of the most beautiful hymns ever written.

Born: Ear­ly Ap­ril 1818, Red­cross, Coun­ty Wick­low, Ire­land
Died: Oc­to­ber 12, 1895, Lon­don­der­ry, North­ern Ire­land

Buried: Ci­ty Cem­e­te­ry, Lon­don­der­ry, North­ern Ire­land

Cecil Frances Alexander was born in Ireland, as my earliest Richards ancestor was said to have been. I have not taken the time to research that fact but have seen others’ work and they conclude John Richards came from Ireland as did his wife, Biddy Cunningham.

Mrs. Alexander was married to William Alexander, of Derry and Raphoe, and later the Anglican primate for Ireland. Cecil Alexander wrote about 400 hymns in her lifetime. She is buried in City Cemetery, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Your Daughters Shall Prophesy,
Your Old Men Shall Dream Dreams.
Your Young Men Shall See Visions.
Joel 2:28


Wife of William, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe
Died October 12, 1895

Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, 1867 - 96
Anglican Primate of All Ireland

Photos of her grave are found at Find a Grave and were added to that site by Bob Dennis 11/16/2007

“Burial of Moses” appeared anon. in Dublin University Magazine, 1856 and caused Tennyson to say it was one of the few poems of a living author he wished he had written.


By Nebo’s lonely mountain,
On this side Jordan’s wave,
In a vale in the land of Moab,
There lies a lonely grave.
But no man dug that sepulcher,
And no man saw it e’er;
For the angels of God upturned the sod,
And laid the dead man there.

That was the grandest funeral
That ever passed on earth;
But no man heard the trampling,
Or saw the train go forth.
Noiselessly as the daylight
Comes when the night is done,
And the crimson streak on ocean’s cheek
Grows into the great sun –

Noiselessly as the springtime
Her crest of verdure weaves,
And all the trees on all the hills
Open their thousand leaves –
So, without sound of music,
Or voice of them that wept,
Silently down from the mountain crown
The great procession swept.

Perchance some bald old eagle
On gray Beth-peor’s height,
Out of his rocky eyrie
Looked on the wondrous sight.
Perchance some lion, stalking,
Still shuns the hallowed spot,
For beast and bird have seen and heard
That which man knoweth not.

But when the warrior dieth
His comrades in the war,
With arms reversed and muffled drums
Follow the funeral car;
They show the banners taken,
They tell his battles won,
And after him lead his matchless steed
While peals the minute gun.

Amid the noblest of the land
They lay the sage to rest;
And give the bard an honored place,
With costly marble drest,
In the great minister’s transept height,
Where lights like glory fall,
While the sweet choir sings and the organ rings
Along the emblazoned wall.

This was the bravest warrior
That ever buckled sword;
This the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word;
And never earth’s philosopher
Traced, with his golden pen,
On the deathless page, truths half so sage
As he wrote down for men.

And had he not high honor?
The hillside for his pall;
To lie in state while angels wait
With stars for tapers tall;
And the dark rock pines, like tossing plumes,
Over his bier to wave;
And God’s own hand, in that lonely land,
To lay him in his grave.

In that deep grave without a name,
Whence his uncoffined clay
Shall break again – most wondrous thought! –
Before the judgment day,
And stand, with glory wrapt around,
On the hills he never trod,
And speak of the strife that won our life
Through Christ, the incarnate God.

O lonely tomb in Moab’s land,
O dark Beth-peor’s hill,
Speak to these curious hearts of ours,
And teach them to be still.
God hath his mysteries of grace –
Ways that we cannot tell;
He hides them deep, like the secret sleep
Of him he loved so well.

- Cecil Frances Alexander

Sources accessed November 10, 2008: Cecil Frances Alexander,CF/life.htm Cecil Frances Alexander Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Trek to Alabama Leads to Mayo Family

This beautiful little church is located on Escambia County Road 22 (Ridge Road) about 6 miles northeast of East Brewton, Alabama. My husband, Bob, and I went there on the way to our son's house in Andalusia March 28, 2002. The church is still being used, I assume, because the sign out front says May Creek United Methodist Church - "God's Help is Only a Prayer Away". It gives the Sunday School and Worship service times on the bottom right.

The Mayo family plot is in the cemetery located to the left of the front of the church (I'm standing in the cemetery to take the picture!)
Date Taken: March 28, 2002

Place Taken: Escambia County, Alabama

This is a view of the May Creek Cemetery facing south, I believe. I know the sun was very bright and when I took pictures of the individual stones, I was looking into the afternoon sun. It was about 3:00 p.m.

I have marked the picture with the yellow X on the right hand side. The Mayo Family Stone is directly below it.

This is the Mayo Family plot that is located near the road toward the front of the church. Only the word "MAYO" is etched into the marble and all of the graves are covered with flat large concrete blocks. It is on these blocks that the names, etc. are printed.

My Great-Granduncle, Travis Austin Puckett married Nancy Catherine Mayo. It is believed that her mother, Nancy Catherine Peavy Mayo died possibly giving birth to her, or shortly thereafter, in 1880. Her headstone, along with her 3-year old son, Mark M. Mayo's, is located to the left and slightly behind the Mayo plot.

Someone obviously takes care of the family plot, since there were flowers there. Also, someone has cleaned the stones a little in order to read them, I imagine.

I wish the pictures showed the writing a little better.

Eph J. Mayo
Apr. 8, 1874
Aug. 4, 1926

"How desolate our home
Bereft of thee."

I do not know the descendants through this man, but the stone next to his is a Martha Jane Mayo, born 1887. I suppose they could have been husband and wife. Are the dates right for him to be Nancy C. Peavy Mayo's son? He would have been 6 years old at the time of her death.

Martha Jane Mayo
Jan 16, 1887
Nov. 10, 1945

"Faithful to her trust,
Even unto death."

Leonard E. Mayo
Aug. 10, 1905
July 15, 1960

"His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed
in him, that nature might stand up and say
to all the world, 'This was a Man.' "

If anyone knows the relationship between these Mayos, please add your comments.

William C. Mayo
Aug. 13, 1907
Nov. 8, 1961

"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Rufus G. Mayo
Aug. 1, 1913
May 11, 1960

"Heroes Live Beyond the Tomb"

Nancy C. Mayo
Wife of M.L. Mayo
Oct. 8, 1848
Jan. 9, 1880

I could not make out the epitath at the bottom of the stone.

Mark M. Mayo
Son of
M.L. & N.C. Mayo
April 5, 1878
Feb. 6, 1881

This was the 3-year old son of Nancy C. Mayo. Their stones are side by side.

Mother and son headstones and if I remember correctly the small stones are the foot markers.

We believe Nancy C. is the mother of Nancy Catherine Mayo Puckett, who was the wife of Travis A. Puckett.

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